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Train to Pakistan Paperback – February 11, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 181 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (February 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780802132215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802132215
  • ASIN: 0802132219
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

It is a place, Khushwant Singh goes on to tell us at the beginning of this classic novel, where Sikhs and Muslims have lived together in peace for hundreds of years. Then one day, at the end of the summer, the 'ghost train' arrives, a silent, incredible funeral train loaded with the bodies of thousands of refuges, bringing the village its first taste of the horrors of the civil war. Train to Pakistan is the story of this isolated village that is plunged into the abyss of religious hate. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endures and transcends the ravages of war.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Khushwant Singh is India s best-known writer and columnist. He has been founder editor of Yojana, and editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times. He is also the author of several books which include the novels Train to Pakistan, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, Delhi, The Company of Women and Burial at Sea; the classic two-volume A History of the Sikhs; and a number of translations and non-fiction books on Sikh religion and culture, Delhi, nature, current affairs and Urdu poetry. His autobiography, Truth, Love and a Little Malice, was published in 2002. Khushwant Singh was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974, but returned the decoration in 1984 in protest against the storming of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Mr. Singh's power of story telling is amazing.
Sekhar Banerjee
Singh suggests that the men of good conscience who try to make even token attempts to bring this insanity to a halt are few and far between.
Martin Asiner
You will never want to stop reading this book.
A. Vinayak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The summer of the Partition of India in 1947 marked a season of bloodshed that stunned and horrified those living through the nightmare. Entire families were forced to abandon their land for resettlement to Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Once that fateful line was drawn in the sand, the threat of destruction became a reality of stunning proportions. Travelers clogged the roads on carts, on foot, but mostly on trains, where they perched precariously on the roofs, clung to the sides, wherever grasping fingers could find purchase. Muslim turned against Hindu, Hindu against Muslim, in their frantic effort to escape the encroaching massacre. But the violence followed the refugees. The farther from the cities they ran, the more the indiscriminate killing infected the countryside, only to collide again and again in a futile attempt to reach safety. Almost ten million people were assigned for relocation and by the end of this bloody chapter, nearly a million were slain. A particular brutality overtook the frenzied mobs, driven frantic by rage and fear. Women were raped before the anguished eyes of their husbands, entire families robbed, dismembered, murdered and thrown aside like garbage until the streets were cluttered with human carnage.
The trains kept running. For many remote villages the supply trains were part of the clockwork of daily life, until even those over-burdened trains, off-schedule, pulled into the stations, silent, no lights or signs of humanity, their fateful cargo quiet as the grave. At first the villagers of tiny Mano Majra were unconcerned, complacent in their cooperative lifestyle, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and quasi-Christian.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jundla on December 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
The first work by an Indian author that I ever read, 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 amount of intellectual spark, this book is an absolute must read. How much it'll mean to you if you are not familiar with the culture of Punjab, I don't know.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Martin Asiner on November 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ethnic conflict has been a staple of cross-cultural contact for as long as more than one race and religion have tried to co-exist. In the border between Pakistan and India, the theme of revenge killing calling for ever more revenge killing has found a clear voice in TRAIN TO PAKISTAN by Khushwant Singh. Nearly everyone in the novel is flawed to some degree with the effects and aftereffects of ethnic cleansing. There is no clear cut hero although a criminal named Jugga comes closest. Jugga is a Sikh thief who happens to take a Moslem woman as a lover. Their illicit relation is a microcosm of all that is terribly wrong when the cut of a person's beard counts more than the content of his soul. Jugga is far from an angel, but he slowly grows in stature from the baseness of his profession to one who is forced to contemplate the consequences of his own role in the ongoing cycle of killing between Sikh and Moslem. He is used as a pawn in the Sikh's killing of innocent Moslems, and his choice is the same that all men of revived conscience have had to face in similar such times: should he participate willingly even eagerly in the proposed slaughter of a train of deported Moslems shipped unceremoniously to Pakistan or should he speak out against the insanity that is insane only to him? The various flaws of all the characters of the novel--their vicious caste system, their willingness to demonize other races, their unwillingness to question even the most fundamental elements of their dogma--all stem from the cycle of killing that did not begin with the trainload of Sikh corpses that entered the sleepy town of Mano Majra in India.Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
To get some insight on the people behind the muslim-sikh-hindu troubles in India and Pakistan, this is a must-read. It is a brilliant story told in a way that gives the reader an excellent inside on the human factor during the time of the separation and liberation of India and Pakistan. A stranger, a non-religious muslim who has spent most of his life in England, a modern thinker, comes to a small village on what was to be the border between Pakistan and India. In this village, sikhs and muslims live in peace. But in the world around them, the troubles start. In this small village, hell soon breaks loose. In the centre of it all is a young couple from different religions, whos fate together is made impossible from this sudden outbust of sectarianism on both sides. It's a marvellous book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Edward M. Strauss III on November 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by two retired U.S. Foreign Service officers who had served in the subcontinent. I had asked them for advice on background reading about India and Pakistan. It turned out to be one of the best books I've ever read; I can't think of a more dramatic ending. It also sheds light on recent events in other corners of the globe (former Yugoslavia, Rwanda). The only difficulty Western readers (like me) might encounter is the frequent use of local language; in future editions, a glossary of terms, and real-life names, might be helpful. But this didn't diminish the book's awesome power and universality.
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