KSLF Decennial edition unrolls for " Not A Nice Man To Know"

October 23, 2021 12:43 PM

The online decennial edition of the Khushwant Singh Litfest, unveiled  by Padma Shri Vikram Seth, a renowned novelist and poet, brought alive the " not a nice man to know" with the resonance of his multifarious genius.

The inaugural day session , anchored by  Fakir Syed Aijazuddin, an international art historian and author,set the tone for the Litfest by recapitulating his association with Khushwat Singh, his ideas and philosophy with an underlining theme of the Second Becoming.

"Khushwant Singh erased the nationalities as his humanism transcended sectarianism",  said Syed before inviting Padma Shri Vikram Seth, a celebrated novelist and poet to lay the red carpet for the decennial edition.

Vikram Seth, whom Khushwant Singh took as his second son, lit the lamp and recalled how he wrote a sonnet for Khushwant Singh in the book entitled, ," Unforgettable Khushwant Singh". He recalled his family bonds with Khushwant Singh and the kind of discipline that he personified for all others.

Khushwant Singh came alive more vibrantly in the session, KS : A Second Look At His Many Lives.. In an informal and fond session Naina Dayal, the granddaughter of Khushwant Singh, who is a history scholar, took the narrative to sentimental boundaries recalling how Khushwant Singh would mentor her. She said Khushwant was a repository of knowledge, and the one who was agnostic but at the same time a very religious soul.

She said the years 1947, 1984 and 2002 were very strongly etched on his mind because of the tumultuous upheaval that the three years represented.

Bachi Karkaria, journalist and columnist, wondered if Khushwant Singh deliberately created an image of a " bad boy" in spite of being so erudite and scholarly. She said he did not drink much yet he would display his glass flamboyantly.  She said as one of his proteges in the early years of her journalistic career she would credit Khushwant Singh with all that she has learnt.

Former diplomat and author Pavan Varma underlined that Khushwat was a renaissance man who loved to shock others. " He was extremely scholarly, yet he created a persona of a dirty old  man around himself. That speaks volumes about his genius", he added.

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