Train to Pakistan


Khushwant Singh

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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 of harems during the Mughal Empire. Currently, they dance in temples and on the streets, often begging for rupees in traffic. Out of a commonly-held superstitious belief that hijras have the power to bestow powerful blessings or curses, Indians frequently give them money in return for a blessing. The failure to give alms could, some believe, result in a curse.

Hijra Quotes in Train to Pakistan

The Train to Pakistan quotes below are all either spoken by Hijra or refer to Hijra. 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.
4. Karma Quotes

“Well, if the village is not dead, then it should be. It should be drowned in a palmful of water. It consists of eunuchs,” said the visitor fiercely with a flourish of his hand … The leader had an aggressive bossy manner. He was a boy in his teens with a little beard which was glued to his chin with brilliantine. He was small in size, slight of build and altogether somewhat effeminate ….] He looked as if his mother had dressed him up as an American cowboy … It was obvious to the villagers that he was an educated city-dweller. Such men always assumed a superior air when talking to peasants. They had no regard for age or status.

Related Characters: Boy Leader (speaker), Meet Singh, Banta Singh
Page Number: 147-148
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hijra Term Timeline in Train to Pakistan

The timeline below shows where the term Hijra appears in Train to Pakistan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. Kalyug
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
...Chand asks if there are any other Muslims in the community, she says that the hijras remain, but they, too, do not fall into any particular category. Talking about the hijras... (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 child was born to... (full context)