PORTRAYAL OF PARTITION BY BAPSI SIDHWA AND KHUSHWANT SINGH: A COMPARATIVE STUDY
Mr. Amjad Khan
Degree of BS English
Department of English
Faculty of Arts and Humanities,
Declaration of Academic Integrity by the Student
I confirm that the information I have given in this term paper is correct. I am aware that the
University defines plagiarism as presenting someone else’s work as your. Work
means any intellectual output, and typically includes text, data, images, sound, or
I promise that in the attached submission I have not presented anyone else’s work as
my and I have not colluded with others in the preparation of this work. Where I have
taken advantage of the work of others, I have given full acknowledgement. I have read and
understood the University’s published rules on plagiarism and anymore detailed rules
specified at the department / University level. I know that if I commit plagiarism I can be
expelled from the University and my term paper can be liable to the cancellation of myadmission / term paper. Also, it is my responsibility to be aware of the University’s
regulations on plagiarism and their importance.
I re-confirm my consent to the University copying and distributing any or all of mywork in any form and using a third party to monitor breaches of regulations, to verify
whether my work contains plagiarized material, and for quality assurance purposes.
Dedicated to My Beloved Parents, Late Brother (Main Ansir Ali Shah)
& Respected Teachers who are the Nation Builders
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate all praise be to Allah,
the Lord of the worlds, and prayers and peace be upon Muhammad (SAW), His servant and
messenger. I would like to thank my research supervisor Mr. Amjad Khan whose continuous
guidance, feedback, advice, and encouragements have been truly exceptional. I would also
like to thank him for him patience and friendly approach, which contributed to compiling
Partition of the sub-continent in 1947 has been highlighted by many Indians and Pakistani English language writers. Partition changed the map of the sub-continent and affected the lives of millions of people. Both the countries are still under its shadows. The present study aims to investigate the portryal of partition by two different English language authors from India and Pakistan, Khushwant Singh and Bapsi Sidhwa in their novels, with the same objective of highlighting their respective perspective on Partition mainly in Train to Pakistan and Cracking India respectively. Both the writers have witnessed the events themselves and tried to depict the real sufferings and terror of conflict of people during the days of Partition in their novels. Both the writers have described the same theme of partition in their novels. The present study discusses the similarities and dissimilarities in the treatment of the same theme.
Table of contents
Background of the study
Statement of the problem
Significance of the study
Delimitation of the study
Review of literature
3 Research methodology
3.1 Research paradigm
3.2 Design of the study
3.3 data c633ect56n
3.4 data analysis
4 Discussions and analysis
is a Pakistani novelist born on August 11, 1938 to a Gujarati Parsi Zoroastrian family, but later moved to Lahore with her parents. At the age of two she was polio (which has affected her whole life). She was nine years old in 1947 at the time of partition. She received her BA from Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore in 1957. Her most important works include ‘Their Language of Love’ (2013), ‘Jungle Wala Sahib’ (2012), ‘City of Sin and Splendour ‘ (2006), ‘Water’ (2006), ‘Bapsi Sidhwa Omnibus’, (2001), ‘An American Brat’ (1993), ‘Ice Candy Man’ (1988), ‘ The Bride’ (1990), ‘The Crow Eaters’ (1982).
Khushwant Singh is a Sikh Indian writer and was born on 15 August (1915) In Punjab. He was an Indian author, diplomat, lawyer, politician and journalist. He was educated in New Delhi and did his Law from St.Stephen’s College and King’s College London. His experience in Partition of India inspired him to write the famous novel ‘Train to Pakistan’. His other important works include, ‘I shall Not Hear the Nightingale’ (1959), ‘The Company of Women’, (1999), ‘The Sunset Club’ (2010). He died on 20 March 2014 at his Delhi based residence, at the age of 98.
Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel Cracking India deals with partition of Indian Subcontinent and it’s chainreactions. In this novel Bapsi Sidhwa describes the fate of people of Lahore. The novel opens with Allama Iqbal famous poem, ‘Complaint to God’. The character Lenny is introduced as a child narrator. She is disable and helpless. She knows that her movement is limited between Jail Road and Warris Road. Lenny lives on Warris Road. Through the child narrator Lenny, the novelist describes about different localities in Lahore. Lenny witnesses: “I feel distress for such mousy people I imagine sneaking behind the wall”. Lenny is egotist and she is fascinated in her personal world.
