Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh: A Free Ebook that Explores the Human Cost of the Partition
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh: A Review
If you are looking for a powerful and gripping novel that depicts the horrors and the humanity of the Partition of India in 1947, you should read Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh. This classic work of literature is not only a historical account of one of the most tragic events in modern history, but also a timeless story of love, courage, and sacrifice. In this article, we will review Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh and tell you how you can get the ebook for free.
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What is Train to Pakistan?
Train to Pakistan is a novel written by Khushwant Singh, a renowned Indian author, journalist, and historian. It was first published in 1956, nine years after the Partition of India, which resulted in the creation of two independent nations: India and Pakistan. The Partition was accompanied by widespread violence, displacement, and death, as millions of people were forced to migrate across the newly drawn borders based on their religious affiliation. Train to Pakistan is one of the first novels that deals with this traumatic event from a humanistic perspective.
Why is Train to Pakistan important?
Train to Pakistan is important because it offers a realistic and nuanced portrayal of the Partition and its impact on ordinary people. Unlike many other works that focus on the political and ideological aspects of the Partition, Train to Pakistan shows how it affected the lives, relationships, and values of individuals and communities. It also challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that fueled the communal hatred and violence during that time. Moreover, Train to Pakistan is important because it raises universal questions about human nature, morality, and justice that are relevant even today.
How to get Train to Pakistan ebook for free?
If you are interested in reading Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, you can get the ebook for free from various online sources. One of them is the Internet Archive, a non-profit library that offers free access to millions of books, movies, music, and more. You can download Train to Pakistan in PDF or EPUB format from this link. Another source is ReadAnyBook.com, a website that allows you to read ebooks online without downloading or registering. You can read Train to Pakistan online from this link. However, please note that these sources may not be authorized or legal in your country, so use them at your own risk.
Summary of Train to Pakistan
The setting and the characters
The novel is set in a fictional village called Mano Majra, which is located near the border between India and Pakistan. Mano Majra is a peaceful and harmonious place where Muslims and Sikhs have coexisted for centuries. The main characters of the novel are:
Juggut Singh, also known as Jugga, a young Sikh man who is a notorious criminal and lover of Nooran;
Nooran, a Muslim girl who is the daughter of Imam Baksh, the village mullah;
Iqbal Singh, also known as Iqbal, a foreign-educated socialist and atheist who comes to Mano Majra to organize the peasants;
Hukum Chand, the local magistrate and police officer who is corrupt and lustful;
Bhai Meet Singh, the village priest and headman who is kind and wise;
Mallik, the subinspector of police who is cruel and ruthless.
The plot and the themes
The novel begins with the arrival of a train full of dead bodies at Mano Majra. The train is coming from Pakistan, where many Sikhs and Hindus have been killed by Muslims. This shocks and disturbs the villagers, who have never witnessed such violence before. Soon, they learn that similar trains are going from India to Pakistan, carrying the corpses of Muslims killed by Sikhs and Hindus. This creates a sense of fear and suspicion among the villagers, who are influenced by rumors and propaganda from outside.
Meanwhile, Iqbal arrives at Mano Majra and stays at the gurdwara (Sikh temple) with Bhai Meet Singh. He tries to educate the villagers about their rights and duties as citizens of a free country, but he faces resistance and indifference from them. He also gets arrested by Mallik, who suspects him of being a Muslim spy. Jugga is also arrested by Mallik, who wants to frame him for the murder of Lala Ram Lal, a wealthy Hindu moneylender who was killed by a gang of dacoits (bandits).
Hukum Chand is the one who controls the fate of Iqbal and Jugga. He is a cynical and pragmatic man who does not care about justice or morality. He only wants to maintain law and order in his district by any means necessary. He also has a soft spot for Haseena, a young Muslim prostitute who he visits regularly.
The climax of the novel occurs when a group of Sikh refugees from Pakistan arrives at Mano Majra and plans to attack a train carrying Muslim refugees to Pakistan. They enlist the help of some villagers, who are persuaded by their religious zeal and hatred. However, Jugga and Iqbal decide to stop them from carrying out their massacre. Jugga sacrifices his life by throwing himself on the bridge where the train is supposed to pass, while Iqbal fires his gun in the air to alert the police. The novel ends with a question: "Who is there to mourn Jugga?"
The style and the tone
The novel is written in a simple and straightforward language that reflects the rural setting and the characters' backgrounds. The novel also uses some Punjabi words and phrases that add to the authenticity and flavor of the story. The novel switches between different points of view, such as those of Jugga, Iqbal, Hukum Chand, and an omniscient narrator. The tone of the novel is realistic and tragic, as it depicts the harsh realities and the human costs of the Partition. However, the novel also has some moments of humor, irony, and romance that lighten up the mood and show the resilience and hope of the people.
