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Death At My Doorstep
by Khushwant Singh      (Author ALERT)

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ProductID: 14637 - Hardcover - 170 Pages (Year: 2005)
Roli Books ~ ISBN: 8174363564

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For Khushwant Singh who wrote his own obituary in his twenties, death is not sacred but he reflects on it increasingly these days. In Death At My Doorstep, a collection of obituaries written over the years, he presents the dead in death, as in life-good, bad or ugly. Be it on the twilight hours of Bhutto, the gory end of Sanjay Gandhi, the sycophantic M O Mathai, the Marxist millionaire Rajni Patel, the overbearing Lord Mountbatten, or on his pet Alsatian Simba, each obituary bears out his irreverence or affection.

Cocking a snook at death, he has also penned his own epitaph. Yet outliving those whom he admired has moved him to tears, and many of his obituaries have left the reader with a heavy heart.

While Death At My Doorstep is Khushwant Singh’s demystification of death, it also ferries his message to Badey Mian, in the words of Allama Iqbal:

Baagh-e-bahisht say mujhay hukm-e-safar diya thha kyon?

Kaar-e-Jahaan daraaz hai, ab meyra intazaar kar.

(Why did you order me out of the garden of paradise?

I have a lot of work that remains unfulfilled; now you better wait for me.)


During the last meeting between Bhutto, his wife and daughter, Benazir’s request to embrace her father or at least touch his feet before going was firmly turned down.

At 6 p.m. he asked for hot water and his shaving set saying, I don’t want to die looking like a mullah. After he had erased the growth on his chin, he looked into the mirror and said in self-mockery, Now I look like a third world leader. Then the bravado went out of him. He lay down on the mattress and went into a kind of coma.

Before Tara Masih the hangman put the black hood over his face. Bhutto’s lips moved, and according to one version he mumbled, Finish it! According to another his lips moved but no sound came from them. He was dressed in a salwar kameez. He had a gold Zenith watch on his wrist and a gold ring with three diamonds on his finger. After his corpse had been bathed somebody noticed that the diamond-studded ring was missing. The ring was found in the pocket of the hangman. Both the watch and the ring were handed over to Benazir Bhutto the next morning.

 Table of Contents




The Dalai Lama on Death
Fear of Dying: Acharya Rajneesh
Have You Ever Thought of Death?
Be Prepared
On the Hit List
Nearing Death: Old Age
Death as a Houseguest
Experience of Death
Learning from the Dead
Life After Death
Coping with the Death of a Loved One


Z A BHUTTO: From the Death Sentence to the Gallows
Sanjay Gandhi: Young Dictator
Tikka Khan: Butcher of Bangladesh
M O Mathai: Nehru’s Nemesis
Mountbatten: Lord of Baloney
Rajni Patel: Marxist Millionaire
Gurcharan Singh Tohra: Be- Taaj Badshah
Dhiren Bhagat: Gone at 30
Prabha Dutt: Boss’s Boss
Hardayal: A Tribute to the Great Revolutionary
RGK: Paradigm of Self- effacement
Remembering Mulk, the Pioneer
The One and Only Nirad Babu
Balwant Gargi: The Nacked Triangle Fetched Him More Foes Than Friends
R K Narayan: Malgudi No More
Ali Sardar Jafri: The Poetry of Burning
Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Marxist, Lover and Poet
G S Fraser: Poetry of the Adi Granth
A Requiem to Domsky
Kishan Lal: Poetry with Dahi Bhallas
Yogi Bhajan: Khalsa Flag at Half Mast
Protima Bedi: She Had a Lust for Life
Nargis Dutt: Mother India
Amrita Shergil: Femme Fatale
Chetan Anand: On Losing a Friend
Dharma Kumar: Women Like Hr Do Not Die
P C Lal: Air Chief Marshal (1917-1984)
Jack Wilberforce Burke Peel: My English Bhai
Manzur Qadir: The Role Model
Knowing Bhisham Sahni
The Palam Air Crash: 1973
Penny-pinching Zinkin
Daadimaa: The Portrait of a Lady
Chajjoo Ram Villa
Simla: Family Favourite

Epitaph: Khushwant Singh



 About the Author

Khushwant Singh was born in 1915 in Hadali, Punjab. He was educated at Government College, Lahore, and at King's College and the Inner Temple in London. He practiced at the Lahore High Court for several years before joining the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in 19477. He was sent on diplomatic postings to Canada and London and later went to Paris with UNESCO>

He began a distinguished career as a journalist with All India Radio in 1951. Since then he has been founder-editor of Yojna, editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, editor of the National Herald, and the editor of The Hindustan Times. Today he is India's best known columnist and journalist.

Khushwant Singh has also had an extremely successful career as a writer. Among the works published are classic two-volume history of the Sikhs, several novels - including Train to Pakistan, which won the Grove Press Award for the best work of fiction in 1954, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale and Delhi - and a number of translated works and non-fiction books on Delhi, nature, and current affairs. His latest novel, The Company of Women, has since been released.

Khushwant Singh was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986. Among other honors he was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 by the President of India. He returned this decoration in 1984 in protest against the Union Government's siege of the Golden Temple, Amritsar.


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