One day, Lenny is in her carriage and absorbed in her dreams as usual. Her Ayah is present with her that suddenly an Englishman joins them and asks Ayah to put Lenny baby down from her stroller. But Ayah explains him about Lenny’s sickness. Lenny is very sharp and has keen vision and notices everything, she has observed how people are attracted to Hindu Ayah charming body. She observes how even the vagabonds, old people, young men and holy men admire her for her ladylike grace.
Colonel Bharucha is a surgeon and he is Lenny’s doctor. Lenny is brought to hospital for treatment of her limped leg. Lenny cries out of pain but her mother takes care of her. The news of her surgery spread in whole Parsee community of Lahore, she has so many visitors but she cries for her Godmother. After one month, Lenny feels good and recovers well. She is allowed to go outside her home, her Ayah takes her to the zoo. Ice Candy man is among Lenny’s Ayah named as Santa admirers. She has another companion named as electric aunt, a widow. Lenny also picks up a brother and his name is Adi but she calls him as Sissy. He goes to school while she studies at home because of her sickness. In winters Ice Candy man changes himself into a birdman and is seen with birds in the streets of Lahore and grabs money from rich ladies to free the birds. He is a person with blabbermouth and can debate on any topic.
One day, the whole Parsee community gathers in the Community hall in Parsee Temple. After a long session of discussion and questions all the members agree to observe and see the middle path. They will not support the Indian Nationalists and to oppose the Raj. They fail to come out from the plight.
Santa takes care of Lenny like an elder sister and her mother too loves her a lot. A portion of Lenny’s house is lent to a Hindu couple Giga and Shankar. Gita is a good story teller and is popular with children. The readers are now introduced to Hari the gardener and Imam Din the cook of Lenny’s home. Imam Din is sixtyfive years old, “he is tall, big-bellied, barrel-cheated and robust”. One day, he takes Lenny to his village on a bicycle, on the way she observes everything. There she meets with a child Ranna and his two sisters Praveen and Khatija. This is the village named where all the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh lives peacefully and happily. The villagers use to sit beneath the huge Sheeham tree and discuss the situation of other cities like Bihar and Bengal. They feel disturbed over the Hindu, Muslim strife. The villagers however consider the British raj to be responsible for the inactivity in the path of communal disorder. The Chaudry of the village Pir Pindo promise the villagers complete security in case of any harsh time. Lenny returns to Lahore with Imam Din.
Lenny’s Ayah has so many lovers including a Pathan and the Chinaman, she is praised by all of them because of her ladylike beauty. They are strongly attracted to her, and in order to talk to her they visit Lenny’s house daily. Lenny does not go to school like her cousin Adi due to her sickness, that’s why she visit Mrs.Pen house for learning. Mrs.Pen house is on Jail Road next to her Godmother house whereas Lenny’s Godmother house is opposite to her. Lenny is always followed by her Ayah, after tuition she always spends some time with her Godmother. One day Lenny goes with her mother to see a political leader Gandhi Jed, being a child she thinks of him as a mystic figure because he blesses them and advises all but to her he to be ‘ half clown and half demon’.
In Lahore it’s April, month and the weather is becoming temperate day by day. Ice Candy Man discover his business is flourishing well. Now everyone is clear about the fact that India is going to be shattered down. The Muslims majority party named as Muslim League is in favour of Pakistan. Lenny’s cook Imam Din is very upset over the communal disorder thus he plans a visit to his home village, Pir Pindo when Lenny hears this this also insists to go with him. On Baisakhi Lenny goes with Imam Din and his friend Dost Mohammad to Dora Tel Singh near the village, where the attends the meal and enjoy the festival. Muslim trucks arrive to Pir Pindo in order to take the Muslim refugees to secure places, but mentally all the villagers are unable left their sweet homes, property and harvests all of a sudden. In the meantime Mr.Roggers the Inspector General of Police is found dead in the gutters. This news threatens the hearts of all the people of Lahore, the children including Lenny discovers it to be an astonishing incident. Ice Candy man is worried over the riots in all the areas, people starts migrating to secure places and the riots begins to occupy every corner.
The communal turmoil gradually reaches from towns to small villages including Pir Pindo and the Sikh and Muslim become blood enemies of one another. Everyone in Lahore hurries to migrate to secure destinations. The Sikh and Hindu community leave their houses behind and moves to Amritsar. All India Radio announces the great division of India and Pakistan. Although the Parsee community is secure bur they are still worried about their future. The Muslim mobs attack Hindu houses, one such group attack Lenny’s house in search of Hindu Ayah Santa. Ice Candy man is also with them and they ask Imam Din about her but he refuses her presence and gives a fake news of her departure to Amritsar, Ice Candy man does not believe him and asks little Lenny, she replies out of innocence that she is hiding inside but nothing can be done now because they drag her out and maltreat her. Lenny then really repents her truthfulness. She learns that sometimes a single truth can destroy someone’s whole life. Ice Candy man becomes a hustler and takes the poor Ayah to Hira Mandy, the bazaar of prostitutes. His mother also belongs to that place and he himself is fond of poetry.
