Karma | A Short Story by Khushwant Singh, 1950

Khushwant Singh (1915-2014). An important Indo-Anglican novelist. Singh published his first volume of short fiction in 1950, three years after India’s independence.

Almost all of the stories deal with rural and urban Indian life with its many contrasts: tradition vs. modern ideas; India vs. (post)colonial Britain and religion vs. secularism.

Singh is best known for his humorous way of giving a political commentary to the social and behavioural characteristics of Westerners and Indians. Also, he has translated Sikh religious texts and Urdu poetry.

The arrival of the train did not disturb Sir Mohan Lal's sang-froid18. He continued to sip his scotch and ordered the bearer to tell him when he had moved the luggage to a first-class compartment.

Excitement, bustle and hurry were exhibitions of bad breeding, and Sir Mohan was eminently well- bred. He wanted everything 'tickety-boo' and orderly.

In his five years abroad, Sir Mohan had acquired the manners and attitudes of the upper classes. He rarely spoke Hindustani. When he did, it was like an Englishman's - only the very necessary words and properly anglicised.

But he fancied his English, finished and refined at no less a place than the University of Oxford.

He was fond of conversation, and like a cultured Englishman, he could talk on almost any subject - books, politics, people. How frequently had he heard English people say that he spoke like an Englishman!

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