‘Train to Pakistan’ is a novel by Khushwant Singh. It is set in 1947, during the partition of India. It highlights the confusion surrounding the abrupt division, the bloodbath it led to, and the injustice it caused to many. It also has strong underpinnings for religious discrimination and the nature of theocracy in general. It also highlights the highhandedness, recklessness and cluelessness with which the police system works. It has covered in detail the malady of lust and the issue of child trafficking. The book has also covered the themes of love and loneliness.
Its vehicle of narrative is a train that moves across the hitherto undefined border, and with it, brings the blood-soaked dead bodies. The writing style is quite evocative. It’s hard not to feel the emotions that the writer wants to bring forth. The sense of loss, the violent nature of man, and the irrationality of possessions are palpable throughout.
The book also doesn’t fall short on sensitizing us on the redundancy of revenge. It gives us a glimpse of how taking the high road among chaos could elevate us, and could help in not aggravating the situation further, if not ending it altogether.
Keeping the ending open-ended is perhaps one of its biggest strengths.
Indeed, this book is worth reading; not to mention unputdownable. It has packed a punch in as few pages as possible. It could as well have been titled ‘The Art of Brevity’.