In Pir Pindo the Sikh mob attack the Muslim houses, no one is safe even Imam Din family is in trouble but he ca do nothing, there is terror everywhere. Muslims in Pir Pindo face blood baths, men were killed, women were raped and small children were slaughtered out of mercy. Lenny’s playmate little Ranna is also in trouble, he lost his whole family and is buried beneath the dead bodies in order to be safe he run here and there in search for life but at last find himself alone the great world. In Pir Pindo it was decided to gather all the girls and women of the village at Chaudry’s house and sprinkle kerosene over their bodies to burn themselves. It was also planned to hide some boys and men in secure places but nothing worked and everyone was under the curse of this fire. Men killed, women maltreated and kids were slaughtered. Danna finds shelter in Muslim refugee camp in Lahore he notices, “It’s funny. As long as I had to look out for myself, I was okay, as soon as I felt secure, I fainted”. Ranna faced a lot of hardships before reaching camp, “There were so many ugly and homeless children like him, roaming in the robbed houses and the debris of burnt out buildings.” His dirty clothes were sticking to his painful injuries, straw sticking in his dirty hairs, running in the streets and stealing chapatties and food from looted houses full with deadbodies of people, ripping the corpses for anything he could use, no one minded the semi-naked spectre, as he consciously peeped inside the looted , with his wide-opened peasant eyes”. When he was in the camp at Badami Baug wandering here and there, his fortune reunited him with his relatives, Noni Chachi and Iqbal Chacha.
From the time of Ayah abduction Lenny remained sad and lonely, badly missing her Ayah. She is shocked over the deception of Ayah’s lover Ice Candy Man. She discovers him to be a completely changed person. Ice Candy man personality completely changed from the day when he saw his Muslim fellows maltreated bodies. Lenny continuously repents herself for telling the truth and blames herself for Ayah’s trouble. She is driven by guilt: “For three days I stand infront of the mirror, staring at my tongue. I hold the vile, truth-infected thing between my lips and try to wretch it out: but slippery and slick as a fish it slips from my finders and mocks with it’s sharp rapier tip scooting as poisonous as a snake. I punish it with brutal siting from my sharp toothbrush until it is sore and bleeding.” This painful act shows how much she was feeling guilty. Even Lenny does not attend her friend Pappp’s marriage, she feels sad and lonely without her Ayah. By now Lenny is grown mature both physically and mentally.
Godmother is a authoritative women, she really love Lenny and has spying agents in whole Lahore thus he has all information. Oneday, Lenny cousin Adi sees Yah in a taxi dressed very beautifully like an actress. A few days later Lenny herself sees her Ina car and tells everyone about her and starts searching for her. She then visits to Godmother house and informs her abut Ayah, she says that Ayah husband in coming home in evening, she can not wait to see him. At about six o’clock Ayah husband arrives Godmother house and it was none other but Ice Candy man now dressed Ina white muslin. He greets everyone with her poetic verses. He tells them that she has married him and accepted by the dancing family. Godmother is extremely angry at him and scolds him for mistreating Ayah and let her be maltreated by men. But he confesses: I am a man! Only dogs are faithful! If you want faith, let her marry a dog”. Godmother reacts angrily by saying: You have permitted your wife to be humiliated! Destroyed her virtue! Lived off her womanhood! And you talk of princes and poets! You are the son of pig and procurer!”. Ice Candy man gets touched by all this starts crying and promise that now he will keep her happy by all means. Lenny is listening to their conversation and is extremely angry at him that she says:” There is a suffocating burst within my head and eyes. A blinding blow of pity and disappointment and a barbaric bitterness. My sight is disoriented. I see Ice Candy man float away in a bubble and decay to a grey blot in the after reactions of the blast.
Ice Candy Man stands there with Jinnah cap in his hand and is extremely sorry over his behaviour with Ayah. Repentance, grief and shock are visible on his face. He has changed Aryan’s name to Mumtaz, Godmother plans a visit to Hira Mandi to meet her, Lenny also insists to go with her. They reache in a Tonga there. Ice Candy Man greets them in a well decorated room and brings his Mumtaz before them in a beautiful bridal dress. Lenny being attached to her notices the sadness in her eyes. Lenny notices:” Where have the brightness and liveliness gone? Can the soul be detached from it’s living body? Her empty eyes are bigger than ever: wide-opened with all the sufferings… She buries her head in me and buries me in all her finery, and the strong and musky fragrance of her perfume”.
