Skip to main content

Train to Pakistan - A Book Review


Train to Pakistan


  • A fiction by Khushwant Singh.
  • First published by Ravi Dayal Publisher, 51 E. Sujan Singh Park, New Delhi 110003 in1956
  • Price Rs. 175 (2002 Edition)
  • Pages: 207


A Novel:


A story of a little known frontier village Mano - Majra (Punjab) - a railway station situated near bank of river Sutlej dividing India & Pakistan. Here the author narrates history of 1947 Summer after Partition was declared and frontier elsewhere has become scene of rioting and bloodshed, but this is the village where Sikhs and Muslims have always lived peacefully and partition did not mean much. Life is regulated by the trains which rattle across the near by river bridge. One day local money lender is Kala Ramlal is murdered. Suspicion falls upon Juggut Singh - a gangster having an affair with the Muslim weaver's young daughter Nooran. A western educated communist agent Iqbal Singh comes and does his activity here and stays at gurudwara after meeting Meet Singh - a priest. And one day a train comes from Pakistan full of dead Sikhs and some days later same thing - a train full Sikhs from Pakistan is repeated. Iman Baksh, Mullah a Muslim spiritual leader at mosque and all Muslims are asked by Hukumchand, deputy Magistrate, to leave the village and "I am not going to reveal - say" what happens then - it is the heart of the novel.

Few quotes from the novel:

1. By the summer of 1947, when the creation of the new state of Pakistan was formally announced, ten million people - Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs were in flight. By the time the monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead and all of the northern India was in arms, in terror or in hiding. (10)
2. Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started killings. According to Hindus, the Muslims were to be blamed. The fact is both sides killed. Both shot, stabbed, speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped. (9)
3. The winds of destruction are slowing across the land. All we hear is "KILL, KILL". The only ones who enjoy freedom are thieves, robbers and cut throats, then we were better under British, at least, there was security. (64)
4. One could never be sure about educated people, they were all suspiciously cunning. (139)
5. If you really believe that things are so rotten that your first duty is to destroy to wipe the state clean. Then you should not turn green at small acts of destruction. Your duty is to convince with those who make the conflagration, not to turn a moral hose-pipe on them. To create such a mighty chaos that all that is rotten like selfishness, intolerance, greed, falsehood, sycophancy is drowned. In blood, if necessary. (195)
6. I am tempted to quote few lines from 195 - India is constipated with a lot of humbug. Take religion:
(a) For Hindu, it means little besides caste and cow protection.
(b) For Muslims, circumcision and kosher meat.
(c) For Sikh long hair and hatred of Muslim.
(d) For Christian, Hinduism with a sola topee.
(e) For Parsi, fire worship and feeding vulture ethics, which should be kernel of a religious code, has been carefully removed. (195)

"Train to Pakistan" with its fine destruction of village and river and its study of characters under stress, is an exciting novel both intellectually and emotionally. You have to read to know and understand what Khushwant Singh tells about the human implication event the momentous historical event, the partition of India!

Comments

Also Popular On This Blog

દોસ્તાર - સુખનું સરનામું

_દોસ્તાર (સુખનું સરનામું)લેખક: જય વશી  પુસ્તક પરિચય - પ્રતિભાવ અને વિવેચન (ડૉ. ભરત દેસાઈ)
પુસ્તક પરિચય (Book Review) લખતી વખતે લખનારે પોતાનો પરિચય કે પરાકમોની વાત નથી કરવાની. ઉપરાંત લેખકના પુસ્તક દ્વારા જે વિચારો પોતે માણ્યા છે તેની વાત જ ટૂંકમાં કહેવાની હોય છે. પુસ્તક વાંચ્યું હોવું ફરજિયાત છે!? પુસ્તક વાંચવાની આતુરતા-ઉત્કઠા જાગે ત્યાર પછી થોડી વાતો વાચકને પુસ્તકમાંથી જ મળે તે માટે બાકી પણ રાખવાની હોય છે... મેં બાંઘેલી આ મર્યાદામાં રહીને પ્રતિભાવ રજૂ કરીશ.


મગજ ન ગુમાવો, વજન ગુમાવો

_ મગજ ન ગુમાવો, વજન ગુમાવો (Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight) લેખિકા: ઋજુતા દિવેકર (Rujuta Diwekar), અનુવાદ: રેખા ઉદયન  પુસ્તક પરિચય: ડો. ભરતચંદ્ર એમ. દેસાઈ વધેલા વજનથી હતાશ અને ગભરાયેલા લોકોએ સરળ રરત્તો જાણવો હોય તો આટલું જરૂર જાણો. તંદુરસ્તી માપવા માટે વજનકાંટા કે મેઝર ટેપત્તી જરૂર પડે એવું થોડું જ છે? તમારા લગ્ન પ્રત્યે તમે ખરા દિલથી કામ કરતા હો અને ભરપૂર જિંદગી જીવતા હો, તો તમે ફિટ જ છો. આપ, પૌષ્ટિક અને યોગ્ય આહાર લેવા ઉપરાંત જીવન ભરપૂર માણતા પણ શીખવું જોઈએ, ત્યારે જ તમે ફિટ કહેવાઓ.

અહીં આપેલી સૂચનાઓનો કરશો તો Compensatory Diet, Herbal Diet, Crash Diet, Fat Free, Sugar Free, Baked diet, Comfort Food, South Beach Diet, Atkin Diet અને આવા અટપટા - ભૂખમરાવાળા અને થકવનારા ખોરાક (Diet Plan)થી ચોક્કસ મુક્તિ મળશે અને ભુખા રહ્યા વગર, ખાઈ-ખાઈને વજન ઉતારી શકશો.


Dawood Ibrahim - A Journey From Dongri To Karachi, Via Dubai

One of the recent off-bit topics I’ve read, this one book about ‘Mumbai Mafia’ has been the most interesting, well-researched and well-written. Here is an excerpt from Dawood Ibrahim's journey from “Dongri to Dubai”, and the six decades of Mumbai mafia.

Anavils - Endangered Species Among Human

After Parsis, Anavils (Anavil Brahmins, અનાવિલ બ્રાહ્મણ ) are the fastest decreasing community. The total population of Anavils around the world does not exceed two lakhs figure and that is also fast reducing day by day. Days are not far, beyond a century or so, when they will have to be seen/found in records, photos and videos. Why?


Because,
   - they get married too late,    - many are dying unmarried,    - they wait for the career to be settled before the first (and maybe the only) childbirth.