Singh was born in Hadali District Khushab, Punjab (which now lies in Pakistan), in a Sikh family. His father, Sir Sobha Singh, was a prominent builder in Lutyens' Delhi. Singh was educated at the Government College, Lahore and at King's College, Cambridge University, and Later the Inner Temple in London. From 1980 through 1986, he was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. He was also honored with the Padma Bhushan award in the year 1974 for service to his country, but he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army in 1984. Khushwant Singh published his first volume of short fiction in 1950, three years after India's independence, and since then has become one of the country's best known writers in English.