The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped.’
It is the summer of 1947. But Partition does not mean much to the Sikhs and Muslims of Mano Majra, a village on the border of India and Pakistan. Then, a local money-lender is murdered, and suspicion falls upon Juggut Singh, the village gangster who is in love with a Muslim girl. When a train arrives, carrying the bodies of dead Sikhs, the village is transformed into a battlefield, and neither the magistrate nor the police are able to stem the rising tide of violence. Amidst conflicting loyalties, it is left to Juggut Singh to redeem himself and reclaim peace for his village.
First published in 1956, Train to Pakistan is a classic of modern Indian fiction.
I am a guy who always hared literature reads. They are so boring. That is what I thought till now. This is my second literature book. Surprisingly I liked this one too.
This novel pictures the life in a border village named Mano Majra - just a moment ago I found that it is a fictitious village. It portraits the life of people who live in a bubble surrounded by mobs of Muslims who hate Sikhs and mobs of Sikhs who hate Muslims, while in the village they had always lived together peacefully. In that village, Sikhs respected Muslims as their brothers. The storydates back during the Independence and partition of India - 1947. The story weaves in the way how the life in Mano Majra is effected by the partition and the events followed due to partition.
Like the last literature book I read, this one ends abruptly too. Maybe books of that genre tend to end like that.
Train to Pakistan
Set in late August-early September of 1947, this is a gripping story of the state of affairs in a small village at the Indo-Pak border. In just 157 pages, Khushwant Singh creates magic and weaves an intricate plot which shows that political independence is very different from economic independence and that the former means little to the people who don’t have the latter. It shows how the Indians and the Pakistanis made their “tryst with destiny”, how the manipulative police and bureaucracy was least bothered to prevent the carnage that happened on each side of the border and wanted to play it safe. It shows how the educated “Indian social worker” (the character Iqbal) can only give speeches that condemn average illiterate Indians for not realizing their plight. But when the time comes for action, he does nothing. On the contrary, the headstrong illiterate Sikh dacoit Jugga whom everyone thinks and calls “budmaash” is the one who answers to his call of conscience and saves hundreds of human lives. On the whole, a great book and must-read for anyone who is interested to know about the Indo-Pak Partition.
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