Train to Pakistan

by

Khushwant Singh

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A rather simple-minded police officer who arrests Iqbal Singh and Juggut Singh. To cover the police’s error in arresting these suspects, the subinspector orders him to frame Iqbal for involvement in the dacoity of Lala Ram Lal and to mischaracterize the political activist as a Muslim working for the Muslim League.

The Head Constable Quotes in Train to Pakistan

The Train to Pakistan quotes below are all either spoken by The Head Constable or refer to The Head Constable . 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

“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:
3. Mano Majra Quotes

Muslims sat and moped in their houses. Rumors of atrocities committed by Sikhs on Muslims in Patiala, Ambala and Kapurthala, which they had heard and dismissed, came back to their minds. They had heard of gentlewomen having their veils taken off, being stripped and marched down crowded streets to be raped in the marketplace … They had heard of mosques being desecrated by the slaughter of pigs on the premises, and of copies of the holy Koran being torn up by infidels. Quite suddenly every Sikh in Mano Majra became a stranger with an evil intent … For the first time, the name Pakistan came to mean something to them—a haven of refuge where there were no Sikhs.

Related Symbols: Railway Bridge
Page Number: 120-121
Explanation and Analysis:

The Sikhs were sullen and angry. “Never trust a Mussulman,” they said. The last Guru had warned them that Muslims had no loyalties. He was right. All through the Muslim period of Indian history, sons had imprisoned or killed their own fathers and brothers had blinded brothers to get the throne. And what had they done to the Sikhs? Executed two of their Gurus, assassinated another and butchered his infant children; hundreds of thousands had been put to the sword for no other offense than refusing to accept Islam; their temples had been desecrated by the slaughter of kine; the holy Granth had been torn to bits. And Muslims were never ones to respect women. Sikh refugees had told of women jumping into wells and burning themselves rather than fall into the hands of Muslims. Those who did not commit suicide were paraded naked in the streets, raped in public, and then murdered. Now a trainload of Sikhs massacred by Muslims had been cremated in Mano Majra.

Related Symbols: Railway Bridge
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Head Constable Character Timeline in Train to Pakistan

The timeline below shows where the character The Head Constable 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
...to the subinspector, the subinspector recognizes Iqbal from the train station the day before. The head constable feigns ignorance and says that he does not remember seeing Iqbal. He insists that he... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...attempt to fob off responsibility for the arrest. He asks for Iqbal’s full name. The head constable goes to Iqbal to ask. The head constable reports that Iqbal is educated, which makes... (full context)
2. Kalyug
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...as he can to the police station and file a report about Malli’s arrest. The head constable has experience, but the foolish arrests of Iqbal and Juggut make the subinspector less confident... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
The subinspector arrives at the police station and asks the present officers if the head constable has returned. One of them confirms that he has. He brought in Malli and his... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...a decision which puzzles the constable. He then sends the constable to see if the head constable has finished his tea. The head constable enters the reporting room with a smug expression,... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
The subinspector also tells the head constable to ask if anyone knows what “the Muslim Leaguer Iqbal” was doing in Mano Majra... (full context)
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...his companions and attach them to one long chain attached to a constable’s belt. The head constable then leads them away. As he leaves his cell, Malli mocks Jugga and his companions... (full context)
3. Mano Majra
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...ghost train brought corpses, a “brooding silence” falls onto the village. People are frightened. The head constable arrives and releases Malli and his gang in front of the villagers, as instructed. As... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
The head constable speaks privately to the lambardar, Banta Singh, who then addresses the crowd, asking if anyone... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Before the head constable leaves with his subordinate constables, Meet Singh goes to him and says that Iqbal Singh... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
The head constable ’s visit divides the town. Muslims worry about the rumors of “gentlewomen having their veils... (full context)
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
...the dacoity and explains how Malli plotted to frame Juggut. The priest also questions the head constable ’s distracting mention of Sultana. Another youth acknowledges that Meet Singh may have a point. (full context)