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Flashes of Royalty

Posted on June 15, 2014 at 1:15pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

Chandigarh is growing intellectually

Posted on June 15, 2014 at 1:11pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

Every city has its own metaphor. It’s only when you are willing to interpret it that you come face to face with its true character. It’s fashionable to associate Chandigarh with everything concrete and dismiss it as a city which has failed to evolve a character of its own. But it’s far from the truth. It’s the narrow-sightedness of some people who are unable to see the magic of this well-planned wonder.

I have always felt the city offers something which no other city does in terms of comforts it provides to its residents. Look at the infrastructure and observe the facilities. In metros, it takes hours to reach from one place to another. Here, you can touch the other end of the city in merely 20 minutes.


However, the comforts of this city are not limited to its physical attributes. Even on the intellectual level, the city is coming of age. We are witnessing a boom in performing arts, festivals, art and literature. Chandigarh, which was never the centre of literary works, has started finding its place in fiction plots. In fact, my latest book, Maharaja in Denims, is set here.
There has always been criticism on the fact that Chandigarh is sharply divided into the haves and have-nots. That there is a lot of contrast between lifestyle of the people who have settled here and the service class. I feel instead of criticising, why not try to observe and appreciate the richness of this contrast?

I have always been fascinated with the city, but of course, there are some things that must be paid attention to so it can emerges as a model city, and not just in the physical sense of the word. We have excellent educational facilities here, but what about courses in art? What are we doing to encourage youngsters when it comes to exhorting them to get into the arts? Look at the numerous literature festivals being organised in Chandigarh every year. I am surprised the organisers don’t feel the need to invite local writers.

When we talk about the administration, considering it is a Union Territory (UT), it is always about things going according to the ways of people sitting at the top. People have no say when it comes to major decisions pertaining to the city. This is something which has always surprised me. A city will always grow more if people feel they are an indispensable part of its planning process.

Khushwant Singh is a Chandigarh-based writer.
As told to Sukant Deepak


Interview on Australia’s SBS Radio

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 2:00pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

Turbaned Tornado: Run, Fauja! Run! –

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 11:03pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

Turbaned Tornado is the biography of the oldest marathon runner in the world, Fauja Singh. Fauja’s birth would have been a joke today – his date of birth is 1 April – and having turned 100 this year, he is clearly the celebrated flag-bearer of the Indian and Sikh community globally, having battled ridicule (he was mocked as a Bin-Laden look-alike) and won praise and appreciation (the blondes hug him fully and cheer him along), not just from his community members but also from leaders like Pervez Musharraf and the Queen of England. Fauja is one of the front-runners (excuse the pun) to represent England at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012.

The book is fascinating to learn about the incredible courage and spirit of this man and his life story, clearly would also make for a spectacular film… (more…)

The ‘Turbaned Tornado’ keeps the marathon pace

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 11:01pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

He speaks no English, only his native Punjabi. But at the venerable age of 100, runner Fauja Singh’s message of offering only your best is eloquent in any language.

Fauja — the name means soldier — is a former farmer who began running at 80 after the passing of his wife and son. At 89, he became an everyman-type racer. On Thursday, he ran eight world record times for his age group in less than five hours at Scarborough’s Birchmount Stadium track, from distances as short as 100 metres to as long as 5,000 metres. He’s hoping to add a ninth for the Guinness World Record book, as the first centenarian to run the entire 42.195-km distance in Sunday’s Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon. The times, witnessed by officials of Ontario Masters Athletics, will be sent to the governing International Association of Athletics Federations for ratification.

The Turbaned Tornado, as he’s been called, stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 115 pounds. Accompanied by an escort, he’ll start his slow, deliberate run at the end of one of three waves of a total of about 20,000 runners in the marathon, half-marathon and 5-km runs.

Fauja Singh celebrated his 100th birthday on April 11. At that age, you run not against fellow racers — face it: who makes it to 100 in sneakers — but against everyone’s adversary, the clock. The man with the long white beard, who runs in a yellow turban, began knocking off records easily. People might doubt Fauja age, but he travels with a passport and with the telegram from The Queen which marked his 100th birthday. (more…)

‘Turbaned Tornado’ is an inspiration for many – TOI

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 10:59pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

City-based author Khushwant Singh, who is the first Indian writer to get his book released at Britain’s House of Lords, is still propagating the cause behind his book with great enthusiasm.

Khushwant Singh has penned ” Turbaned Tornado”, which is the biography of over 100-year-old UK-based marathon runner Fauja Singh and captured his zest for life and invincible spirit to motivate readers. He is also getting invites from various marathon organizers, from different countries, to flag off marathons and talk to participants.

Khushwant, who loves to chronicle the life-cycles of legendary personalities, is getting calls from curious people from across the world with scores of queries regarding the oldest marathon runner Fauja Singh. “I am getting calls from all across the world from inquisitive callers of different age-groups. They are asking me countless questions about Fauja Singh; about his daily routine, health, inspiration, behaviour and also about his future plans,” Khushwant, 38, told TOI.
He added, “Some people even express gratitude towards me for penning down Fauja’s life journey in the form of a book. They say if I had not done so then “this living marvel would have withered away with time”. This book is actually making positive impact as, so far, I have met dozens of people who have started running or have adopted healthy lifestyle after reading the book.”

“Turbaned Tornado” was formally launched at the Attlee Room of the House of Lords, in July this year, by Lord Anthony Young of Norwood Green and retired Judge Sir Mota Singh.
“Talking about Fauja Singh is like inhaling fresh oxygen for me. I feel refreshed and energized whenever I talk about him. With this book, I aim to motivation masses and tell them that if 100-year-old Fauja, can fruitfully run at this age, then why can’t they. He is a living legend, who bounced back after overcoming various personal problems,” stated Khushwant.

Fauja Singh ran his first race, London Marathon, in 2000. Now, he is all set to run Toronto Marathon on October 16. Among old-timers, he was well-known for running “from one place to another” just for the sake of fun!