Train to Pakistan


Khushwant Singh

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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 were with the British imperialists and not with the native people.

Banian Quotes in Train to Pakistan

The Train to Pakistan quotes below are all either spoken by Banian or refer to Banian. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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

“Yes, the Englishmen have gone but the rich Indians have taken their place. What have you or your fellow villagers got out of independence? More bread or more clothes? You are in the same handcuffs and fetters which the English put on you. We have to get together and rise. We have nothing to lose but these chains.” Iqbal emphasized the last sentence by raising his hands up to his face and jerking them as if the movement would break the handcuffs.

Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
2. Kalyug Quotes

“Toba, toba! Kill my own village banian? Babuji, who kills a hen which lays eggs? Besides, Ram Lal gave me money to pay lawyers when my father was in jail. I would not act like a bastard.”

“I suppose they will let you off now.”

“The police are the kings of the country. They will let me off when they feel like it. If they want to keep me in, they will trump up a case of keeping a spear without a license or going out of the village without permission—or just anything.”

Related Characters: Juggut Singh / Jugga (speaker), Iqbal Singh (speaker), Alam Singh, Lala Ram Lal, Malli
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
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Banian Term Timeline in Train to Pakistan

The timeline below shows where the term Banian appears in Train to Pakistan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. Kalyug
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
...asks if Jugga killed Ram Lal, which Jugga denies, for Ram Lal was the town banian and lent him money once to pay lawyers while Alam Singh was in jail. Iqbal... (full context)
4. Karma
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
...boy leader sneers at the mention of the government, which he says consists of “cowardly banian moneylenders,” and encourages them to engage in their own killing—two Muslims for each Hindu or... (full context)