Ice Candy man went outside to bring tea for the guests, in that time Ayah begs Godmother that she is not happy over here and she wants to go back to her relatives to Amritsar. Godmother promise her that she will take care of her.
Lenny’s cousin Ari asks her about Kotha that what is it and her impression of it. She tells him that Kotha is a place of dancing girls.now Lenny also understands that: “The powerful created produced within the Kotha that has metamorphosed Ice Candy Man not only into a Mughal courtier , but into a bazari poet. No wonder he founds poetry as if he popped out of his mother’s womb uttering poetic sentences”.
Godmother after visiting Kotha informs the government missionary, the police troop then comes to Mandi and takes away Ayah from Ice Candy man. Ayah is placed in a secure camp at Warris road, where she is completely safe. Now Ice Candy man is resenting and is missing Ayah. He daily visits the camp and keeps flowers on the camp wall for her and sings aloud in her memory but all useless. And sometimes badly beaten up by the guards of the camp.
One day Lenny, discovers that Ahab has moved to Amritsar with her relatives. To show his love Ice Candy Man follows her till the wagah border into India and Pakistan. The novel ends on this sad and heart touching love story. It’s a great historical novel which depicts the political issues of the time through the eyes of a little girl Lenny.
Train to Pakistan is an agonizing story of the subcontinent divided by religious and political differences. The story take place in the summer of 1947 which is considered as one of the bloodiest times in history of subcontinent. Twenty million people including Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs spread across the new border between India and Pakistan. Northern India is in chaos whereas the village Mano Majra is at peace for now. A small area with only three brick-buildings; a Gurdwara where Meet Singh lives as it’s resident Bhai, a mosque led by a weaver Imam Baksh and a Mullah and the home of the Hindu money, ender Lala Ram Lal because of all this Mano Majra becomes the place of prominent dacoity, which results in Ram Lal’s death. While looting Ram Lal’s house the looters pass by Juggat Singh’s house, a former robber, the most unlikely man in the village also known as ‘Jugga’.
Partition of Indian Sub-continent is one of the most terrible events in the history of the sub-continent. The sub-continent got freedom in 1947 along with its vivisection on the communal basis which leaves us puzzled weather the year 1947 should be remembered for the independence or for the massacre and atrocities during involuntary migration of huge masses of people for their existence.
“Urvashi Butali” move her readers by describing partition in the following words:
“The political partition of India caused one of the great human convulsions of history twelve million people moved between the new, truncated India and the two wings, East and West, the newly created Pakistan. Estimates of the dead vary from 200,000 to two million but that somewhere around a million people died is now widely accepted, 75,000 women are thought to have been abducted and raped by men of Religion different from their own (and indeed sometimes by men of their own Religion.)” (Butalia 3 ).
1.1STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
War has been fought between countries for centuries and affected millions of people. A comparative study between Cracking India and Train to Pakistan has an aim of highlighting the sufferings of Indians and Muslims during partition. The main significance of comparing two novels written from different perspectives about the same issue, is to give neutral view to the world.
1. To explore the comparison mainly between, ‘Ice Candy Man’ and ‘Train To Pakistan’ for the portrayal of the different aspects of partition by the two writers in these novels.
2. To fill gaps and unjustified assertion in the previous writers interpretations.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
1. Why did we have partition?
2. How the partition of India happened and why its effects are still felt today?
1.4 Significance of the study:The partition of India is a more horrible incident in the history of Indian Sub-continent and it was the most significant issue or moment in South Asian history. Because this event significantly changed the map of the Indian sub-continent and its efforts are still being experienced even after 70 years of Independence and so the partition keeping in view the above stated significance the present study deals with the following objectives.
1.5 Delimitation Of The Study:
This study will be limited to the text of the novels “Train to Pakistan” and “Cracking india” by Khushwant Singh and Bapsi Sidhwa respectively. And in the text of these novels the data will be narrowed down to the topics and passages in which partition has taken place and in these passages of the text under study the sufferings of the people of sub-continent during the days of Partition will be highlighted. It will help in understanding of the problems of Hindu and Muslim communities and their sufferings, and how their lives were affected because of partition. The study will bring readers attention to various human dimensions which bring to the event a sense of reality, horror and believability.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW:
“Umar Ud Din, M kamal Khan and Shahzad Mahmood” research scholars wrote an article on “Reflections on Partition Literature , A comparative study of ‘Ice Candy Man’ and ‘Train to Pakistan’ (2015,july 31) The article gives a clear picture of partition tragedy. This article becomes powerful because of the keywords. The scholars used dramatic words to analyze the partition situation. They give references of partition, short stories and partition poems used. They commonly use the word like separation, communal violence, abduction, bloodshed, etc in artistic language.
