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Train to Pakistan

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  22,922 ratings  ·  1,607 reviews
“In the summer of 1947, when the creation of the state of Pakistan was formally announced, ten million people—Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs—were in flight. By the time the monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead, and all of northern India was in arms, in terror, or in hiding. The only remaining oases of peace were a scatter of little villages lost in the remote re ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published February 11th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1956)
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Kirti It was definitely Jugga. The man who cut the rope is described to be a "big" man and Iqbal was anything but big. Earlier in the book Iqbal is describe…moreIt was definitely Jugga. The man who cut the rope is described to be a "big" man and Iqbal was anything but big. Earlier in the book Iqbal is described to be "small and somewhat effeminate".(less)
Tamoghna Biswas I feel it's more of a general comment than a question. Yes the story isn't exactly new if you consider the writings of the same genre by many other au…moreI feel it's more of a general comment than a question. Yes the story isn't exactly new if you consider the writings of the same genre by many other authors at that time, but personally speaking, Singh's storytelling is totally of a different level. I haven't read all other relevant works, if course; but you know an exceptional work when you read one.(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Srinivas
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Apoorva
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The story takes place in an isolated village Mano Majra where people from different religions like Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims co-exist in peace. The village stands as a symbol of ignorance and peace until the harmony is threatened by an incident which raises suspicion, chaos, and animosity that ensues from the rift created among different communities.

The story is told from the point of view of three major characters: Jagga, an infamous robber, Hukum Chand, a magistrate who’s responsi
...more
Em Lost In Books
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Em Lost In Books by: Hajarath Prasad Abburu
India has not changed much even after 70 years of independence when it comes to religion. it's sad and heart-breaking. :(
Jenna
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenna by: Tamoghna Biswas
Once again, Goodreads proves to be the perfect place to find books. Train to Pakistan is a book I probably would never have learned about, or considered reading if I did, had it not been for a friend's review of this classic novel.

It is set during India's Partition, in a small, fictional village. For hundreds of years, Sikhs and Muslims have lived together peacefully. 

We witness on a small scale the inter-religious hatred and violence that tore apart India in the 1940s. 

When reading about histor
...more
Rachel
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Samra Yusuf
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
It is interesting to read historical novels where history is written as fiction.
Here is a novel that tries to record a memorable phase of Indian history through fictional route but the essence is hardly lost in the process.....
We come to know a village at brink of Sutlej that is littered with equal majority of Sikhs and Muslims living together since a long past ago.That is the time of partition, the summer of 1947. Muslims leave India and their exodus to Pakistan is not free from human suffering
...more
Yamna
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
14 August and 15 August- Independence Day of two extremely opposite yet completely alike countries, once a single entity, now torn brothers

I am the offspring of blood and pain.
I am the wind heavy with the stench of fear on the eve of 14 August 1947. I am the screams of protest, I am the fury that binds me to this soil, every night, every year.
I am the worthless sacrifices that blended into the earth so well, you walk those same paths and you never see the shadows of the bones hovering over
...more
Aishu Rehman
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Train to Pakistan is a superb book on many levels. It is a documentary of Punjab, its people, its culture. Its a narrative of the gruesome events that burned northern India in 1947. It is a story of the cultural, political, and intellectual atmosphere of India at the time. And it succeeds BRILLIANTLY. It brings the reader into the picture so vividly, its rather disturbing. If the reader is a product of the society the athor writes about, or is intimately familiar with it, and possesses any amou ...more
Paul Bryant
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, india
3 June 1947 – Viceroy Mountbatten announces the plan for the Partition of India into two independent states. Independence Day for the new countries will be 14 and 15 August.

Journalist : Do you foresee any mass transfer of population?

Viceroy Mountbatten : Personally, I don’t see it.

Why did Jinnah and Nehru accede to such an insane, precipitous, huggermugger plan?

The truth is that we were tired men and we were getting on in years…the plan for partition offered a way out and we took it. – Nehru i
...more
Elsa Rajan Pradhananga
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The darkest period in Indian history coincided with the time India attained independence, because communal violence that broke out as a result of the partition of the country. Those on the wrong side of the Radcliffe line paid the price as rioters abducted, tortured, raped, killed and looted. Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan is a novel set in a fictional town Mano Majra where Muslims and Sikhs coexisted in peace, unaware of India's independence or partition.

When a train full of corpses arriv
...more
Tamoghna Biswas
Pretext: I don't feel the story deserves anything less than 5, but disturbing, or rather unsettling as it is, I can't just simply recommend it to everyone. And that's the only cons. I felt.

Before we were even introduced to the subject of history, we knew 1947 as the year India gained independence.

Later, much later we came to know that that was also the year of Partition.

