(This article was first published on 2 February 2019 . It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark Khushwant Singh’s birth anniversary.)
It’s the birth anniversary of Khushwant Singh: the Grand Old Man or Dirty Old Man (depends on how you see it) of India. One of the most prolific writers and columnists this country has ever seen, Singh also left his uncompromisingly liberal stamp on Indian polity, with no regard of what people thought of him – ever.
The Quint met up with his son, Rahul Singh, also a distinguished journalist with a similar love for secularism, tolerance and questioning the status quo as his father. Sitting in his old, Colaba house accented with wooden antiques and with books spilling out of every wall and shelf, Rahul Singh gets candid.
Video Editor: Kammaljiit Kainth
Cameraperson: Shomit Naike
My father was an irreverent man. He simply didn’t care. Once the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the organisation that manages all the Sikh places of worship, wrote him a very stern letter asking him to stop his Santa-Banta jokes in the columns he wrote saying it offended the feelings of Sikhs. He sent them a postcard – he used to send everyone postcards– saying just three words: Go to hell.Rahul Singh
Singh talks about the differences that arose over his father’s support of the Emergency and how he later regretted it; recites irreverent anecdotes and idiosyncrasies which his father wore on his sleeve and wrestles through a rapid fire on what The Grand Old Man would say if he were alive today for demonetisation, Fawad Khan fury, MJ Akbar, Uri attacks, Donald Trump and more!