Analysis of Train to Pakistan
The historical and political context
The novel is based on the historical events that took place during the Partition of India in 1947. The Partition was a result of the British colonial rule in India, which ended after World War II. The British decided to divide India into two independent states: India for Hindus and Sikhs, and Pakistan for Muslims. However, this division was done hastily and arbitrarily, without considering the religious diversity and complexity of India. As a consequence, millions of people were displaced from their homes and had to migrate across the new borders. Along the way, they faced violence, rape, looting, and murder from their former neighbors and co-religionists. It is estimated that more than 10 million people were displaced and more than one million people were killed during the Partition.
The novel also reflects some of the political ideologies and movements that were prevalent in India at that time. One of them was socialism, which advocated for social justice and equality for all classes of people. Iqbal represents this ideology in the novel, as he tries to mobilize the peasants against their oppressors. Another one was communalism, which emphasized religious identity and loyalty over national or human identity. This ideology fueled the hatred and violence between different religious groups during the Partition. The novel shows how communalism corrupted and destroyed the harmony and tolerance that existed in places like Mano Majra.
The moral and ethical dilemmas
The literary devices and techniques
The novel employs some of the literary devices and techniques that enhance its impact and appeal. One of them is symbolism, which uses objects, characters, or events to represent abstract ideas or concepts. For example, the train in the novel symbolizes the Partition and its consequences. It also symbolizes the fate and the choice of the people who are on board or who are waiting for it. Another one is foreshadowing, which hints at what will happen later in the story. For example, the arrival of the ghost train at the beginning of the novel foreshadows the violence and the tragedy that will unfold later. Another one is irony, which creates a contrast between what is expected and what actually happens. For example, Iqbal's name is ironic because it means "prosperity" in Arabic, but he faces poverty and hardship in India. Another one is imagery, which uses descriptive language to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind. For example, the novel uses imagery to describe the beauty and the horror of Mano Majra and its surroundings.
The main takeaways from Train to Pakistan
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh is a remarkable novel that offers a realistic and humanistic account of the Partition of India in 1947. It shows how the Partition affected the lives, relationships, and values of ordinary people who were caught in the crossfire of history. It also raises important questions about human nature, morality, and justice that are relevant even today. The novel is a masterpiece of literature that combines historical facts with fictional elements to create a compelling and memorable story.
The strengths and weaknesses of Train to Pakistan
The novel has many strengths that make it a classic work of literature. Some of them are:
It provides a balanced and unbiased perspective on the Partition and its aftermath;
It portrays the characters with depth and complexity, showing their flaws and virtues;
It uses simple and effective language that captures the essence and the emotion of the story;
It employs various literary devices and techniques that enhance its impact and appeal;
It conveys a powerful message of peace and humanity that transcends time and place.
The novel also has some weaknesses that may limit its scope or appeal. Some of them are:
It may be too graphic or disturbing for some readers who are sensitive to violence or gore;
It may be too simplistic or idealistic for some readers who are looking for more depth or complexity in the plot or the themes;
It may be too dated or irrelevant for some readers who are not familiar with or interested in the historical context or background;
It may be too biased or inaccurate for some readers who have different opinions or interpretations of the Partition or its consequences;
It may be too short or incomplete for some readers who want more details or development in the story or the characters.
The recommendations for further reading
If you enjoyed reading Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, you may also like these books that deal with similar topics or themes:
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry: A novel that depicts the lives of four characters who struggle to survive during the Emergency in India in 1975;
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie: A novel that tells the story of Saleem Sinai, who is born at the exact moment of India's independence in 1947;
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: A novel that explores the effects of caste, class, gender, and politics on a family in Kerala in 1969;
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: A novel that follows the lives of two women who suffer under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 1990s;
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: A novel that traces the friendship and betrayal of two boys who grow up in Kabul in 1970s.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh:
Is Train to Pakistan based on a true story?
Train to Pakistan is based on historical events that took place during the Partition of India in 1947, but it is not a true story. The novel is a work of fiction that uses fictional characters and places to tell a fictional story.
Who is the protagonist of Train to Pakistan?
Train to Pakistan does not have a clear or single protagonist, as it switches between different points of view and focuses on different characters. However, some of the main characters who play important roles in the novel are Jugga, Iqbal, Hukum Chand, and Nooran.
What is the theme of Train to Pakistan?
Train to Pakistan has several themes that are interrelated and intertwined. Some of the major themes are:
The Partition and its consequences;
The violence and the humanity;
The communalism and the secularism;
The morality and the justice;
The love and the sacrifice.
What is the tone of Train to Pakistan?
The tone of Train to Pakistan is realistic and tragic, as it depicts the harsh realities and the human costs of the Partition. However, the novel also has some moments of humor, irony, and romance that lighten up the mood and show the resilience and hope of the people.
What is the message of Train to Pakistan?
The message of Train to Pakistan is that peace and humanity are more important than violence and hatred. The novel shows that people can overcome their differences and prejudices and coexist peacefully and harmoniously. It also shows that people can choose to act according to their conscience and values rather than their fear and anger.