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Train to Pakistan

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,972 Ratings  ·  589 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This unique illustrated edition of a modern-day Indian classic includes previously unpublished pictures by internationally acclaimed photographer Margaret Bourke-White.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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Jan 22, 2015 Srinivas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel Rueckert
Jul 17, 2011 Rachel Rueckert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india
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
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
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
Sidharth Vardhan
“ Not forever does the bulbul sing
In balmy shades of bowers,
Not forever lasts the spring
Nor ever blossom flowers.
Not forever reigneth joy,
Sets the sun on days of bliss,
Friendships not forever last,
They know not life, who know not this.”

Khushwant Singh was one of the most popular authors in India. Serious literary as well as light humorous fiction, journalism etc he was everywhere. And even if you are not a reader, you need to love him for him for his humor, he actually came up with his
Mar 17, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 27, 2011 Saimah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 22, 2008 Narasimhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
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
Sumit Singla
Oct 11, 2015 Sumit Singla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015, fiction
The Partition of 1947 has probably been one of the most horrific and traumatic events that Modern India has faced. Belonging to the State of Punjab, which suffered the most due to Partition, I've heard the bloodcurdling tales of that time from elders in the family.

But, none of them as gory or visceral as Khushwant Singh's narrative about it.

The book had been on my TBRs for a while, but what made me pick it up immediately was a train to very close to Pakistan - Amritsar. Lahore, one of the most i
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
Aditya Jain
Jun 24, 2015 Aditya Jain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We climb to sublime heights on the wings of fancy. We do the rope trick in all spheres of creative life. As long as the world credulously believes in our capacity to make a rope rise skyward and a little boy climb it till he is out of view, so long will our brand of humbug thrive."
I was going to give it a 3.5* rating. But then, I read the last few pages. And I was convinced why I could not give it less than a 4.
1947. Partition. Millions of people crossed the frontiers to the side they thought t
Oct 09, 2015 Pranjali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
This book completely makes it point, and that to quite loudly.The horrors of partition are depicted such that it will leave you with goosebumps. Nearly 6 decades after independence, and yet so much about the book is still relevant. The common man in both the countries is just a dumb spectator; who's made a fool of by those in power. If think about it, not much have changed. we have been fueled by unnecessary hatred which only cost innocent lives.
We need to learn the true meaning of "FREEDOM",
Jul 12, 2007 Namrirru rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
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
Yusra Gulab Jamman
Absolutely harrowing. We've all heard the history, but sometimes you need to live it for a few hours - by means of a book like this - in order to recognise the bloodiness, the magnitude of human suffering, and to understand even an iota of the horrors that occurred.
Nov 04, 2011 Navaneeta rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
May 30, 2015 Awinder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since the time I started reading books, anecdotes, short stories about partition, I have been fascinated by the events of this unfortunate period. I had excessively high hopes from this book. Like, extremely high! And after finishing it, I was not disappointed.
What the book perfectly portrays is the helplessness of the people caught in this whirlwind of time. Not even a Deputy Commissioner or sub inspector could do anything to calm the situation. A peaceful village with no intentions of any ill
Nissanka Parvath
Apr 25, 2014 Nissanka Parvath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
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
Jeeva Sk
Aug 05, 2015 Jeeva Sk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History books capture names and dates of events, whereas novels capture the emotion of those events. Khushwant Singh has strained to do so of the people during the partition of India in August 1947. The story takes place in a fictional village called as Mano Majra in the border of India and Pakistan.

Khushwant Singh scores in depicting how the religious practices were in the pre independence era and how they lived in harmony. The stark fact which pops out throughout the book is how people were in
Apr 18, 2015 Vipassana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, intimate, politics
One of the lines that stayed with me most was, "Ethics, which should be the kernel of religious code, has been carefully removed".

Kushwant Singh has captured man's most dominant trait, his ability to rationalize anything he does.
Sep 23, 2011 Darcey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, india
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
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
Jacob Leach
Jan 14, 2016 Jacob Leach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Khushwant Singh’s book Train to Pakistan is a brilliantly written historical novel set in a rural village in Northern India during the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947. The book is told from the viewpoints of several characters that all connect to each other in one way or another. A love story between a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl develops as their respective religious groups show open hostility and violence towards each other as refugees flee to or from India and their pea ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Prasanthi rated it really liked it
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
Lovely Goyal
I heard a lot about this book, so finally picked it up and finished it in two sittings. It has simple language and it is a 192 pages read.
First half of the book is quite dragged but second half, actually last few pages are gripping. You don't want to put it down while reading last pages. At times, it is also boring and quite irrelevant.

It is a fictional book which portrays beautiful and unknown picture of partition blues. It gives more emphasis on how people living in small villages who knew li
Anirban Nanda
The riot situations are described as clear as crystal. The narrative is beautiful and it is one of the most beautiful stories written by an Indian. I particularly love the ending which was tremendous and brilliant. Scenes of riots are shown masterfully. The notable thing is his way of describing violent scenes. They are not direct,they are described from perspective of someone's memory. You should definitely read this book.
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.
Partha Nandi
Jul 18, 2015 Partha Nandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what to say about KHUSWANT SINGH JI....India's best fiction author he is...mano majra was just a background on which he created such a tale that not only left me spell bound, but i could feel the pain of separation. People slaughtered, killed, looted, molested and what was the base of such act, nothing but religion..MEaning of religion, during that time, was circumcission and turban with kripan.
It was my first time with the author's narration but i can say it proudly very few in the world can cr
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This should be made into a Bollywood Movie 1 2 Feb 04, 2016 10:21PM  
Indian Readers: October 2015 - Train to Pakistan 49 67 Oct 24, 2015 02:38PM  
Indian Readers: Kushwant Singh 18 183 Jan 31, 2015 04:16AM  
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Khushwant Singh, (Punjabi: ਖੁਸਵੰਤ ਸਿੰਘ, Hindi: खुशवंत सिंह) born on 2 February 1915 in Hadali, British India, now a part of Punjab, 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, Sing
More about Khushwant Singh...

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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.”
“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.” 54 likes
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