Train to Pakistan

by

Khushwant Singh

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Hukum Chand Character Analysis

The magistrate and deputy commissioner in Mano Majra, sometimes referred to as nar admi. He holds authority over the subinspector and the head constable. Chand, a Hindu of “lower-middle-class origin,” is in his fifties, “corpulent,” and married. He once had children, including a daughter of whom he was fond, but they died. Chand is obsessed by a fear of death and aims to evacuate as many Muslims from Mano Majra as he can to prevent a massacre. After a drunken evening of entertainment, he begins a relationship with Haseena, a teenaged Muslim prostitute. He develops love for Haseena because she is around the same age that his daughter would have been had she lived.

Hukum Chand Quotes in Train to Pakistan

The Train to Pakistan quotes below are all either spoken by Hukum Chand or refer to Hukum Chand. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of Train to Pakistan published in 1956.
2. Kalyug Quotes

He lay down again with his hands over his eyes. Within the dark chambers of his closed eyes, scenes of the day started coming back in panoramic succession. He tried to squash them by pressing his fingers into his eyes. The images only went blacker and redder and then came back. There was a man holding his intestines, with an expression in his eyes which said: “Look what I have got!” There were women and children huddled in a corner, their eyes dilated with horror, their mouths still open as if their shrieks had just then become voiceless … And all the nauseating smell of putrefying flesh, feces and urine.

Related Characters: Hukum Chand
Related Symbols: Railway Bridge
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

It all came from his belief that the only absolute truth was death. The rest—love, ambition, pride, values of all kinds—was to be taken with a pinch of salt. He did so with a clear conscience. Although he accepted gifts and obliged friends when they got into trouble, he was not corrupt. He occasionally joined in parties, arranged for singing and dancing—and sometimes sex—but he was not immoral. What did it really matter in the end? That was the core of Hukum Chand’s philosophy of life, and he lived well.

Related Characters: Hukum Chand, Haseena
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

“Sir, the Babu’s name is Iqbal Singh. He is a Sikh. He has been living in England and had his long hair cut.” The subinspector fixed the head constable with a stare and smiled. “There are many Iqbals. I am talking of a Mohammed Iqbal, you are thinking of Iqbal Singh. Mohammed Iqbal can be a member of the Muslim League.” “I understand, sir,” repeated the head constable, but he had not really understood. He hoped he would catch up with the scheme in due course. “Your orders will be carried out.”

Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hukum Chand Character Timeline in Train to Pakistan

The timeline below shows where the character Hukum Chand appears in Train to Pakistan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Dacoity
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...their waists and white turbans.” An hour later, a large gray American car arrives and Hukum Chand steps out. He has been traveling all morning “and is somewhat tired and stiff.” (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks if there has been any communal trouble in Mano Majra. The subinspector tells him... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand tells the subinspector how the Sikhs retaliated by attacking a Muslim refugee train and sending... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks if there are any rich Muslims in the area. The subinspector says that there... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks about the political situation in the village, and the subinspector says that people are... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
The sound of Hukum Chand ’s car leaving the bungalow wakes him from his nap. He is dressed by the... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand shouts for his servant to bring him whisky. When he walks out, everyone but the... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand compliments Haseena’s singing and encourages her to drink a bit of whisky. The old woman... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand indulges Haseena, but he is not interested in how she feels; he paid for her.... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...are merely doing their job and that he can settle the matter with the magistrate, Hukum Chand . The other officer fumbles to get Iqbal handcuffed. (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
The subinspector goes to Hukum Chand to tell the magistrate about the two arrests. Iqbal is explained to Chand as a... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
When the subinspector goes back to Hukum Chand he says that he is sure that Iqbal is a member of the Muslim League... (full context)
2. Kalyug
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
It has been a difficult day for Hukum Chand , who has been out of the rest house since morning. Chand’s fatigue comes from... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...from before, as well as the old woman and Haseena, step out of the car. Hukum Chand orders his servant to tell the driver to send back the musicians and the old... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
Hukum Chand awakes to a roll of thunder. The monsoon rains have arrived. He thinks about how... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...the tea china and the silver do not disturb Haseena, who continues to sleep soundly. Hukum Chand cannot understand his feelings toward her. He would only sleep with her, he decides, if... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
The subinspector tells Hukum Chand that he sent word to the lambardar, Banta Singh, that no one is allowed near... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand is upset to hear that incoming refugees were allowed to stay instead of proceeding to... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks the subinspector what he is doing about Lala Ram Lal’s murder. The subinspector says... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...subinspector suggests that they release Juggut and Iqbal after capturing Malli and the other robbers. Hukum Chand asks if Malli and his companions are Sikh or Muslim. The subinspector says that they... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand does not concern himself with the morality of his decision; he is a magistrate, not... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks Haseena how long she has been in her profession, which she thinks is a... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks Haseena how she manages to stay in Chundunnugger, given that he heard that Muslims... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks how the hijras were spared. Haseena animatedly tells him the story of how a... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand enjoys the story but says that Haseena should be careful. She says that she is... (full context)
4. Karma
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
At the police station, Hukum Chand is indifferent to news of the plot. He only asks that the subinspector get help... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
...five minutes later, there would not have been a single Muslim left alive. This gets Hukum Chand ’s attention. He asks if there is a single Muslim family left and the subinspector... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
...bridge alive; those who do may not want to return to India in a hurry. Hukum Chand goes pale and asks how the subinspector knows that the refugees from Chundunnugger are going... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Hukum Chand asks if there are any Muslims, particularly “females,” who have refused to leave Mano Majra.... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
The subinspector admits that Hukum Chand must be right and that he has seen Iqbal wearing the steel bangle that all... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
Hukum Chand is no longer feeling the elation that his plan gave him that morning. He feels... (full context)
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Hukum Chand also thinks about his role as magistrate. It does not seem that the government in... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Hukum Chand also thinks of his orderly, Sundari, and how she was not married to Mansa Ram... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Finally, Hukum Chand thinks of Sunder Singh. Singh was a big, brave Sikh who had fought in battles... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
Hukum Chand begins to think about Haseena and asks himself why he allowed her to go back... (full context)