Do you remember the Train to Pakistan or Mano Majra? The first historical novel of Khushwant Singh ‘Train to Pakistan’ also titled as ‘Mano Majra’.
In this classic novel, Khushwant Singh tells about Sikhs and Muslims who lived together in peace for hundreds of years. The novel is based on the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1947 which followed the partition of India.
This novel depicts the bitter and dirty truth of Indian independence, which we call division. Singh provides information about various religious practices of both Sikhs and Muslims in rural India, including the daily life of individuals from both practices. For example, the practice of prayer for Muslims is mentioned in the novel and practices of Sikhs as well.
Summary of Train to Pakistan
The novel is based on the main character Mano Majra, the fictional village on the border of Pakistan and India and is known for its railway station.
The novel introduces Bhai Meet Singh, who is fat, usually wears dirty underpants, the caretaker of the town Gurudwara. Hukum Chand, who is magistrate comes in his American car but later resigns due to heavy tensions of the town.
Juggut Singh, a Sikh thief, who is playing a bad character in the novel, is an uneducated local badmash, who visits police station once in a week, is 6 feet tall and strong.
In this novel, Iqbal is a mysterious character, who is foreign-educated, an atheist social worker from Britain and people gives him respect for that and calls him Babu Sahib.
The mullah of the town is half-blind Imam Baksh and her daughter Nooran is in love with Jugga and carries two months old baby of Jugga in her womb.
The novel is about one man who is fighting against his own thoughts whether it is correct to stand in front of 50 armed men waiting to kill hundreds of their own species or to stop because what they are going to do is immoral.
The story begins with the robbery and murder of Lala Ram Lal, the only Hindu family in the town. The murderers were a gang of Malli. Jugga and Iqbal, they both were arrested for the one same murder they did not commit.
When they released from the jail, they realized that a gang was planning to attack the train taking Mano Majora’s Muslim people to Pakistan and kill the passengers.
Sadly, Nooran, who is Jugga’s lover, is also on that train. Neither the magistrate nor the police is able to stem the rising tide of violence. They each had the intentions to save the train, though they were well aware of the fact that it may cost their lives. Iqbal was the person who fights with his own thoughts whether he should do something or not.
On the other hand, Jugga sacrifices his life to save the train. The train to Pakistan shows how themes of love and religion cause mankind to do unthinkable things that include heartbreaking actions.
The people of the village were thrown into a system where the value of human life is based on caste systems, religious and political beliefs.
The bond between Sikh Jugga and Muslim shows that people can choose to be different, love exists in every religion, and love has no language but the language of love only.
All of them could have prevented the tragedy, but it would have cost them their lives. Some avoid, some over thinks and only one does the right thing without thinking anything.