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Train to Pakistan

Train to Pakistan

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Language English
Contributor(s) Khushwant Singh
Binding Paperback
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Overview: Train to Pakistan

'Train to Pakistan' is a story depicting how life would have been for all the people caught during the India-Pakistan partition, when India was being divided. The book has been written by the late author, Khushwant Singh, and is a fictional masterpiece. While quite a large number of books can be found on the issue of partition, the book 'Train to Pakistan' marvellously captures the emotions and sufferings of people going through those times. The story is non political in nature and narrates the lives of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs during the partition of India. The story showcases how the best of friends can turn into enemies, just in a few minutes. It is a story of the common man and his struggle during partition.


The story is woven around communal and religious lines and dates back to the days when India was being divided into two countries.

A small village, Mano Majra, suddenly finds itself as a part of the border between Indian and Pakistan. The major population of the village comprises of Muslims and Sikhs, who live very happily, until a train from Pakistan arrives bringing thousands of dead bodies, all massacred as they were crossing over to India. This incident changes the lives of the people residing in Mano Majra, forever.

When the news of communal riots reaches the village, both the communities swear to protect each other. While the Muslims are ready to protect the Sikhs, they are forced to vacate the village and leave behind their belongings, after being forced by a bandit gang from some nearby villages. This bandit gang creates a problem for all people residing in Mano Majra.

Slowly and gradually, passions get ignited when refugees from nearby places start pouring into Mano Majra. These refugees have plenty of horror tales to narrate, and the emotions of the Sikhs and the Muslims flare up. Now the Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs-who once swore to stand by each other in good and bad times, turn against each other.

Caught in all this frenzy are two characters, Juggut Singh--a criminal, and Iqbal--an educated western individual who is keen to reform the society. In a desperate attempt to divert the attention of the masses, the police arrest Iqbal and Juggut. The police claim that both of them are suspects in the murder of Ram Lal, a money lender. As a result, they both land up in jail. As violence increases by leaps and bounds, a train arrives to take the Muslim population of this village en masse to Pakistan. However the rioters have no intention of allowing the Muslims to leave.

What takes place next is thought provoking and demands an intense look within ourselves.

About Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh was a very well known journalist and an author of high repute. Born in the year 1915, in Pakistan, he studied at St. Stephen's College, Delhi, and at King's College in London; and later from the Bar at the Inner Temple. During his stint as a journalist, Khushwant Singh worked for several publications, including the Hindustan Times, the Illustrated weekly and the National Herald, amongst other prominent ones. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha and was later awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan award in the year 1974.

Features: Train to Pakistan

  • Fiction
Product Details
Language English
Publication Date February 2, 2016
Publisher Penguin
Contributor(s) Khushwant Singh
Binding Paperback
Edition 1st Edition
Page Count 192
ISBN 10 0143065882
ISBN 13 9780143065883
Dimensions and Weight
Product Weight 821 grams
Product Dimensions 19.8 cm x 1.2 cm x 13.3 cm
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Customer Reviews on Train to Pakistan

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Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Reviews
  1.  Mano Majra 30 April, 2014 On
    This was the first novel from Khushwant Singh, who till that time was not very famous.
    Mano Majra was the original title of the book, which was later changed to Train to Pakistan increase its appeal to a much wider audience. This book won the Groove Press Competition for the best work of fiction from India.. The background of the story is based on a fictitious remote frontier village named Mano Majra.The story is set around partition period. It is a remote town and the people were insulated from the poisonous winds of communal and religious hatred. The central character is a notorious criminal who is just out on probation.

    For young generation who have just read or heard about the partition,this book transports you to that era when corpse laden trains were the norm of the day. women jumping into dry wells rather getting ravished along with their infants,rivers flowing with bodies,displacement and the painful migration are some of the incidents which stay with you after finishing the novel. The fear, distrust and confusion among the people who were readily exploited by religious zealots in committing one of the most inhuman acts ever seen in the history of sub continent. Very conservative estimate state that at least a million people expired or were lost during partition and another 70 million were displaced.

    How seeds of distrust were planted among the peace loving common Hindus and Muslims and how one group was instigated into wiping the other is clearly described. Had we Indians grasped the simple facts of that period , Godhra and 1984 would have been never repeated.

    Bottom line, this book is like a beginners guide in understanding partition and how communal feelings are flared up.
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  2.  India-Pakistan partition at its worst 21 November, 2013 On
    Train to Pakistan is the first Kushwant Singh's book I've read and I immediately became a fan of his. Kushwant Singh has a rare gift of telling an everyday story in the most attention catching way possible. As the title of this book suggests, the story takes place during India - Pakistan partition in 1947 in one of the small villages scattered around the border. One day in the summer, a train filled with dead refugees arrives at the station and suddenly the village people find themselves in the middle of hateful religious turmoils and angry mobs provoking more and more conflicts. What once used to be a place where Sikhs and Muslims lived in peace is now filled with blind hatred. This hatred touches the lives of everybody, including a young Sikh boy and a Muslim girl, whose love is at stake.
    Kushwant Singh has a tendency to be very honest in his writings and he definitely painted the gruesome reality of the partition years. He also knows how to keep his readers' attention till the very last page.
    This book is a must read!
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  3.  Goose-bump inducing 1 April, 2013 On
    I read Train to Pakistan years ago, right back when I was in college. I can still never forget the novel, which is undoubtedly one of my favourite Indian novels in English.

    Khushwant Singh is a daring story-teller. He manages to remain one of the few who refrain from much of the linguistic pomp, glamour, and political pretense that dogs Indian English writers.

    His language is simple; his message is startling. The novel is based on the time when India won independence, and when the partition took place. Singh blends satire and compassion with heart felt anger: at the hypocrisy and cowardice of social activists, and at the bureaucracy and corruption that permeates Indian politics.

    The climax of the novel is the message of the story: action is never political; it is only personal. Nobody is going to get up and do a thing for anyone else unless it's for someone they love, unless it's something that comes from the heart.

    This book is an absolute must read for every single person who cares about Hindu-Muslim harmony.
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  4.  Train to Pakistan. 19 September, 2013 On
    Fiction based on India-Pakistan partition.It narrates the refugee problems,the violence & hatred that has been pampered by Hindus,Sikhs & Muslims.By the end of reading you would be moved by the incidents(many are real life based.Being in southern most corner of India,many of us would not have seen or heard or experienced the pains of the partition.With over 10 million being uprooted from their ancestor lands,killings in the name of religion,wives being raped in front of their men,young girls taken in captive and raped repeatedly till their death,children being killed and thousands left home-less,partition was one of the biggest tragedy of mankind or as bad as holocaust.This book is a real eye opener on the tragedy.You would be moved by the photographs of the tragedy.The on-field photos were taken by American photographer for Life & Time magazine.After reading this book,you would be having a restless sleep at least for two days.This is one of the best of Kushwanth Singh's books...
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  5.  Excellent Book 14 September, 2014 On
    I have been started reading this book, and i am very much interested to read each and every page of it.
    It takes you to 1947 where it describes a small village in India and how they have been suffering from partition and other things. The author writres each and everything in his own style which i liked the most. If you are non-fiction reader and you would certainly like it. Also if you want to know how the 1947 parition felt in rural village this book will help you get the glimpse of it.
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