Azadi is the best of the Indian-English novels written about the traumatic partition which accompanied Indian Independence in The English Queens breaks new ground by using the comic mode to treat a problem which has concerned all Indians—the tendency of the educated elite in India to ape the West. But the crisis seems to be too minor to warrant the heavy philosophical treatment, with the hero realizing at the end of the novel that all earthly manifestations are but faces of Krishna, and they are all his "true faces. It is a straightforward account of a rich Hindu grain merchant and his family. The novel begins in mid with the people of Sialkot now in Pakistan hearing the announcement regarding partition, but they refuse to believe that they now have to move.

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There was mixed kind of reaction among the Indian politicians regarding the bifurcation of India. With the partition of country two major provinces Punjab and Bengal wee also divided on the basis of religion. This partition based on religion created hatred and enmity between different religious groups. The tension was intensified among the three major religious communities, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Sikhs. The unrestrained inter-communal hatred and enmity gave birth of communal riots in many parts of India.

The Punjab province was swept away by a terrible fit of brutal aggressions, attacks, killings, torture, mass rape, abduction, burning of villages and localities and so on. People from both the sides from various religions started to cross the border in order to get shelter in the newly created countries. But their migration was not safe anyway; they faced a number of attacks in the course of the journey.

Trains were regularly assaulted and reached their destination, on the both side of the line, charged with corpses even most of the bodies were disfigured. Those who could not have access to trains, plains, boats or road transport, they moved in huge human columns and were victim of repeated raids.

More than ten million people crossed the border from both sides; millions of people brutally killed and thousands of women were raped and abducted from both sides. The misery, loss, displacement, suffering that was experienced by the people of that time did not go unrecorded. Various writers have tried to pen down their experiences in the form of novel; short stories etc. Every writer has his Ideology behind his writing whatever it may be.

This ideology reflects on his or her works. In the same way here also all the partition novelist has a kind of intension behind his or her novel on the basis of their own ideology. There are writers who have written novels with the theme of partition in order to share their own experiences regarding partition. Again there are writers; the cause behind their writing is to create a sense of brotherhood, love, tolerance for one another by showing their protagonist as embodiment of those things.

But there are some writers who by their writing, by depicting suffering violence, rape and injustice against a particular community, which has helped a lot to increase hatred and enmity against another community. Here my intention is to analyze these two novels to find out what was the authors intention behind the writing of Azadi and Train to Pakistan.

What was in the mind of those two writers while writing these two novels? To find out what the message the writers wanted to convey by their writing. Chaman Nahal has written eight novels and Azadi is one of the famous novels of them which deal with the theme of partition and Gandhian ideology.

With life-like description Nahal presented a comprehensive vision of life, demonstrating the havoc that partition played on the people of the country both at the social as well as individual level. The novel discusses the realistic historical records of the horrible incidents caused by the partition through literary perspective.

As we know Chaman Nahal himself was the victim of partition, a refugee and he faced off bitter experiences throughout the journey across the border. Therefore he has written his own experience through the character of Lala Kashiram and his son Arun. Therefore some critic insisted upon the decision that the novel Azadi is a kind of autobiographical novel.

The novel Azadi begins with the place Sialkot, now in Pakistan. According to the writer, in Sialkot where Muslims are in majority, Muslims Hindus and Sikhs were living peacefully before partition. But it got disturbed when Lord Mountbatten declared the creation of India and Pakistan.

A kind of fear, hatred, and enmity increased among the people of Sialkot and for first time riot broke out there. Chaman Nahal, with the character of Lala Kashiram discusses various aspects regarding the British involvement in dividing India. He has a dual attitude toward the British. He admires them for their qualities on the other hand he criticizes them for their fault. He praises them for bringing safety and peace to the country.

He also praises the British for controlling power. From the depiction of various characters and their view on partition we come to know that the writer was not happy with the decision of partition that is taken by the then politician. Various characters of the novel speak against the very idea of partition such as Lala Kashiram, his son Arun, Choudhury Barkat Ali, his son Munir and so on.

