In 1947, after 90 years of relentless struggle, India finally managed to break free of the shackles of British Raj. If you ever paid attention during History and Civics lectures, you’ll be able to recall some of the movements that lead to our gargantuan victory. But how many of us are aware of the gruesome details? The monstrous mass slaughter? All the gut-wrenching things which transpired when the biggest migration in history took place?!
Train to Pakistan – Review
Recently, I stumbled upon Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh and what a reading experience it was! This book paints a depressing yet incisive picture of the partition and its aftermath. When the formation of the new state “Pakistan” was officially announced, hundreds of thousands of people – were on the move. The only remaining oases of peace were a scatter of little villages lost in the remote reaches of the frontier. “Train to Pakistan” is set in one such village called “Mano Majra.” A quaint little town where the Hindus, the Sikhs, and the Muslims have been co-existing in peace and harmony for ages. However, trouble in paradise arises when the village witnesses a murder and subsequently notice a lot of Sikh’s refugee entering their town to seek asylum. Amidst all this, we also have an affair of the hearts, which may or may not bloom in this soil starting to cover with blood.
“Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped.”
This book can be evidence of what happens when we are controlled by our emotions instead of controlling our emotions. The author does a phenomenal job of showcasing how manipulation can make even a naive human corrupt, and this obsessive need of ours to attach a person to a religion can be so vicious.
What was most relatable was the officers and governors, who to date try and save their skin without thinking about the repercussions that follow. Train to Pakistan tells us how people with no power suffer in silence. But when the same people acquire power in some manner, they too exploit those who are less powerful than them. Unwanted negativity overnight turned friends into foes, and thereafter both killing and dying becomes a child play to them. It’s really sad to see that religion was the cause of this violent bloodshed. This is a story that exhibits how the Indo-Pakistan movement contorted people’s belief of what is right and what is wrong and the brutal violence that followed in the name of faith and caste. It will leave you in shock. Written so early in time and being an Indian historical fiction; honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, but WOW! MY MIND IS BLOWN. It was everything I didn’t expect it to be. This novel will make you feel dejected but also appreciate what you have today.
“Train to Pakistan” is a short read, not so complicated, will leave a mark, and provokes some strong emotions. The author has done a pretty good job of creating such distinctive characters and giving them enough space. Allegory has the best effect when described in a very simple plot, and Khushwant Singh has nailed it. With all that being said, I wouldn’t recommend this to anybody below 15, as this has some spine chilling details. The rest of you, thank me later.