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Main Themes in Train to Pakistan Novel

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The novel, “Train to Pakistan” illustrates the idea of partition in 1947 and how people get affected by the term of violence. Khushwant Singh describes that ‘Train to Pakistan’ is the novel which represents that the black history of India through the partition of India and Pakistan. Moreover, Khushwant Singh represents the village, Mano Majra, as a microcosm which shows a larger world, even it starts with micro (small), but it has the meaning itself. It also illustrates that the term ‘microcosm’ represent of both communal conflict and violence which is caused by the partition. Khushwant Singh uses the character of the Sikh boy, Juggat Singh, and the Muslim girl, Nooran which tells about the reality of situation upon both the communities. Therefore, my essay will examine the separation of India and Pakistan by different religions i.e. Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims and how the partition changes the behavior of people from peace to violence.

Khushwant Singh mentioned in his novel that “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 shots and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped.”

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It reveals the idea of Hindus blamed on the Muslims and Muslims blamed on the Hindus to create a violence. Each community refused to take responsibility they committed that they had live peacefully. Moreover, it was the heartbreaking human tragedy to create violence. No one wants to trust on each other, for example, Hindus thought that Muslims are the Terrorist and Muslims thought that Hindus or Sikhs are the reason behind the separation. They both were having doubt, which leads to the violence in them. Furthermore, the main reason behind the violence is that Muslim had to leave India and go to Pakistan without their belongings or properties. And who did not follow those circumstances; those were killed in front of their mates. Therefore, the novel started with the murder of Lala Ram Lal, which reveals that there was some crisis in between the religions difference, because he is the only Hindu family in the village, he killed by Malli, gang leader. Somehow, Jugga arrested by the inspector for the murder of Lala Ram Lal, which showed that there was no investigation about that murder case. On those days, it stated that if someone had a tag of the murderer, that person is the reason for all the murder case. And it happened with Jugga too.

The town, Mano Majra, serves as the example of coexistence between different groups of people, likewise, Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims were living side by side peacefully. As the writer said in his first chapter that the village is small and people from different caste or religion lived there and share the knowledge and even the village are dominated by Sikh families, but also the Muslim and the Hindus families were welcomed there. Meet Singh, the head of Gurdwara, tell Iqbal, “Everyone is welcome to his religion. Here next door is mosque. When I pray to my Guru, Uncle Imam Baksh calls to Allah.” The statement illustrates that how people from different religion cuts all the discrimination and establish a unity between each other. Somehow, people of different castes were not happy for Jugga because he fell in love with Nooran; the influence of religious differences which might be the reason for partition. Moreover, the differences began in the village, Mano Majra, or the community, which leads to the idea of violence in the society, because it stated that Muslims had to leave the village and moved to Pakistan. In the book, Khushwant Singh mentioned that Iqbal said, “‘What exactly do you mean by ‘belonging to Pakistan,’ Inspector Sahib?’ ‘You are a Muslim. You go to Pakistan.’” Furthermore, the refugee or the Muslim people had to leave, but they did not allow taking the property with them.

The trains represent a significant role for the people of Mano Majra. “Early in September the time schedule in Mano Majra started going wrong. Trains became less punctual than ever before and any more started to run through at night. Some days it seemed as though the alarm clock had been set for the wrong hour.”

It illustrated that time had a huge impact on the life of the people, which showed disruption in the schedule of trains. Before the partition, the train is the symbol of peace and love, but after the partition, those trains were converted into the ‘Ghost Trains.’ “The arrival of the ghost train in broad daylight created a commotion in Mano Majra. People stood on their role to see what was happening at the station.” It illustrates how the train and the station were so full of refugees. Moreover, it is also a tragedy that violence created through the trains. The Muslim refugee sent to Pakistan by trains and Sikhs or Hindus stayed in India, but mostly communists attacked the train and killed the passengers. Furthermore, the ghost train and the bodies it carried transforms the village, Mano Majra, from peace to fear and suspicion. “The village was stilled in a deathly silence. No one asked anyone else what the odor was. They all knew. They had known it all the time. The answer was implicit in the fact that the train had come from Pakistan.” It reveals that even the village, Mano Majra, had just touched with the violence, but the funeral pyre of the dead bodies from the ghost train had burned already, which gave a clue to the reality of bloodshed. Therefore, the train is the symbol of pain and pathos for all the community, which ends all the shared histories.

Moreover, the River, Sutlej River, was filled with dead bodies of Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims because the river is in the way of Mano Majra. “The Sutlej River is the largest river in the Punjab.” It reveals that the river is well known and it is also a symbol of purity and peace, but how it had dead bodies of each community, how the communist attacked on the train and throw all the bodies in the river. The partition converts the situation of India and Pakistan from bad to worse.

In conclusion, the partition through the religion base, likewise, Muslims went to Pakistan and Sikhs and Hindus stayed in India had a huge impact on the people itself, which lead the idea of violence. Society hated each other, no one can survive through those aspects. As Juggat Singh is the main character of the novel. As I mentioning above, Juggat Singh, the Sikh boy fell in love with Nooran, the Muslim girl, which means that he does not pay attention to the community. His main aim was Nooran only. He also sacrificed his life for love, which reveals that Juggat Singh had a kind heart to help other religion. Moreover, the character of Juggat Singh impresses that even the partition happened, his love for the nation did not change. Khushwant Singh tried to explain that the humanism by the use of both community i.e. Sikhs or Hindus and Muslims. The novel is totally based on the secularist through the theme of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

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