PATWANT SINGH (1925–2009) was a writer, publisher, political commentator, conservationist and philanthropist. The son of a builder, Patwant Singh was born in New Delhi. In 1952, he settled in Bombay to start a magazine publishing firm. He launched Design, a revolutionary magazine critically covering architecture, urban planning, industrial design, graphics and the visual arts. He wrote numerous polemical books that sought to interrogate India's role in the world as a burgeoning post-colonial power. After the 1984 anti-Sikh riots Singh turned to writing about his faith, in a bid to resolve tensions, disabuse people of their misconceptions and put Sikh history into a much-needed modern world perspective. These aims were particularly evident in Empire of the Sikhs, a biography of the great Punjabi ruler Ranjit Singh (2008). Patwant Singh died in 2009.
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