Book Review: On India by Khushwant Singh

  • ISBN: 978-812-914-8469
  • Genre: Non-Fiction
  • Publishers: Rupa Publications
  • Price: Rs. 195/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)

Khushwant Singh was convinced that India is a great country. He believed that we are the world’s largest democracy and our people, including women, enjoy a measure of political freedom unknown to any other developing country of the world.

On India is a selection of Singh’s best writings on the country. The selection of articles in this book spans a wide range of topics: The four metropolises, including the seven reasons why Khushwant Singh loves Delhi, recollections of the Partition, the seasons, holy men, etiquette, rise of the far Right and corruption, among others. The book ends on a happy note with some of the author's favourite jokes.

Khushwant Singh’s on India will help us understand India better.

Behind the Book

About the Author

Khushwant Singh, born on 2 February 1915 in Hadali, British India, now a part of Punjab, Pakistan, was a prominent Indian novelist and journalist. Singh's weekly column, "With Malice towards One and All", carried by several Indian newspapers, was among the most widely-read columns in the country.

An important post-colonial novelist writing in English, Singh is best known for his trenchant secularism, his humor, and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioral characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit.

Me thinks

With Indian Independence Day being celebrated last week, it somehow seems very apt to have read this during that time. Coming from someone who has witnessed India through all of its stages, till now and knows it in and out, this book can easily be called the story of India.

I have always admired Khushwant Singh for his writing. Witty, honest and engaging he has a way with words. He can captivate the reader and make sure you are still reeling in his words long after you have finished the book. He has the power to make you think.

With this book he has brought together some of his finest pieces on India across an array of subjects ranging from politics, history, Partition, funny anecdotes, religion and corruption. One thing that stands out throughout the book is the way he merely states his observation. It is never an opinion , which he is trying to convince you of. The writing is free for interpretation and that is perhaps what makes it more enjoyable for me. I like to let my mind wander and analyse, re-analyse what the author would have meant when he said only to conclude something I felt closer to my own thoughts. It is very well articulated and written in a manner that is engrossing.

With a language that is considered exemplary in Indian writing, this book is a gem which every Khushwant Singh fan or someone who wants to know more about India, understanding it in depth , should read. A perfectly enjoyable book that promises to make you nostalgic.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Beetroot Halwa - unique yet has a familiar feeling associated with it.
Source: Revi's Foodography