There’s something rebellious and surprising about reading controversial and banned books. Isn’t it? The books that make into big controversies signify that they have some thought provoking and unusual content, which will challenge your thoughts and emotions. Getting a chance to read such books is good luck.
I happened to pick an Indian classic that is often prefixed with ‘one of the most controversial novels’ by the author. It’s based on the time of India-Pakistan division which acted as the creamy topping on a delicious desert. The book is Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh.
About the book Train To Pakistan
The back of the book talks about a small village situated at the Indian- Pakistan border. The people of this village, Mano Majra, have stayed in harmony until now. But now they’re going to face a war-like situation. This happens due to the arrival of a ghost train.
The central theme of the book is, of course, to highlight a side of India-Pakistan partition but the book is filled with entertaining content to entice the reader.
Review of the Train To Pakistan
It’s the first book I have read by the author, and now I know, why people say that he’s an excellent writer. His writing is so good. It’s gripping, intriguing, energetic and entertaining. Laced with great story telling abilities, the way author has delivered this story is so good. It’s such a simple but well-delivered story.
There are several characters in the book. There is Jugga, a Sikh badmash and his love interest Nooran, a Muslim girl. The book talks about their love. There is a strange visitor whose religion is unknown and whose jargon makes you curious about him. There is a magistrate who seems to be smart, but you still keep wondering about what role he is going to play in the book. There are Sikhs and Muslims who act as two different communities in the village, and you can never forget how they are important together. Then there is a murder that brings suspense in the story. And then usual killings and riot-like situations which we all know happened during the partition. Don’t worry! I didn’t give any spoilers.
All the characters invoke the intended emotions in you. Some confuse you. Some disgust you. Some make you feel pity. Some make you feel anger.
Considering how small this book is and how many plots and characters are going on in the book, I think it requires talent to write this book so well. I am saying it at the time when Indian writers are forcefully making their books long while this author managed to deliver such a big story in almost 200 pages.
The plot is full of twists and the way the plot brings out the characters is so good. I wouldn’t say the plot was so original and exceptionally good, but the way it was delivered has kind of made me stop from saying anything negative about the plot and how the book is. It’s an amazing book. It’s a quick read and would get you feel good for you picked up such a book.
I also liked how the author has sarcastically delivered his view point about Indian-Pakistan partition. Some sections of the book are just heart wrenching.
I didn’t like the ending much. I felt it was abrupt. Though the author has tried to give a good finish to it, while leaving the reader with some suspense and some imagination to do, I still felt I needed a couple of pages more to be finally finished with the story.
I would recommend you this book. It’s great. It must be read. The subject makes you think of how bad it was then, and how bad it was made because of some “leaders.” It has that entertaining factor to make you enjoy the book. A good plot, a good set of characters and an excellent writing style. Go read it!