Khushwantnama by Khushwant Singh Review



Khushwantnama is the first book I’ve read written by the Khuswant Singh. Before that I never thought of reading his books. But when I saw Bhaisabji   ( my father-in law) reading the book thrice in the span of a month, I became curious about the book. So I sat down reading Khushwantnama.

The book was written in the year 2012. Khushwant Singh was (he died on 20 March, 2014)  98 years old when he was writing this book. A Nonagenarians, he was expecting death anytime. I’m sure, Khuswant Singh was in the mode of introspection and reflection when he was penning it. The thoughts were flowing and it took the shape of a book Khushwantnama.

Khushwantnama gives reader a last chance to sneak peek into the mind and heart of the writer. Khushwant Singh is known for his  fearless and unconventional thinking and something which could be read in his book as well. 

In Khushwantnama, readers will find his insights and observation about life, retirement and death; pleasure of sex, love and woman; politics, politicians and the future of India; on what it takes to be a writer; on what religion means to him; his love for Urdu poetry and nature and admiration for Mirza Ghalib; on New Delhi.

I was particularly touched by his thoughts on intolerance in India and secularism in Indian Politics. If our Indian government and Indian citizen adhere to his thinking of secularism there will be less communal riots in our country.

Khuswant Singh is a self professed Gandhian and his ardent admirer, yet, ironically, doesn’t follows his principles like do not lie, commitment to vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol and sex(except to reproduce) etc.  The writer believes Mahatama Gandhi’s values and his humility. It gave me a big message. Be a follower but not a blind one.

There is a sub-chapter on the Qualities of a President. It was beautifully written and I’m sure every single reader of Khuswantnama will agree with the writer. 

The author has compared the business of writing to a whorehouse. It completely blew my mind. Now someone of his calibre can only write it and pull it off with so much ease. It was completely out of the box. To know how he had drawn parallels between the two you have to read Khushwantnama.

Khushwant Singh has given his list of favorite book. Like A House Of Mr. Biswas by V.S Naipaul

  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  • A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth Shadow’s Lines by Amiav Ghosh
  • Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Trotter Nama by I Allan Sealy
  • Chinnery’s Hotel by Jaysing Birjepatil
  • The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami
  • Filming a Love Story by Tabish Khair
  • The Assassin Song by M.G. Vassanji

He has also shared his 12 tips to live a long and happy life and also some helpful and realistic advises for the writers. The book is not without humor. There are few jokes in the book and also his favorite poetry as well.

Verdict: The writer has written Khushwantnama after witnessing 98 springs in his life. He is an experienced man which reflects in his book. Many will find his opinions to be very blunt and downright rude but he stood by his words even under sever criticism. 

Similarly his book Khuswantnama is very radical in approach but it is pragmatic and rational.

No doubt that whys Bhaisabji was so attach to the book. He is also approaching octogenarian and could relate to Khushwantnama. I think anyone could relate to the book. As it has something for everyone.

A Must Read.

Khushwantnama In English

Khushwantnama In Hindi

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Ritu Mantri

Ritu is an avid book reader. She also reviews books and have reviewed around 200+ books till date. Her target is to finish 1000 books.