24 April, 2021

Train to Pakistan by Kushwant Singh - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title:  Train to Pakistan

Author: Kushwant Singh

Genre: Historical fiction, History

Publisher: Normanby Press

Print Length: 236 pages


“In the summer of 1947, when the creation of the state of Pakistan was formally announced, ten million people—Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs—were in flight. By the time the monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead, and all of northern India was in arms, in terror, or in hiding. The only remaining oases of peace were a scatter of little villages lost in the remote reaches of the frontier. One of these villages was Mano Majra.”

It is a place, Khushwant Singh goes on to tell us at the beginning of this classic novel, where Sikhs and Muslims have lived together in peace for hundreds of years. Then one day, at the end of the summer, the “ghost train” arrives, a silent, incredible funeral train loaded with the bodies of thousands of refugees, bringing the village its first taste of the horrors of the civil war. Train to Pakistan is the story of this isolated village that is plunged into the abyss of religious hate. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endured and transcends the ravages of war.

Purchase Link:


My Review:

Train to Pakistan depicts the partition days of India and Pakistan. It clearly covers that period,  the people, and the circumstances in rural Punjab.

I felt the story or depiction is raw without polishing or covering up the real circumstances and emotions during partition.  The writing style is easy to follow, but I find many Indianized English words (if I may say so) whose meanings we cannot find in Dictionary.

I love the way how the author depicts the normal life of rural people. The harmony between different religions, people respecting each other in villages, and their moral values are worth an appreciation. The book also brings in the reality of that period,  killings without logic, etc. The mass killings across the border and cruelty brought tears while reading the book.

The climax is unique and very satisfying. We see people like Iqbal and Hukum Chand in real life, who preach morals but don't dare to follow them completely. We also see people like Juggut Singh who shine bright against circumstances and sacrifice their lives for good when society least expects good from them. 

By the end of the book, I realized why this book is a classic. A classic is not only a great literary work but also which mirrors society,  people, culture, and complex human emotions.

My Rating: 5/5

About the Author:

Khushwant Singh,  born on 2 February 1915 in Hadali, Undivided India, (now a part of Pakistan), was a prominent Indian novelist and journalist. Singh's weekly column, "With Malice towards One and All", carried by several Indian newspapers, was among the most widely-read columns in the country.

An important post-colonial novelist writing in English, Singh is best known for his trenchant secularism, his humor, and abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioral characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit.

Until next time,

Pin it for later!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping by! please share your opinion :)