Train to Pakistan is one of the earliest short yet powerful novels to capture the horrors of the Indian Partition in 1947. The story evolves in a peaceful town named Mano Majra, where the brotherhood of two major communities is replaced by hatred overnight triggered by the communal violence that erupted with the partition of India and Pakistan on religious basis. In between all this chaos, a magistrate who saves hundreds of people by preventing attack on a train filled with refugees, a badmash but morally good one who falls in love with a girl of opposite religion who sacrifices his life to provide safe passage for the train and an atheist comrade morally good who fails to even attempt to prevent a massacre are the central characters of the plot.
What I loved about this book in particular are the characters which are fictitious but the scenario remains a hardcore reality, an age where few heroes remained heroes, many innocents becomes victim of religious hate and communal violence with its impacts continuing to date. This masterpiece also portrays that the true test of one’s character is only in tough times through the two lead characters of the novel. Khushwant Singh has done a brilliant job in painting a clear picture of the socio-economic, political, physical and emotional atmosphere of these troubled times.
Overall a great read probably the most magical book providing details of the newly independent nations torn apart by communal forces. Highly recommended.