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Train to Pakistan

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  7,704 ratings  ·  440 reviews
This unique illustrated edition of a modern-day Indian classic includes previously unpublished pictures by internationally acclaimed photographer Margaret Bourke-White. In the summer of 1947, the frontier between India and its newly-created neighbor, Pakistan, had become a river of blood, as the post-Partition exodus across the border erupted into violent rioting. In Train ...more
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Roli Books (first published 1956)
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Srinivas
every time i want to write a review, i just, struck, plain and simple. but this time i decided to write anything or something.

why i gave this book five stars?. because its an Indian literature? and about us- Indians?. no, certainly not, because its about characters, which are, u know, are fictitious, but situated in in non-fictitious and hard-core reality, struggle to maintain balance consistently between whats good and bad.

Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh is a story about the violence dur
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Rachel Rueckert
This book, particularly this version with photographs from Margaret Bourke-White (a pioneer in photojournalism) was fantastic. It is short but a powerful story about the Partition of India in 1947—an event I am sorry to say I had not known much about until coming on this field study to India. I began it on my own train ride to Pakistan.

Okay, so maybe not Pakistan, but a train to Amritsar and the Pakistan border. That has to count for something, right?

Reading this during that experience both impa
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Ananya Chaudhuri
Train to Pakistan is a book about the horrors of civil war and how a small peaceful village finally becomes a part of religious hate and communal violence. It depicts the myriads of human emotions which arise in troubled times and portrays how nothing is concrete. Khushwant Singh makes his point with this book that there is no categorical distinction of a person as good or bad and that even the best of relationships, which are built upon the virtues of comradeship and empathy, can be totally eng ...more
Michael
Mar 17, 2010 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History teachers, students of the middle east, inquiring minds
Recommended to Michael by: Brandon Hunziker
Shelves: literature
This is one of the books we used to teach the class "The World After 1945" at the University of North Carolina. As a teaching tool for history, it is mixed, although it is a very interesting read. Its strengths are in introducing students to an environment most know little or nothing about (the northern border areas of India) and to ethnic and religious divisions very different from those in the US. It's major weakness is that, as a work of fiction, it is not representative of actual historical ...more
Saimah
Inspite of volumes being written about life before, during and after the Indo-Pak partition, 'Train to Pakistan' clearly stands apart. How the brotherhood between two major communities of a small peaceful village transforms to hatred and loathe overnight under the existing scenario, is unbelievably surprising. Murders, thefts, molestations, massacres, over just a short span of time are enough to send shivers down your spine.

The plot goes from being horrifying to disturbing, all the while keeping
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Narasimhan
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 g ...more
Neha
Probably one of the best works of fiction by Khushwant Singh and the Indo-Pak partition saga. Train to Pakistan is a classic story of human endurance and struggle through a mass movement. Freedom got us our own government, our own flag, our own anthem, our own country, but for a commoner he lost his own house, his own people, his own identity. The story is as simple and common as possible – a small peaceful village, regular corrupt officials, ordinary ruffians and holy men. The partition wave hi ...more
Naveen Choudhary
"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."

Train to Pakistan proves this famous quote of Mahatma Gandhi (The Story of My Experiments With Truth) very precisely. It is one of best work of Khushwant Singh, India's leading Novel writer. He articulated his concerns of brutalities suffered by the people generated as a result of partition. Partition that has left many scars in the hearts of several Indians and those tragic days which still haunt the new India. It is the story of an isola
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Namrirru
Aside from the review on the back of the book, this story is about a test of humanity where every person fails except for one.

The setting is rural and most of the characters are villagers; Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs who are friendly neighbors. (If it weren't for a few coincidences in the novel, the village might have been completely isolated from the Partition. Maybe.) Choices were made and lines were drawn. It wasn't as if they failed by killing their neighbors, they didn't have to. They threw
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Madhulika Liddle
There is one drawback about finally reading a highly acclaimed book: that of expectations. Will it, or will it not, live up to all the praise one has heard lavished on it?

Khushwant Singh's landmark novel of the Partition, Train to Pakistan, was a book I approached both with anticipation and trepidation. I had, of course, heard a lot of praise for this book (back in school, one of my textbooks had also contained a brief extract from Train to Pakistan). Would I feel the same way about the book as
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Nissanka Parvath
What was freedom supposed to mean? Being free from the hands of the British raj but caught in the midst of religious violence? What fate was it to die just because you were circumcised? Or not. What fate was it to leave your birth place just because you weren't born into the right religion at the right place? “And God- no,not God; He was irrelevant.” Train to Pakistan is a hard-hitting historical fiction on the partition of Pakistan and India and all that that went into it: gory, gruesome massac ...more
Jibran
One of the earliest English language novels to capture the horrors of the Indian Partition of 1947. Since then it has achieved classic status in the history of Subcontinental literature and for right reasons.

