Noted journalist & writer Khushwant Singh cremated

Prolific author and journalist Khushwant Singh’s body was consigned to flames today in New Delhi in the presence of family members, close friends and admirers.

Union Ministers Salman Khurshid and Kapil Sibal as well as BJP stalwart LK Advani were among those who paid their last respects to the beloved writer who passed away this morning at the age of 99.

Born on 2nd February, 1915, Khushwant Singh was best known for his trenchant secularism, his humor, and an abiding love of poetry. Singh started his illutrious career after joining All India Radio in 1951 as a journalist. He was founder editor of Yojana from 1951-1953.

Singh also worked with The Illustrated Weekly of India and two major Indian newspapers, The National Herald and the Hindustan Times. From 1980 to 1986, Singh was also a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was conferred Padma Bhushan in 1974 and Padma Vibhushan in 2007.

The President, Vice Prsident and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today paid rich tributes to the renowned author and journalist Khushwant Singh. The Prime Minister, accompanied by wife Gursharan Kaur, and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited Singh’s residence and paid homage to the author, known as one of the finest writers in English in contemporary India.

President Pranab Mukherjee described Padma Vibhushan Khushwant Singh as a fearless intellectual who had sharp insight and unique wit, as well as sense of humour. Vice President Mohd. Hamid Ansari said, he was an iconic figure and one of the most prominent authors. The Prime Minister described Singh as a gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend who lived a truly creative life. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, there was a very special thing about him that was a part of the ethos of modern India, as well as his feel for the past.

Scores of eminent citizens including Kuldip Nayar, Bishan Singh Bedi and author Vikram Seth paid tributes to Singh at his residence. Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi remembered playing tennis with Singh. Calling him a remarkable man and a great writer, veteran broadcast journalist Mark Tully said, Singh had a great sense of humour who never minced his words and had great knowledge of Urdu poetry. Leading journalist and author M J Akbar said, Singh was an admirable man who gave opportunities to the young persons.

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