"Train to Pakistan" Summary of The Book: The Partition in history is a record of a point in time when the country was split apart along religious lines. It is an abstract piece of history for most people. While many books have documented the Partition and the violence surrounding it, most have focused on the social and political causes, and analyzed it as a collection of abstract data. Train To Pakistan is one of the books that focuses on the human drama, the real suffering of the people caught in the middle. Mano Majra is a village that suddenly becomes part of a border between two countries. The population of the village is predominantly Sikh and Muslim. When news of communal riots and killings reach the village, the different communities express their support for each other and swear to defend one another. However, external influences are just waiting around the corner to disturb this idyllic harmony. A train filled with the massacred bodies of Hindus and Sikhs arrives at Mano Majra. Slowly, passions gets stoked up, especially by the influx of refugees from the newly created Pakistan. They have tales of horror to tell, and the passions of Sikhs and Hindus of the village are stirred up. Vested interests, including that of the village magistrate’s, stir up the flames. Hindus and Sikhs who just recently swore to stand by their Muslim neighbors now turn against them. Caught in all this are Juggut Singh and Iqbal. Juggut is a criminal, while Iqbal is a western educated intellectual who is on a mission to reform society. The common thread that binds them together is that they are both thrown into jail as suspects in a murder. Ram Lal, a local moneylender, has been murdered. Ram Lal was a Hindu and this is used by subversive elements to incite violence against Muslims. The police, in a desperate attempt to divert attention, arrest Iqbal and Juggut. Meanwhile, as the violence escalates, a train arrives to take the Muslim population of the village en masse to Pakistan. But the rioters have no intention of letting the Muslims leave in peace.
Khushwant Singh (born Khushal Singh, 2 February 1915 – 20 March 2014) was an Indian novelist, lawyer, journalist and politician. Born and raised in Hadali, Punjab (now in Pakistan), he studied law at St. Stephen's College, Delhi, and King's College London. After working as a lawyer in Lahore Court for eight years, he joined the Indian Foreign Service upon the Independence of India from British Empire in 1947. He was appointed journalist in the All India Radio in 1951, and then moved to the Department of Mass Communications of UNESCO at Paris in 1956. These last two careers encouraged him to pursue a literary career. As a writer, he was best known for his trenchant secularism, humour, sarcasm and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioral characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. Between 1980-1986 he served as Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. Khushwant Singh was decorated with the Padma Bhushan in 1974. But he returned the award in 1984 in protest against Operation Blue Star in which the Indian Army raided Amritsar. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.