Train to Pakistan

2052 words 9 pages
Carl Reitz
Lou Fenech
Honors India
February 15, 2013
Book Review: Train to Pakistan Khushwant Singh opens his novel Train to Pakistan in a seemingly peaceful village on the countryside of Punjabi. Although the small village is fictional, it is important to note the historical significance this village, its people, and the time period represent in the novel. Revered as a one of the finest and best-known renditions of the Indian tragedy of partition, Train to Pakistan embodies more than a fictitious community. The following literary analysis will depict the consequence of human calamity by analyzing the political history of India, the social and cultural struggle of the people, and the moral message and character development. It
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The law enforcement was completely at the whim of the local government, meaning that in practice, there was no law. Also, small amounts of educated people trickled in and out of villages, trying to instill in people democratic, communist, or other western ideologies, though the common people were turned off and confused by their dissent. An example of this is when a villager explain, “Freedom is for the educated people who fought for it. We were slaves of the English, now we will be slaves of the educated Indians—or the Pakistanis” (48).
More than midway through the novel, Singh depicts a scene in which the villagers learn that the government was planning to transport Muslims from Mano Majra to Pakistan the next day for their safety. To better understand the situation surrounding the Partition of India, Singh provides information about both religions involved. The book sheds light on the various religious practices of both Sikhs and Muslims in rural India, including daily life for individuals from both practices. For example, the practice of prayer for Muslims is described in the novel: “The mullah at the mosque knows that it is time for the Morning Prayer. He has a quick wash, stands facing west towards Mecca and with his fingers in his ears cries in long sonorous notes, Allah-o-Akbar” (4). Singh points out practices of Sikhs as well, “The priest at the Sikh temple lies in bed till the mullah has called. Then he


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