"I can do no better than reproduce the introduction I have written for my 9th Joke Book. It says all I want to say about my being an inveterate Joker. "I was 94 when Joke Book 8 was published I was sure that it would be the last of the series. I was on a diet of pills and in poor health. But here I am 97 years old and here is Joke Book 9 (Orient Paperbacks). Laughter is evidently the elixir of life, the best tonic in the world to ensure a long and happy life.
Laughter is not only the best tonic but humorous writing and relating other people's jokes is very lucrative, as both my publishers and I have found. Everyone of the earlier books in the series has gone into more than a dozen reprints. They are to be seen on pavement, railway station and airport bookstalls.
But not everyone enjoys jokes, especially when they are the target. This is especially true of politicians who have notoriously thin skins. We have had quite a few very good cartoonists - Shankar Pillai, R.K. Laxman, Vijayan, Rajinder Puri, Mario Miranda. Their cartoons have enlivened our newspapers and magazines and brought a smile on our faces. But many politicians and political parties take themselves very seriously and consider far too many topics as sacred cows not to be laughed about. They take umbrage at being the butt of jokes.
Laughter for them is no laughing matter. They serve who poke fun at them with legal notices - or worse.
I cannot take credit for the jokes appearing in the book. A large number were sent to me by readers who have been acknowledged by their names. Some I made up or moulded from jokes I picked up from friends, books and magazines.
At the end of the day, more than my other work as a novelist, short story writer, historian of the Sikhs or translator, I am known for my joke books. At every gathering, I am implored, 'Kkoi joke-shoke ho jai' - let there be a joke or two. I am known as a Joker."
— Khushwant Singh, Hindustan Times