Noted Indian writer Khushwant Singh dies

The bestselling author of 'Train to Pakistan' passed away in New Delhi at the age of 99

The bestselling author of 'Train to Pakistan' passed away in New Delhi at the age of 99

NEW DELHI – Noted Indian journalist and internationally-acclaimed author Khushwant Singh – known for his witty and liberal views – passed away on Thursday morning in New Delhi at the age of 99.

Singh authored dozens of bestsellers; his most renowned being the historical novel “Train to Pakistan”, which recounts the Partition of India in 1947.

In a condolence message, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the late writer lived a “truly creative life” calling him a “gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend”.

As the news of the death spread, messages abounded on social networking sites.

“We lost a national treasure in every sense of the word today. Go out and get a Khushwant Singh book. It just might change your life,” wrote one Vir Das on Twitter.

Singh was born on February 2, 1915 in Hadali, now in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He was a member of the Indian Parliament from 1980 to 1986. When awarded the 'Padma Bhushan', the country’s third highest civilian distinction, he returned it in protest of the storming by the Indian army of the Golden Temple, the Sikh holy place, in Amritsar.

“He liked to call a spade a spade. He hated hypocrisy, fundamentalism, and was a gentle person,” his son told a private news channel. 

In 2007, he was awarded 'Padma Vibhushan', the country’s second highest civilian honor. This time, he did not return it.

The celebrated novelist had been suffering from respiratory trouble, his son Rahul Singh told Indian media. He passed away peacefully at his home in Sujan Singh Park area of New Delhi.

Singh will be cremated Thursday afternoon at Lodhi Auditorium.

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