As independence and with it Partition took reality the Punjabis become desperate to learn about their fate. The province of Punjab (like Bengal on the Eastern borders) was to be cut in half between its Muslim majority population and Hindu-Sikh majority population. Those who found themselves
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Darcey
Taking time to explain Indian culture - but in relevant ways to the story (what is monsoon? What do you do if you want to enter a Sikh gudwara?), Singh provides the story of a small Punjabi village during Partition and the relationship between Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, and... well, no one exactly knows. How do communities band together, or separate, during times of strife (particularly something like the Partition)? What length will someone go to, for what they love/value?

I was not expecting to enjo
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Mark
A sad, eye-opening story about a border village that is thrown into turmoil during the period of the Partition between India and Pakistan. Once, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims could live together in peace, but when the outside upheaval touches Manu Majra, their world cannot stay the same. Though fictional, a depressing look into a depressing part of world history - showing dividing lines that still exist today. Seemingly everyone meekly accepts the new way of things in conflict, but one lone act of h ...more
Abhyudaya Shrivastava
I finished this book in one day, that too in few hours. The drama is intense, the truth is bitter and the setting is very Indian. The expressions, the idioms, they are all translated and it would have been much more effective, had it been written in Hindi or Punjabi. But the book doesn't lose its charm in its Indianness simply because some stories are above narration, they are the stories that deserve to be told; Train to Pakistan is one such story.

It is grim and there are details of deaths and
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Prasanthi
The history of India-Pakistan independence; of the twin countries that was separated immediately after birth is familiar to all. The impact of partition on the people on either sides were humongous. People had to live their land, livelihood grab whatever they could carry and migrate in huge numbers, only to never see their homes again. Kushwant Singh, himself born in a Sikh family from East Punjab, in his book “Train to Pakistan” brings us a glimpse into the actual lives of Punjabis then at the ...more
Lisa
A little while ago I decided that I wanted to redress my woeful ignorance of literature from India, (as distinct from expat Anglo-Indian literature) and I asked my friend Vishy for some advice about what to read. Using the Recommendations page at his blog, I set myself up with an Indian-Lit to-read shelf at GoodReads, and Train to Pakistan is the first book in this literary journey.

Khushwant Singh is a prolific author, and his third novel Train to Pakistan is a classic. Written in 1957, it is se
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Keegan
Train to Pakistan
A random act of violence, or rather, a premeditated act of violence, premeditated exclusively for money, against the money trader Ram Lal. The motivation for the murder and robbery of a money-lender would seem obvious to anyone in any scenario, except in India immediately after partition.
Malli and his gang did it, Jugga Budmash refuses to take part even though he has killed many because he refuses to kill a member of his own village.
A political agitator named Iqbal comes to t
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Sudheer Kumar
This is a great work of historical fiction by Khushwant Singh which depicts a realistic potrayal of the Partition of India.The story takes place in Mano Majra, a small village on the Indian side of the Border.The villagers who are peasants,mostly of Sikh and Muslim faith are totally unaffected by the Partition.One day a train loaded with dead bodies arrives at the station near their village from Pakistan...the villagers eventually come to know that the dead are all hindus and sikhs killed in the ...more
Shenanigan
Train to Pakistan is a historical novel by Khushwant Singh first published in 1956 by Chatto & Windus. The story is about the feelings of the people of a village "Mano Majra" before and after the 1947 independence of India and Pakistan. The agony and the reality of the people of Indian history while the partition was in process is elaborated with a painful toil.

The book is set with the background of independent India in its infancy, left to have its own set of rules but with the bruises of s
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Bharat Jhurani
In my quest of reading books of all kinds I recently stumbled upon Train to Pakistan – a historical novel by Khushwant Singh published in 1956. I had bought this book a long time back, but never had the time or intent to read it. It just got lost in the middle of the other bigger volume books I guess. A week back I started reading it, and could not put it down till finishing it. It is a small book(about 200 pages), and is over 50 years old, but still feels so fresh and new. It recounts the Parti ...more
Robbin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andreas
The story set in a small village in Northwestern India in 1947, during the division of India into India and Pakistan. The village is on the border with Pakistan, with both Sikh and Muslim inhabitants. The two ethnic groups have been living together in the village for centuries, but events in the wider world around them are forcing separation.