“Social and Psychological Trauma of the Displaced: A Study of Partition of India ” by Shukhbir Singh and Manmohan Singh Gill is an article is based on the psychological conditions and social situations of the people of partition. In this article the scholar study the issues faced by people belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities at the time of partition. To show the real trauma scholar used some key elements like partition, refugee, displacement, communal violence, conflict, migration, war etc which directly influences readers way of thinking. Both the scholars were successful in creating new boundaries of thinking and trauma of the displaced. So I have choose this article as review of literature.
“Analysing Partition : Definition, Classification and Explanation ” by Brendan O’Leary is an article closely related to partition topic. This article is based on definition of partition, it’s classification, explanation of partition in cultural, geographical, historical, religious manner and political language. In this article the scholar specifically discloses the theme of partition in different perspectives. He gives authentic refrences to to explain partition and its actual meaning in proper words.
Babudeb Chakraborti has written an article on “The Essentials of Indianness: Tolerance and Sacrifice in India Partition fiction in English and in English Translation.” The writer explores Hindu culture and civilization in this article. The scholar also focused on Hindu religion from time immemorial inspires men and women to follow the principal of tolerance and sacrifice. He also shows the richness of Hindu civilization with given examples of Vedanta and Brahm societies. He also give examples of prominent personalities of India. He also describes that each and every community shows tolerance and sacrifice in the time of partition.
The article written by Saikat Banerjee named as “The four phases in Khushwant Singh novel Train to Pakistan.” In this article he has divided the novel systematically into four parts which helps to understand the central theme of partition. The scholar becomes successful to explain those four sections. It also helps in understanding colour of border of India and Pakistan. He also explains the circumstances of partition in novel Train to Pakistan. To depict this trauma he has used key words like communal suspicion, hatred, tension, mysterious way on his paper. The scholar fully describes the panic scenes with refrences. He also quotes paragraphs from the original text. Thus this paper is related with the research topic.
Dorothy Mcmenamin has written an article “Anglo-India Experiences during Partition and Its Impact upon their Lives”. This paper deals with painful memories, sufferings and explanation about partition. This article deals with the investigation about the rise of communal violence. The scholar deals with the historical background with all the panic sufferings of the people of partition. He also throws light on the political pill of the Hindu community leaders and the muslim community leader during partition days. The article also highlights the role of British in Partition of the Indian sub-continent. The use of words like communal violence, revenge, killings, blood, policies, politics, blooded bodies etc make a special effect on readers mind and portrays the real picture of that time. Such a detailed explanation of partition shows close resemblance with my topic.
The theme of violence play a great role in Partition Literature. In “The partition of India and Retributive Genocide in the Punjab (1946-47): Means, Methods and Purposes” by Paul R. Brass based on this theme. In this paper the scholar shows women slaughter scenes, religious madness, sexual harassment etc in a beautiful way. The writer also shows the political role of British Raj and Hindu, Muslim leaders. Through the map, writer shows exact location of infected areas of partition. Thus this article is related to the research topic.
Jill Didur article named as “Cracking the Nation: Minorities, Gender and Agency in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking India”. This article is largely based on Partition of India and shows human madness, silliness, foolishness throughout this article. The scholar studied deeply Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel “Cracking india” to focus on main issues faced by Gender and Minorities at the time of partition. This article mainly focus on communities struggles. He tries to show the survival series of women and children in bloody situations. And this experience happens everyday, every time at every place with everyone. For this purpose the scholar used specific terms such as abducted, illicit love, victims, rape, sexuality etc. The writer is fully successful in describing the Crackingness of humanity. So this paper is very helpful for me in research work.
Dr. Prabha Parmar wrote an article “Historical elements in Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan.” As the very title of this article suggests that it is fully based on historical elements of partition. She chooses to study Khushwant Singh fiction “Train to Pakistan” and become successful to depict the Ghost hours of partition. She studied writer history of literary works. To explain the points clearly she uses important quotations from the book. She also shows horror of crime at that time through this paper. And that is the central theme of the research work, so I selected this as review.
