The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival in Kasauli every October seeks to impart the joy of learning through stories, through books, through real life experiences that impact the lives of people. And broaden our horizons while motivating us to help those less fortunate.
The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival is possibly the only literary festival dedicated to a cause: the girl child and the ecology of Kasauli. It is also dedicated to the Indian soldier.
KSLF has supported the protagonist of Chander Suta Dogra’s book on Honor Killings. A poor man, burdened with court cases amidst tight security.
In the centenary year of Field Marshal Manekshaw and WWI, we encouraged the War Widows and Wounded Soldier Foundation.
The KSLF is dedicated to the Indian soldier. So that they may also have opportunities to learn and grow, as Khushwant Singh has had.
KSLF has been inspired by outstanding stories of Indian involvement in WWI. For example, in a tale narrated by Captain Amarinder Singh – himself a passionate ex-army man – 500 Indian gorkhas had lost their toes to frostbite. But not one man complained.
In a different vein, Zenobia Masters and Behram Panthaky regaled the audience at Kasauli Club with innumerable stories on FM Sam Manekshaw. Including his habit of getting up early on Sunday and demanding Parsee omlette.
So what does Khushwant Singh have to do with all of this? In a story related by Fakir Aijazuddin of Pakistan, Khushwant Singh had heard of a wounded Pakistani soldier in Bangladesh. He went out of his way to locate and visit the solider. Later, without his knowledge, Khushwant wrote to his family in Pakistan, informing them the soldier was alive and doing well in a hospital. The family had given him up for dead, till they got KS’s letter. That rekindled their hope.