(Originally posted on Daily Times)
By Faizan Ali Warraich
LAHORE: Lahore literary festival (LLF) 2015 enthralled literature fans, who packed every session on its day one. It was really a scene of festivity at Alhamra on Friday.
LLF’s 2105 session on Khushwant Singh (KS) would really be remembered by the audience as moderator FS Aijazuddin amused them with his enchanting use of words while introducing the guests and throughout the whole session. The session tilted ‘Politics, pluralism and Khushwant Singh’s Punjab’ had featured interesting panellists including Pakistan People’s Party senior politician Aitzaz Ahsan, Rahul Singh , son of Khushwant Singh, Indian novelist , prominent literary figure Shobhaa De and Pakistani lawyer Bahsarat Qadir. Rahul Singh on the occasion said, “Khushwant Singh was really a rare species who outspokenly highlighted the wrongdoings of the Indian society and state, without fearing of consequences.” Khushwant Singh proudly claimed himself ‘Punjabi’ (native of Punjab), he added. He asked the audience to read KS’s article ‘Why I Am An Indian’. Singh said his father wrote history to correct the travesty of facts by the historians and his volume of books on Sikhs’ history is one of the authentic works in this field ‘ Aitzaz Ahsan while sharing his memories of meetings with KS said, “KS had always been fond of his native land Hadali, a town in Khushab District of Punjab, and talked of it throughout his life.” He said defining metaphors of KS’s writings were actually fondness of his native land, love for Punjab and advocacy for peace in South Asia. Ahsan said KS was the only intellectual who demanded release of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war (POWs) captured by India during the war of 1971. He said while answering ‘one thing you remembered about KS’, his imperiousness towards his life Shobaa De, a lively speaker from India, said KS had a ‘Lahori heart’ and by framing a KS board in his native village Pakistani people actually paid a great tribute to KS.