“Suicide and the Partition of India: a Need for Further Investigation” is an article written by David Lester (22nd February 2010). This article is in the form of an essay which deals with the unanswered questions of investigation. In this article the scholar studied the cases of suicide in India and Pakistan in 1947. In this article the scholar depicts the issues of Hindu and Muslim communities.
“Manju Kapur’s Difficult Daughter” is an article by “Dr.Annie John” (Indian Streams Research Journal Vol.1, February 2011). It deals with women issues how it affects their life. The scholar shows physical and mental encounter of women during partition. It also shows the fearful and unsafely minds of women. It shows the full bloody dark side of partition. The scholar directly attacks on the leaders through this article. The article deals elements such as illicit relations, struggle of women, condition of society, anger and tension etc. These elements are related to my topic.
In ‘Salman Rushdie’s’ novel, “Midnight’s Children”,(1981) it is the recasting of tragedy of partition and its aftermath. The novel is full of whirlwind of disasters which shows the actual picture of independence. The narrator perfectly crafted partition in various perspectives. ‘Anita Desai’s’ novel “A Clear Light Of Day” (1980). This novel tells not only the story of separation but also tangible realities of violence about partition. The novel expose tension, silence, fair about the partition of family as well as nation. The narrator shows depression, sadness , conflict, difficulties of women during partition of nation. ‘Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines'(1988) is another partition fiction which shows the deep picture of partition. But it shows the partition of Bengal which is a part of Indian Sub-continent. In this book the author narrates the cycle of sorrow. The author narrates tragic scenes, violence, victims and separation, etc in his works.
Another partition fiction by ‘Chman Nahal’, ‘Azadi’ (12 June 2001). This book depicts straightforward account of partition. In this book the author describes Punjabi language and culture. Nahal shows the cruelty as well as humanity on both sides. The novel quite attractive due to its title, which means partition. The narrative also brings forth the political decision at the time of partition and independence. The narrative also describes the tragedies of human slaughtering and destruction. The novel also focuses on the clash of communities, loss of life, wealth and material. In this way the novel shows the theme of partition.
3.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:
3.1 RESEARCH PARADIGM:
According to the nature of the study that involves data exploration for Questions, Qualitative Research method is followed. The study is based on the close analysis of the text novel from partition i-e (violence, conflicts, depression, separation, abduction).
3.2 DESIGN OF THE STUDY:
The study is based on the comparative analysis of partition of sub-continent and its aftermaths by the two novelists.
3.3 DATA COLLECTION:
The primary source of this data includes the texts i-e ‘Ice Candy Man’ and ‘Train to Pakistan’. And the secondary sources are drawn from different historians, articles, and research works related to the given area of study.
3.5 DATA ANALYSIS:
The study is Qualitative in nature and is analyzed from the perspective of different writers and authors. Portrayal of partition and the particular focus is on the novels ‘Ice Candy Man’ and ‘Train to Pakistan’ by ‘Bapsi Sidhwa’ and ‘Khushwant Singh’.
Discussion and analysis
‘Train to Pakistan’ (1956) is a novel wherein Khshwant Singh tells the tragedies of the Partition of India and Pakistan realistically. In fact the Partition touched the whole country and Singh attempts to look at the tragic and terrible events from the perspective of people of Mano Majra, a small village in Punjab, India. Ice Candy Man (1991) is also a novel which depicts the conflicts that were evolved in sub-continent during the days of Partition and their most damaging effects on the sub-continent. Here the story has been told from a Parsee’s point of view. Khushwant Singh is an Indian writer writing in English whereas Bapsi Sidhwa is a Pakistani writer. However both the novels share the same theme both witnessed the partition themselves and tried to depict the terror of the conflict and hardships of people during the days of Partition in their novels. ”Train to Pakistan” and ”Ice Candy Man”, both the novels are set in the year 1947. However all the action narrated in the novel ”Train to Pakistan” takes place in a small village in Punjab, India, whereas, actions narrated in ”Cracking India” takes place in Lahore, Pakistan. Former is an Indian Sub-continental view of Partition and later expresses Pakistani view of Partition. Khushwant Singh raises the curtain by giving description of the summer 1947 and what happens during these days. Khushwant Singh uses the technique of third person narration in order to maintain objectivity and create a live picture before the readers eyes to witness it. By using this technique the writer gives authenticity to the narration of the story. The writer begins the novel by not favouring any religion, cast, political party instead highlighting the misfortune of the sub-continent and its people. The description here seems to be like of a hostory book. During these days the Hindus and Muslims laid blame on each other. ” Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to Hindus, the Muslims were to blame.” (Singh 1) However the writer objectively states, “The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped. ( Singh 1)
However in Cracking India the writer uses the technique of first person narration to narrate the heart touching story of partition. In this book a polio stricken Parsee child living in Lahore named as Lenny narrates the story of the issues and conflicts of partition. Lenny being a Parsee child roams freely without any fear through Hindu, Sikh and Muslim society in Lahore. Being disable she is receiving private schooling she was present everywhere to capture and witness events and incidents and report them to the readers. The writer use of first person narration technique through an innocent child makes the description more authentic. The character of Lenny in the novel reflects the author herself which shows the autobiographical element in the novel. The writer gives an argument to that their is truth in her story by saying that Lenny’s tongue was truth inflected, ” I am tempted to tell her the truth…My wretched truth inflected tongue just in time.”(Sidhwa 239)
Both the novels that there were coexistence and harmony among the the people of sub-continent though belonging to different religious sects in rural areas before partition. The fire of partition started from cities and slowly moved to small villages. Both the novelists presents the picture of pre-partition days of coexistence and harmony in novels and lead the readers to witness the conflicts that happened.