Quite some time after that we came to know of these books (from elder ones), and our parents allowed us to read them even later
...more
Jibran
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
The book is based during the summer of 1947 while the whole country was shaken with the woes of partition & the riots between the Sikhs and Muslims residing at Manoj Majra, a simple village where peace used to prevail amongst the said communities.
The main protagonist, Juggut Singh, was notorious in the whole village as a gangster whose days fleeted between the jail, his humble home & the fields where in the name of work or laze used to secretly meet his love.
*This relationship itself is a threat
...more
Saimah
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Pooja Dhami
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With pellucid prose bound to tug the strings of your heart, Khushwant Singh brings to life an India that had just gained Independence. Men stepped out with swords, shielding themselves with religious scriptures, slashing through the good and the bad. Reason took a back seat when men, driven by faith, wiped out entire villages. The despondent waited for death disguised as an old friend, a neighbor or a priest from the house of God. The intellectual ensconced to safety when it dawned upon them tha ...more
Debbie
Aug 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: My GR friend, Tamoghna Biswas
The setting is 1947 in an Indian village during Partition. This is a story about greed, anger, helplessness, hatred, discrimination, betrayal, but in the end (without giving too much away), love conquers all!
I found the line "... criminals are not born. They are made by hunger, want and injustice," to be quite profound!
As an aside, Khushwant Singh's description of a monsoon - its lead-up and intensity - as extremely descriptive.

Thank you, Tamoghna, for recommending this book! It was very illumin
...more
W
Sep 24, 2019 added it
Shelves: indian-fiction
This is a highly acclaimed book on partition riots and it's a pretty short book.But it totally bored me,the pace is too slow and the writing style didn't do anything for me.

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
Zaki
This novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Not only the narration, also the way Khushwant Singh moved the story is impressive. In just 200 pages, he has covered almost all the cultural aspects of the partition. If you have to read one small but comprehensive book on the partition, 'Train to Pakistan' is for you. But if you want a lengthy but equally engrossing novel, you can go for 'This is not That Dawn'.

Khushwant Singh is a master of cultural history. In the novel, he gives the intricate
...more
Michael
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Vartika
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Partition is undoubtedly the deepest, darkest, bloodiest wound in the collective memory of South Asia, one that displaced over 14 million people, killed 2 million, and suspended a hithertho harmonious subcontinent into mutual suspicion and hatred that permeates till this day.

I was 11 when I first read this book — too young, and bred too far from the horrors it speaks of, to fully understand. Yet, like every child on either side of the Radcliffe Line, I had grown up — and continued to grow u
...more
Asha Seth
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian-lit, 2016


When I finished reading Train to Pakistan, I asked myself what was I thinking while I planned on reading this one. It surely is not what meets the eye at mere synopsis glance. It also isn’t what one would think of – a post-war scenario. No. It is a clear picture. One can see the country being torn apart, shredding humanity to pieces, leaving behind hearts that would bleed for years to come. First published in 1956, the book bore the horrendous memories of the holocaust that were still fresh in e
...more
Sumit Singla
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Hesamul Haque
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Train to Pakistan is simple yet gripping and thought-provoking novel. Even though it is a fictional work, I feel there can be no doubt of stories like this to be a reality. The story is at the time of the partition of India and Pakistan but the book is far from throwing light on political disturbances, instead, it's about social understanding among the people living in a particular place. One of the three main characters, Hukum Chand, an alcoholic is drowned under the guilt of not being useful. ...more
Pranjali
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
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",
...more
Gorab Jain
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indian, z2016, buddy-reads
Brilliant!
Tear jerking horror, which unfortunately is based on real events in a fictional town.
"The doer must do only when the receiver is ready to receive. Otherwise, the act is wasted."
This is so apt. Wasted this book last decade, re-read it now... and this time it was so intense that I'm updating the rating to 5!

"Ethics, which should be the kernel of a religious code, has been carefully removed."
Thought provoking stuff on how religious zealots can churn hatred even from years of love and bond
...more
Claire
There are so many tragic stories surrounding partition, thousands that will never be told because there is no one left to tell them. It was a moment in history that showed what happens to humanity when fear and panic really take hold and its devastating.

I'm glad this wasn't written this century, when books and films are so much more visceral and confrontational with their message, written in 1956, .

Khushwant Singh takes the Punjabi farming village of Mano Majra, a small village on the border bet
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“ 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
...more
Kabir Kaur
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it

The book is a classic and requires little introduction. Khushwant Singh’s writing is a delight and this one’s the first book I ever read from the writer. Although I had read some of his works in my school textbooks, never had I read any of his books.
This book is about the partition of Pakistan from India. There is no doubt that the event is the deadliest and the most gruesome chapter in chronicles of India and the topic is a personal one to me. I have grown up listening to stories of trauma an
...more
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Khushwant Singh, (Punjabi: ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ਵੰਤ ਸਿੰਘ, Hindi: खुशवंत सिंह) born on 2 February 1915 in Hadali, Undivided India, (now a part of 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, Singh
...more

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November is the time for aspiring writers to get serious about writing that book! It's National Novel Writing Month, the annual event designed to...
11 likes · 0 comments
“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.”
168 likes
“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.” 89 likes
More quotes…