Train to Pakistan

by

Khushwant Singh

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A Muslim weaver and Nooran’s father, who is described as tall, lean, and bald. He is also blind, serves as the mullah of the local mosque, and is friends with Meet Singh. Imam is often a subject of pity, for his wife and son died “within a few days of each other,” but he is also respected by many. He and Nooran plan to leave Mano Majra for Pakistan, and they are on the train that is the site of an intended massacre plotted by a group of Sikh conspirators. Nooran avoids telling her father that she is pregnant with Juggut’s baby, out of fear that he will either marry her off or murder her.

Imam Baksh Quotes in Train to Pakistan

The Train to Pakistan quotes below are all either spoken by Imam Baksh or refer to Imam Baksh. 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.
1. Dacoity Quotes

Independence meant little or nothing to these people. They did not even realize that it was a step forward and that all they needed to do was to take the next step and turn the make-believe political freedom into a real economic one.

Related Characters: Iqbal Singh, Imam Baksh, Banta Singh
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

“They are a race of four-twenties,” he said vehemently. [Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code defines the offense of cheating.] “Do not believe what they say.” Once again he felt his venom had missed its mark. But the Big Lord’s daughter sitting cross-legged with her eyes shut for the benefit of press photographers, and the Big Lord himself—the handsome, Hindustani-speaking cousin of the King, who loved India like the missionaries—was always too much for Iqbal …. “They would not have spread their domain all over the world if they had been honest. That, however, is irrelevant,” added Iqbal. It was time to change the subject. “What is important is: what is going to happen now?”

Related Characters: Iqbal Singh (speaker), Meet Singh, Imam Baksh, Banta Singh
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

What could he—one little man—do in this enormous impersonal land of four hundred million? Could he stop the killing? Obviously not. Everyone—Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Congressite, Leaguer, Akali, or Communist—was deep in it. It was fatuous to suggest that the bourgeois revolution could be turned into a proletarian one. The stage had not arrived. The proletariat was indifferent to political freedom for Hindustan or Pakistan, except when it could be given political significance like grabbing land by killing an owner who was of a different religious denomination. All that could be done was to divert the kill-and-grab instinct from communal channels and turn it against the propertied class. That was the proletarian revolution the easy way. His party bosses would not see it.

Related Characters: Iqbal Singh, Imam Baksh, Banta Singh
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
2. Kalyug Quotes

The northern horizon, which had turned a bluish gray, showed orange again. The orange turned into copper and then into a luminous russet. Red tongues of flame leaped into the black sky. A soft breeze began to blow toward the village. It brought the smell of burning kerosene, then of wood. And then—a faint acrid smell of searing flesh. The village was stilled in a deathly silence. No one asked anyone else what the odor was. They all knew. They had known it all the time. The answer was implicit in the fact that the train had come from Pakistan.

Related Characters: Imam Baksh, Banta Singh
Related Symbols: Railway Bridge
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:
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Imam Baksh Character Timeline in Train to Pakistan

The timeline below shows where the character Imam Baksh appears in Train to Pakistan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Dacoity
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
Nooran worries that the sound will cause her father, Imam Baksh , to worry and wonder where she is, so she tells Juggut that she must... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
...out about her tryst with Jugga. Jugga insists that she lie to her father—after all, Imam Baksh is nearly blind. He would not notice her silk shirt or the antimony on her... (full context)
2. Kalyug
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
During a meeting in the gurdwara, people are melancholic. Imam Baksh says that they are living in bad times. Meet Singh agrees and says that they... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Two Sikh soldiers, one of whom is an officer, are near the trucks. Imam Baksh greets the officer, who ignores him. When Imam Baksh seeks the officer’s attention again, the... (full context)
3. Mano Majra
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...lambardar is surprised by the question, for, when they met, he remembers Meet Singh and Imam Baksh calling the young man “Iqbal Singh.” (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
The lambardar advises Imam Baksh and the other Muslims to go to a refugee camp until things settle down. He... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Before notifying the other Muslims of what to do, Imam Baksh goes back to his own home. Nooran is already in bed. He wakes her. He... (full context)
4. Karma
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
...Malli. He assumed that Nooran would remain in Mano Majra, for no one would want Imam Baksh to go. He continues to think that Nooran is hiding somewhere or that she would... (full context)