Nahal also shows the pain of separation of the loved one due to partition. Only because of partition many lovers lost their beloveds or left them in another side of border as the case of Arun and Nur in Azadi. Many friends were befriended because of partition as we can see in Azadi between Choudhury Barkat Ali and Lala Kashiram. Nahal also depicted the situation of the refugees those who left their motherland for India.

The writer tries to inform us that the people who crossed the border, they all did not get the minimum facilities that they expected from the government.

Even this matter was raised to Mahatma Gandhi by some angry refugee young man; he did not pay attention much but said he has deep sympathy with them. The novel Train to Pakistan is written by Khushwant Singh, is one of the most well known among the partition novels. Though both the novels Azadi and Train to Pakistan deals with the theme of partition but there are some differences regarding various aspects like depiction of violence, the discussion of national politics, the sense of brotherhood and unity, sacrifice etc.

The Train to Pakistan is set in Mano Majra, a little village very close to freshly drawn border between Indian and Pakistan. The whole Mano Majra was living in peace while the violence, rape, murders were outbroken in the sub-continent.

Everybody was sympathetic toward others. But when refugees started coming from newlu formed Pakistan, the situation gets tensed. Unlike Azadi, Train to Pakistan does not describe the politics of the partition in much detail. Khushwant Singh concentrates on local life and the direct indication of politics is completely absent. The residents of Mano Majra are blissfully unaware of political decision. That is why there is no tensed situation and communal disharmony in Mano Majra.

Through this novel Singh tries to inform the readers that the aftermath of the partition was not one sided. The people from both the sides were involved in violence, rape, murder, abduction etc. Both the sides were among the sufferer. According to the Hindus the Muslims were to blame. The fact is both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed.

Both tortured. Both Raped. He was sincerely worried about the massacres but was powerless against the fury of the law. He is often described with the dirty physical appearance and is busy with a teenage prostitute. Even in order to send the Muslims of Mano Majra he planned of a conspiracy. He tells the police officer to spread news that Iqbal is a Muslim League worker from Pakistan and he sends his faxes to Pakistan but originally he is a member of a communist party and he used to send his telegrams in Delhi not in Pakistan.

Through this matter the writer intends to tell the readers that the authority also responsible for the unwanted violence. If they wished, they could have been prevented it.

By the character of Juggut Singh, the protagonist of the novel, the writer represents the moral side of humanity. Juggut Singh or Jugg, is a village badmash from Mano Majra.

He is accused of the murder of Lala Ram Lal, the Hindu moneylender though that murder was committed by Malli and his gang. At the end of the novel we see both Jugga and Iqbal come to know that the train which is going toward Pakistan that night, is going to be attacked by the orthodox Sikh agitators in which the Muslim of Mano Majra also leaving for Pakistan. Iqbal, an educated man did nothing but Jugga in order to save the life of his beloved comes forward.

The Sikh rioters tied a rope above the train those who are coming on the hood can be killed. Singh here conveys the message that there is something which is more powerful, stronger than the religious sentiment or orthodoxy that is nothing but love for which Jugga sacrifices his life.

From the above discussion it can be said that both the writer Chaman Nahal and Khushwant Singh tries to find out the reason behind the partition and its aftermath. Both the writers show that the people were not happy with the decision that the politicians took. The novel Azadi is described in the perspective of the characters who are facing attacks and Train to Pakistan is described in the perspective of attackers.


Chaman Nahal

Dyal Singh College, Karnal Abstract Without any shadow of doubt, the theme of partition is one of the leading themes in Indo-Anglian fiction. There are number of Indian writers, males and females, Hindu as well as Muslims and even Sikh novelists who have contributed a great deal to the development of partition theme. Gill and K. Duggal whose contribution in noteworthy in the arena of partition fiction; and the contribution of Muslim novelists lie Attia Hussain is worthy of detailed consideration, all have their collective contribution in the field of partition theme.


Author Chaman Nahal talks about his book 'Azadi'



Partition Theme in Chaman Nahal’s Azadi and Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan




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