The Symbolic Portrayal of Trains as seen in Kushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan

Monisha. S


In Kushwant Singh’s novel Train to Pakistan (1956) symbols are discrete but it provides multiple perceptions to the readers. The article aims to portray train as a symbol in multifarious outlook.  Indian trains have been associated with the titanic destruction during the freedom and partition in 1947. Khushwant Singh’s typical partition novel Train to Pakistan, projects the reminiscent images of the “ghost train” during Partition. The trains in the novel reach their termini filled with victims of the bloody partition and communal violence that transformed mass of Hindus and Sikhs to India and Muslims to Pakistan. The episodes of violence with train and loads of dead bodies become the omen outbreak of horrible violence and terrific bloodshed evoking the reminiscence of partition of India also in the novel. The trains have been migrating millions of Muslims and Hindus during the Partition of India in 1947. Indian trains like the Samjhauta Express mired the peace of two nations attacked at Deewana and the Sabarmati Express set ablaze in the killing of the Hindu activists at Godhara led to the Gujarat communal riots in 2002, have a dark History of being associated with acts of communal violence. Thus trains play a vital role in the history of partition and Singh realistically portrays how ‘the train’ is an absolute almanac and time-guide for the people of Mano Majra.

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