NEW DELHI: A fistful of Indian writer Khushwant Singh’s ashes have been saved by his family to be taken to Pakistan where an unnamed friend wants to put them in the ground where he was born, the writer’s son has said.
Singh, who died on Thursday at his home in Delhi, was born in Hadali in Pakistan’s Sargodha district 99 years ago.
Speaking about how for anybody coming from Pakistan his father’s doors were open, veteran journalist Rahul Singh said: “One of his great ambitions, all the time, was a closer India-Pakistan friendship.”
The son told Rediff.com of the condolence messages that kept coming from Pakistan. “I have got a lot of phone calls from people in Pakistan, many of whom I don’t know at all. They had come here and met my dad.”
He said somebody from Pakistan, who knew his father quite well, rang up.
“He said, please keep some of the ashes. My father was born in a town called Hadali.”
The friend, who Rahul Singh did not identify, said: “We want to take those ashes and put them in the ground in Hadali.”
“So we kept some ashes. He will be coming to India and he will take those ashes back.”
Singh died the way he lived. “He died the way he would have liked to die.
He said he did not want suffering and he wanted to go quick.”
Khushwant Singh was was sleeping a little bit more in the last few months, but he would be up at 4.30 in the morning, read the papers, have his breakfast, snooze in the afternoon.
“Seven o’clock was the time when he would have his drink. And other people, who were invited, also would have a drink with him. And 8 o’clock, dinner.
He was getting weaker and weaker, but his mind was all there.”