Khushwant Singh’s novel “Train to Pakistan” is the reason he shot to fame. It was written in 1956. Since I had not read this book so I wanted to order one. I normally buy books from Liberty Books, mostly online. It gives me the convenience of ordering books from my home, over the Internet. The book are delivered to my home I make the payment on delivery. So I logged on and searched their website to find the new version of “Train to Pakistan” with pics depicting the partition. The pictures are real and have been snapped by a US photo journalist Margaret Bourke-White who at that time happened to be on an assignment, for Life magazine in this region. The editors have very nicely synchronized the photos with text describing the various scenes. The photos lend a very realistic look to the story and some of them are as really touching, although some of the images may seem disturbing since they show dead people and animals some in advanced stage of decay.
“Train to Pakistan” is the story of a border town village called, “Mano Majra”. The village comprises of Sikhs and Muslims. The former being much affluent while the latter are the working class. There are also some Hindus living in the same village. The main character of the story is a Sikh named Juggut Singh who happens to be in love with a Muslim girl of the same village. Juggut Singh happens to be a vagabond. All three communities are at peace with one another and living happily till one day a train from Pakistan arrives at the nearby railway station, full of dead bodies. That is when the whole story takes a new turn. The village is then divided on religious lines and people once friends since ages become enemies.
The story is very interesting and aptly describes the partition of India-Pakistan and the violence that followed on both sides of the divide. The photos help to convey the message of the story very strongly. A good book that is every penny worth having in one’s collection.