The book is rather short. More a snapshot of life during a troubled time than a story, since there is no clear beginning or end to the narrative itself. Var
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Shreya Sengupta
The last paragraph of the book is what I loved most, or should I say loved at all. But I suppose, that is reason enough to get through it.
I was seriously disappointed with the description of the post-independence massacre. There is nothing one hasn't read about before. I'll give it to the author for one thing - the riots and the killings were not the focus of the book and he did try to keep it to the minimum. But I wish, he has done away with it completely and focused more on what his book was r
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Debashis
Read this to know the true capability of Khuswant Singh - the writer often accredited with revolving his writing around wine and women, certainly has masterpieces like A Train to Pakistan to his credit. Remember those utterly forgettable jokes (Khuswant Singh's Joke Book) and the womanizing stories (The Company of Women)?

A true heart wrenching (and at times heart warming) story of partition, that starts from a small hamlet called Mano Majra, where Sikhs & Muslims had co-existed for generatio
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Arnab Deka
"India is constipated with a lot of humbug. Take religion. For the Hindu, it means little beside caste and cow-protection. For the Muslim, circumcision and kosher meat. For the Sikh, long hair and hatred of the Muslim. For the Christian, Hinduism with a sola topee. For the Parsim fire-worship and feeding the vultures. Ethics, which should be the kernel of a religious code, has been carefully removed."

Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan is a poignant story of post-independent India.
Sundeep Supertramp
I am a guy who always hared literature reads. They are so boring. That is what I thought till now. This is my second literature book. Surprisingly I liked this one too.

This novel pictures the life in a border village named Mano Majra - just a moment ago I found that it is a fictitious village. It portraits the life of people who live in a bubble surrounded by mobs of Muslims who hate Sikhs and mobs of Sikhs who hate Muslims, while in the village they had always lived together peacefully. In that
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dead letter office
Small and simple, a fable about the events tied to the birth of Pakistan and independent India. I guess we all know that was a difficult birth, but this communicates the sadness and horror and hope in a way that no journalist or historian could. Sad that it's so unknown, at least in the West. I picked it up totally by accident.
Sanjeev Vadde
A very touching book. Describes very realistically the events during the partition of India. Kushwant Singh has shown his complete mettle in this book.
Navaneeta
Nov 04, 2011 Navaneeta rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Indian readers interested in the Partition
If at all one forgets what it is that makes Khushwant Singh much much more than a scandal-mongering, over-hyped persona, one just needs to go back to this book.

How many of us actually wanted "freedom"? And what exactly was "freedom" supposed to imply? Reading this book at a time when Macaulay is being newly interpreted has been a mind boggling experience to my limited intelligence. Juggut's understanding of an educated man as someone who knows English, is it the average layman's opinion?

For now
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Indian Readers: Kushwant Singh 18 167 Jan 31, 2015 04:16AM  
  • Untouchable
  • The Guide
  • English, August: An Indian Story
  • The Shadow Lines
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  • Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits
  • Cracking India
  • Tamas
  • The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan
  • The Great Indian Novel
  • Freedom at Midnight
  • The Illicit Happiness of Other People
  • The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian
  • The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity
  • Trespassing: A Novel
  • Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man
  • India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age
  • White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
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Khushwant Singh, (Punjabi: ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ਵੰਤ ਸਿੰਘ, Hindi: खुशवंत सिंह) born on 2 February 1915 in Hadali, British India, now a part of Punjab, Pakistan, is a prominent Indian novelist and journalist. Singh's weekly column, "With Malice towards One and All", carried by several Indian newspapers, is among the most widely-read columns in the country.

An important post-colonial novelist writing in English, Sing
...more
More about Khushwant Singh...
The Company of Women Delhi Truth, Love and a Little Malice Absolute Khushwant Sunset Club

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“Not forever does the bulbul sing
In balmy shades of bowers,
Not forever lasts the spring
Nor ever blossom the flowers.
Not forever reigneth joy,
Sets the sun on days of bliss,
Friendships not forever last,
They know not life, who know not this.”
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“Freedom is for the educated people who fought for it. We were slaves of the English, now we will be slaves of the educated Indians—or the Pakistanis.” 49 likes
More quotes…