Khushwant Singh, who passed away on Thursday, wanted to be remembered as someone who made people smile and wrote his own epitaph some years ago in which he described himself as one “who spared neither man nor God”.

In Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life, released last year, Mr. Singh had wrote, “On Independence day, 2012, I turned 98, being aware of my state of health, I know that I will not write another book... The truth is that I want to die. I have lived long enough.”

He wrote he had done everything he wanted to do. “I would like to be remembered as someone who made people smile. A few years ago, I wrote my own epitaph: ‘Here lies one who spared neither man nor God; Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod; Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun; Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.”

Mr. Singh had presented the first copy of Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life last year to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur, to whom he dedicated the book.

In the book, published by Penguin, Mr. Singh, who has over the years enlightened and outraged his readers in equal measure be it with his humour or his sharp insights and observations, reflects on a life lived fully and the lessons it taught him.

The author offered his views on subjects as diverse as old age and the fear of death; on the joy of sex, the pleasures of poetry and the importance of laughter; on how to cope with retirement and live a long, happy and healthy life.

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