Welcome to the Khushwant Singh Litfest. London May 17, 2018. Kasauli October 12-14, 2018

Video London 2018


Not a Nice Man to Know

Acid-tongued mischief-maker,
spotlight stealer, story-stalker,
salt-in-the-wound piss-taker,
punchline-grabbing headline hogger,

not nice.
Not a nice man to know.

Spit-in-the-eye straight-talker, shaker-
upper, elbow-in-the-ribs ego-breaker,
bawdy, shameless gossip-monger,
Whisky-guzzling ghazal-lover,

not nice.

Of all the Sikhs he was Sikher
pricker of pride, poker and pecker
away at the accepted order,
sparing neither man nor God,

not nice at all.
Not a nice man to know.

Half his heart in Lahore, half in Amritsar,
one foot in Delhi, one in the gutter,
son of a gun and Sir Sobha Singh,
malice towards one and all.

If you’re not expected,
don’t ring his bell.
If you expect to be respected
go to hell.

Not a nice man to know, I know
but I wish that I had known him longer

and I wish there were more like him
in the world, not nice to know but they don’t
grow on trees, people like him, so
it’s worth remembering Khushwant Singh.

Not nice, but he took us all under his wing,
the young, the outspoken, the runaways,
the rebels and poets, the broken things,
and this is why we gather to sing

of him, while he is laughing
up there in the place he didn’t believe in,
drinking a peg – or three – with the Boss
who’s still not the boss of him.

So here’s to the man who we know
is not nice to know but we want
to know and go on knowing:
Khushwant Khushwant Khushwant Singh.

by Imtiaz Dharker