As portrayed in Cracking India the Muslims and Sikhs live in peace and harmony and are unconscious of their religious identities. They shares each other joys and concerns. They consider their non religious friends children as their own. Love and affection pervade in the atmosphere.
Khushwant Singh like Sidhwa in his novel Train to Pakistan also shows that all the varied communities live in equal peace and harmony before politics of partition shatters it. At Mano Majra in India the day begins with Muslim prayer leader facing West towards Mecca and calling Allah-o- Akbar to the believers . This is followed by the Sikh priest’s prayers. (6) Similarly the day at Mano Majra ends with Imam calling the Faithfull to prayers with, ” God is Great.” Then the Sikh priest lead the evening prayers at the Sikhs temple. Singh portrays the peacefull coexistence and harmony at religious, cultural and social levels among the two major communities of India before partition (6)
The fact that Sikh priest waits for his turn and allows the Muslim to finish his call for prayers indicates the harmonious atmosphere that was present among distinct communities.
The description in both the novels is sometimes light and sometimes gloomy. The love making episode of Juggat Singh and Nooran in the novel Train to Pakistan makes the description light after the horrible depiction of robbery and Lala Ram Lal’s murder. In the same manner Sidhwa’s novel becomes light and pleasant by allowing Lenny to praise her brother Asi for almost two pages. The description of pre- partition only have light tone in both novels.
Bapsi Sidhwa in her novel praises Jinnah and criticises the personalities and characters of Gandhi and Nehru. She defends Jinnah who demanded a separate homeland but was criticised held responsible for partition of Indian Sub-continent. She does this with the help of dialogues of various characters in the novel and the narrator of the story Lenny who can be assumed as the writer herself.
Bapsi Sidhwa shows Jinnah saying,
“You are free. You are free to go to your temples, your mosque or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of state…etc…Pakistan Zindabad”(Sidhwa 144).
On the other hand she has negatively portrayed the character of Gandhi in her novel. She has depicted the character of Gandhiji talking only about enema. She presented Gandhiji announcing, ”an enema a day keeps the doctor away” (Sidhwa 87). The narrator has been shown by the author wondering in following words, “I am puzzled why he’s so famous.”(Sidhwa 87).further Ice Candy Man expresses his doubt be in the policy role of British characters. He also expresses his doubt for Nehru and his relationship with Mount batten and his wife.
“Nehru, he’s a shy one… he’s got Mount batten eating out of his one hand and English’s wife out of his other what- not…he’s the one to watch! Nehru wills walk off. With the lion’s share…” (Sidhwa 131).
Both the writers attempt to show the people belonging to rural areas have no knowledge of partition or even freedom. They are not interested in the politics of sub-continent. However bad characters like Ice Candy Man in Sidhwa’s novel and Mali in Khushwant’s novel make wrong use of partition issues and create problems for others. Villagers in bother the novels have mutual feelings for one another and they don’t want to migrate. They expect cooperation from police and government in such violent situation. The description of unwilling migration of people makes people fell as if they were themselves departing from their mother land such a description fills the readers eyes with tears. This description also includes the arrival of the Ghost train, funeral ceremony of dead bodies with kerosene and wood , burial of the dead bodies, evacuation of the villages and many more in Train to Pakistan and burning Lahore and evacuation of Pir Pindo, Rana’s story and many more in Cracking India.
