The partition literature
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh gives a painful description
LITERATURE BY DR. FAROOQ AHMAD PEER
INDIAN novel writing in English is a living and evolving literary genre. It is richer in content, wider and variegated in range. Before Independence, their subject matter was inescapably political but after Independence a clear shift has been marked in their focus and one can easily find that human relationships, social issues, gender equations and other important issues like futility of existence, alienation, Diaspora and psychosomatic issues have become the main concerns of the novelists.
Not only in the history of India but also in the history of the world, the Partition of India has been documented as the most lethal incidence, the entire humanity has ever witnessed. Indubitably, the partition loiters as an unforgettable event, not only for its political significance in the emergence of the Sovereignties of India and Pakistan, but also for its lasting impact of monstrosity and horrific emotional duress. The people, who had never been out of their confined parishes for ages together, were suddenly coerced to choose a country. It is believed that history books on the incident of partition do not record lively and passionately the pain, trauma and sufferings of those who had to part from their kith and kin, friends and neighbours, the deepening nostalgia for places of those who had lived in for generations, the anguish of those devotees who got removed from their places of worship and the harrowing experiences of those countless people who boarded trains thinking they would be transported to the realization of their dreams but of whom not a man, woman or child survived the journey. But if we go through the literature written on the tragedy of partition particularly in the form of novel, one can find that the issues before and after partition have been discoursed in a such a manner that one feels with that unfortunate lot of people who passed though the trauma of the partition. The novelists, who have dealt with this tragic incident, simultaneously have attempted to explore other issues pertaining to human destiny touching the universal problems which are larger than the bloody bath of the partition.
Khuswant Singh was the first Indian novelist in English to write about the horror and holocaust of partition with great artistic concern in the Train to Pakistan. It is not partition which becomes symbolic of the attraction and attention in the novel but certainly, the bitterness and sympathy in the novelist’s attitude, and the strange impression that he was simultaneously inside the action as a participant and outside it as a dispassionate observer. It is therefore, surprising that the Train to Pakistan is both a grim and pathetic tale of individuals and communities caught in the swirl of partition. The novel in fact implies that the disintegration of Mano Majra and its harmony is not the collapse of a nation but it is the breakdown and falling apart of the mankind. The novel remains a remarkable study in objectivity because the novelist does not act in a partisan way. He blames neither the Hindus nor the Muslims for the tragic happening and is firm to believe that the partition is not partition of territory but it is partition of hearts and souls of the people.
Conclusively, not only the Train to Pakistan but also all the novels written on the partition present a realistic show of the tribulations the people underwent on account of the violence let loose by a spurt of sudden communal occurrences. The novelists feel that politics was responsible for human slaughter from all sides and any particular side could not be made responsible for ugly and repugnant series of events. Their approach in the novels has remained objective in the sense that all have tried to expose human nature and its capability of perpetrating cruelty and barbarism on its own creed. Certainly, the novels prove that the traumatic experiences of the partition have shaken their writers to roots and made them restive to give vent to their indignation at the terrible holocaust which claimed a huge loss of innocent human lives.
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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