ABSOLUTE Khushwant is a collection of Singh’s short essays about people, happenings, and his views on a variety of things. He writes about growing old, his routine existence, his career as a writer, and thinks that writers should be fearless and inform the reader while provoking or entertaining him.
Singh admires Bapu and Mother Teresa, is overawed by Nirad Choudhuri and Manmohan Singh, and has pieces on all the Nehrus: Jawaharlal, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv, Rahul and Varun. Upset by the storming of the Golden Temple in 1984, and the riots that followed the assassination of Smt Gandhi, he writes about the pain and suffering of the Sikhs, but is also critical of Khalistanis, and blames Zail Singh for creating Bhindranwala, to promote his own interests. Singh has essays on his beliefs, likes and dislikes, and views about love and sex. All women, he says, are the same in bed, and size does not matter in love making. He is an agnostic, is not afraid of death, likes Sufis and Nanak, thinks that people can learn from different faiths, dislikes institutionalised religion, is hard on people who use religion for their selfish ends, but loves religious places, and has special things to say about Haridwar and the Golden Temple.
Singh also writes about the painful partition of India, his roots in Pakistan, the terror attack of 26/11, disillusionment with the current politics of the country, and his love for Urdu. In her Preface to the volume, Humra Quraishi writes how she met Singh and what a fine and kind human being he is.
Absolute Khushwant is very readable, but there is hardly anything new in it.