Sidhwa’s portryal of violence claims that partition is impartial and objective.she considers both communities responsible for it. On the other hand Khushwant in his novel focuses the details of the violence executed by Muslims against Sikhs. On the surface Singh equally blames Muslims and Sikhs for murders and killings. (3) He further states that the riots are started in the Muslims majority areas and the Sikhs kill only in retaliation. Singh being a Sikh writer admit to Sikh cruelty against the Muslims but argue that it’s only revenge for what the the Muslims did to them. He also gives the detailed account of the cruelty and crimes commited by Muslims against the Sikhs. In Train to Pakistan, through a police Sub- inspector , Singh gives a description of the bloodshed going on in Punjab. The sub- inspector is angry with government in Delhi for trying to protect the Muslims and Muslim refugees (20)
The Hindus deputy Commissioner especially recalls, Sundari, the daughter of his orderly. She had been married only four days and both her arms were covered with red lacquer bangles and the henna on her arms was still a deep vermilion. Her husband was taking her to Gujranwala whe he worked as a peon. Sundari was gang raped by Muslims (154)
Singh comes up with another incident which accounts for such violence by Muslims against Sikhs. He shows that the train carrying the Sikhs is held up at a station for four days. The Sikh children cry for water, but there is no water for them. Singh shows that the father of the children gives them his own urine to drink and then in desperation kill them along along with his wife and shots himself dead (155)
Sidhwa in her novel rises above Pakistani Ideology and perspective on Partition. She suggests that the celebrations and festivities marking the birth of the new nation are low and short lived as is the case with the birthday of Lenny, which coincides with the creation of Pakistan (141) The birthday party of Lenny is celebrated with used and borrowed items, without true enthusiasm, the card-board cake box is “dented” and the cake itself is ” squashed” (141). This shows that she does not present Pakistani perspective as claimed by some of her disclaimers. She has her own independent perspective, and she sticks to it.
Khushwant Singh in Train to Pakistan does not throw light on the role and conduct of the British. However Sidhwa highlights the controversial role played by the British during partition in her novel Cracking India. She shows how Radcliffe Commission members were dealing out Indian cities between the two countries like a pack of cards.she is extremely conscious of the lack of seriousness on the part of the British Raj, while undertaking and supervising partition. She blames British for siding with Hindus and Congress. She shows how Muslims were deprived of their due share in lands and assets because of India and British. On the other hand Singh could not grow out of the impact of colonialist Ideology, like Sidhwa he never rejects the colonialist Ideology in his novel.
Sidhwa wants her readers to know how millions of people who were victims of partition pay a terrible price for freedom. This is very important and symbolic. She presents a continuous picture of human sufferings and miseries before her readers. Sidhwa in Cracking India depicts the great migration in human history as a result and price of partition. She is not happy from the result of this population exchange, Lahore is stripped off its diversity and variety in addition to the emotional space created by this process (175). Singh in his novel also depicts such migration followed by partition. He also describes the sufferings and miseries of hindus moving to India and Muslims coming to Pakistan.
Sidhwa shows yet another price of partition in the form of train massacres. She depicts how the terrific train massacres in Partition affected the dwellers in Punjab. The muslim protagonist in Cracking India is expecting relatives from Gurdaspur, instead he meets with mutilated bodies and bags full of breasts cut off from Muslim women (149).
Both the writers objectives is the realistic portryal of partition in their novels. However elements of love, sex and romance are interwoven in the story of partition. Khushwant Singh shows real love between Juggat Singh and Nooran, people love for their homelands, religion, Iqbal love for glory, fellow villagers etc. He also describes the love making episodes between Hokam Chand and the prostitute girl and between Juggat Singh and Nooran. Whereas Bapsi Sidhwa describes love for Religion, love for land (Ice Candy Man and there people), love for power (Tara Singh) and love for human beings (Parsee’s role), Sufiyana love ( Ice Candy Man in the form of Fakir) and an unconditional love between Lenny and God mother and Lenny’s love for her cousin.
With all these similarities and dissimilarities Khushwant Singh Train to Pakistan and Bapsi Sidhwa Cracking India portrays a realistic picture of partition trauma and misfortune of the sub-continent. Train to Pakistan is and Indian Sub-continent view of Partition whereas Cracking India is a Pakistani view of Partition. However both the writers are equally capable of arousing reader’s sensibility towards the most cruel incidents of partition and the issues created by the unwilling migrations in 1947
1. Butalia Urvashi .(1998).The other side of silence : voices from the partition of India .New Delhi, India Penguin Books India (P) Ltd.
2. Sidhwa, B. (1991) Ice-Candy Man, United States: Milkweed Editions.
3. Singh, K. (1956) Train to Pakistan, India: Chatto and Windus.