Train to Pakistan


Khushwant Singh

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Themes and Colors
The Partition of India and Religious Warfare Theme Icon
Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity Theme Icon
Power and Corruption Theme Icon
Honor and Heroism  Theme Icon
Gender and Masculinity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Train to Pakistan, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Partition of India and Religious Warfare

Khushwant Singh’s historical novel A Train to Pakistan is set in the fictional town of Mano Majra during the summer of 1947, the year of the infamously bloody Partition of India. Following World War II, Great Britain granted its former colony independence and then divided it into the states of India and Pakistan—an attempt to dispel bitter religious tensions by providing a separate homeland for Indian Muslims. Murderous chaos ensued, however, as millions of Muslims…

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Postcolonial Anxiety and National Identity

A Train to Pakistan details how the Partition of India not only divided the nation geographically, but also demarcated the British colonial era from that of postcolonial independence. In the novel, some characters claim that India was better off under British rule, despite the partition being Britain’s solution, according to the historical record, for stemming the rise of religious strife. Singh depicts India as a place looking to define itself after colonial rule and struggling…

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Power and Corruption

Iqbal Singh and Juggut Singh are two men of different castes who end up sharing a cell together, both imprisoned on the false charge of conspiring to commit the dacoity against the Hindu landowner Lala Ram Lal. Both Iqbal and Juggut are easy targets of the corrupt local police, who have no justification for imprisoning either man and arrest them simply because it is politically expedient and they can. Iqbal represents a threat to…

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Honor and Heroism

Iqbal goes to Mano Majra, a town that he has never visited and where he knows no one, expecting to inspire the villagers to foster political change. With his help, Iqbal imagines that the village peasants will assert stronger political and economic rights. Juggut, on the other hand, regards himself as a budmash—someone who is inherently bad and whose legacy of crime works against him. Regardless, it is ultimately Juggut and not Iqbal…

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Gender and Masculinity

Even as love proves a powerful force within the desperate world of A Train to Pakistan, women in the story are routinely denied autonomy and defined primarily by their relationships to men. At the same time, men in the story are subject to stringent expectations of masculinity that shape their prevalence towards violence. By highlighting the highly-restrictive attitudes that prescribe both male and female behavior throughout the novel, Singh suggests that, in addition to…

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