Gandhi Philosophy Essay

2159 words - 9 pages

THE AGONY OF PARTITION IN ‘TRAIN TO PAKISTAN’ Dr. Seema Singh* Every year on “15th of August” we Indians become witness to an exhilarating experience- ‘The Ecstasy’. The ecstasy of being a free country takes us down the memory lane where we contemplate the India of 1947. But then at once it reverberates of the other side- ‘The Agony’. The agony of partition of our country and the communal riots that erupted was traumatic which left its impression on the society, the politicians and the intellectuals. The trauma of partition stirred the creative genius of Indo- Anglian novelists too and the novels like - ‘Azadi’ by Chaman Nahal and ‘The Rape’ by Raj Gill painted the features of partition. ...view middle of the document...

But in Mano Majra, partition does not yet mean much. Sikhs and Muslims have lived peacefully together until independence, until the summer of 1947. The story begins: “The summer of 1947 was not like other summers. Even the weather had different feel in India that year. It was hotter than usual and drier and dustier. And the summer was longer. No one could remember when the monsoon had

been so late ... People began to say that God was punishing them for their sins.”1 This unusual mood of the summer reflected the riotous mood of the whole of the country. Like a whirlwind, the mad act of partition was uprooting masses of humanity. It was mangling them and throwing them across the border in heap after heap. “The riot had become a rout.”2 The opening lines of the novel actually have a distinct note of premonition that foreshadows the catastrophe which is looming over the tranquil atmosphere of Mano Majra. The village was an oasis of peace in the remote reaches of the frontier. The cool and calm ambience of this peaceful village at once attracts us. It is an isolated, border village on the banks of river Sutlej, with a railway bridge spanning the river. Its exceptional beauty existed in its functional integration. There were about equal number of Sikhs and Muslims and a single Hindu family. Still the law of peaceful co-existence, and not communal strife, prevailed there. The most striking feature of this tiny village is its ‘railway station’. Only two passenger trains stop here - “One from Delhi to Lahore in the morning and the other from Lahore to Delhi in the evening.’3 The life of the village is regulated by these trains which rattle across the nearby river bridge. We are informed that Mano Majra is very conscious of trains: “Before daybreak, the mail train rushes through on its way to Lahore and as it approaches the bridge the driver invariably blows two long blasts of the whistle. In an instant all Mano Majra come awake.”4 The next train at 10.30, a passenger train from Delhi finds all the villagers at work. The midday express passes by when the inhabitants of Mano Majra are at rest. The evening passenger train again finds Mano Majra active and at work—men return home from their farms and women are busy with their daily chores: “When the goods train steams in, they say to each other, ‘There is the goods train.’ It is like saying goodnight.”5 On the eve of the swelling act in Mano Majra high drama is going on, all simultaneously. Action begins with house-breaking and murder of Lala Ram Lal. Jugga, that very moment, is out in the fields with his fiancé, Nooran. The same night Hukum Chand, the Deputy Commissioner of the district, is camping in Mono Majra, philandering with Haseena, a hired prostitute. Murder and romance, both are going on simultaneously just before the arrival of the ‘ghost-train’. “We are of the mysterious East. No proof, just faith. No reason, just. faith.”6 Mano Majra too belonged to this ‘mysterious east’. It was not an...

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