Train to Pakistan

by

Khushwant Singh

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Dacoity

An act of armed robbery. A ‘dacoit’ is a member of a gang who commits the act of armed robbery. read analysis of Dacoity

Bhai

“Brother” or “cousin” in Hindi. “Bhaiji” is a similar term of endearment, but it includes the gender-neutral honorific ending “-ji,” which is commonly used in many South Asian languages and dialects to show respect. read analysis of Bhai

Sepoy

A designation for an Indian soldier serving under European orders. read analysis of Sepoy

Charpoy

Traditionally used in India, it is a bed woven with tape or rope, consisting of a wooden frame that looks like a bench. read analysis of Charpoy

Chapatti

Also spelled “chapati,” this is an unleavened flatbread that serves as a staple food in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as well as in parts of East Africa and the Caribbean. Another common… read analysis of Chapatti
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Budmash

A term that refers to a notorious person, a worthless person, a thug, or a person of poor character. The term is also used playfully among friends and family members. read analysis of Budmash

Punkah

A large fan suspended from a ceiling, sometimes run on electricity, which moves back and forth. Traditionally, punkahs can be moved backward and forward by pulling on a cord. read analysis of Punkah

Muezzin

A person appointed by a mosque to lead followers in prayer. The muezzin calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret, or mosque tower, and leads them in worship five times per day. read analysis of Muezzin

Lambardar

A title in India that applies to powerful landowners and members of their families. The title is hereditary and gives its holders wide-ranging powers, including police powers and the ability to collect revenue from tenants. read analysis of Lambardar

Betel

A leaf that is frequently chewed, along with its seeds, like tobacco. The betel nut is the seed of the betel plant, a popular stimulant in southern Asia, particularly in India. It is estimated that… read analysis of Betel

Shikar / Shikari

Sahib

A term meaning “sir” or “master.” It was commonly used in colonial India when natives addressed a European or someone with an official or higher-class status. read analysis of Sahib

Gurdwara

In Punjabi, the term means “doorway to the Guru,” or “house of God.” A gurdwara is a Sikh temple. Like other houses of worship, Sikhs conduct the business of worship in the gurdwara. They also… read analysis of Gurdwara

Nar Admi

A male administrator. “Nar” in Hindi and Punjabi means “male.” The term is used to refer to Hukum Chand, the magistrate for Mano Majra. read analysis of Nar Admi

“Sat Sri Akal”

A common Sikh greeting in Hindi. It roughly means, “Blessed is the person who believes that God is Truth.” read analysis of “Sat Sri Akal”

Babu / Babuji

An honorific title for a man, particularly one who is educated. The inclusion of the suffix “-ji” emphasizes the respect shown to someone with an elevated social status. read analysis of Babu / Babuji

Banian

A title used for someone who is a member of the merchant class. It was sometimes used pejoratively to refer to an Indian trader who worked with a British firm, implying that the person’s loyalties… read analysis of Banian

Toba

“Penance” in Hindi. read analysis of Toba

Mem-sahib

A term used by Indians to refer to a white, upper-class European woman, usually the wife of a colonial official. read analysis of Mem-sahib

Houri

In Muslim faith, a houri is a beautiful young virgin who will serve as a reward for just and faithful men in Paradise, or Heaven. read analysis of Houri

Kirpan

A small, curved sword or dagger traditionally carried by Sikh men. read analysis of Kirpan

Beybey

A term of endearment similar in meaning to “mother” or “aunt” and used by younger people to refer to elder women. read analysis of Beybey

Pathan

Another name for a “Pashtun” or, often, an Afghan. The Pathan people are natives of southern and eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan. They speak Pashto and are usually Sunni Muslims. read analysis of Pathan

Tonga

A small carriage used for transportation in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh that can hold up to four people and is pulled by a single horse or pony. read analysis of Tonga

Hijra

A group that includes both transgender and intersex people. They feature prominently in both Hindu and Muslim history and are characterized by their heavily made-up faces and dazzling saris. As eunuchs, they were the protectors… read analysis of Hijra

The Muslim League

A political party founded in 1906 to protect the rights of Muslims in India. The organization received support from the country’s colonizer, Great Britain, until 1913. In that year, the party began to push for… read analysis of The Muslim League