Author: Khushwant Singh
Publisher:Time books International
Price :Rs 75
Rating:4 out of 5
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In spite of the partition rift all over the country, Mano Majra seems to be aloof from all of it..Muslims,Hindus and Sikhs still live in harmony..On the banks of Sutlej and the border village of Indo-Pak, it seems to be a strange exception to the events ..Like all good things are short lived, a train makes it entry to the village throwing away the peace and tranquility of the place forever...
Hukum Chand, Juggut Singh and Iqbal are the prime characters of the novel..Hukum Singh is the village magistrate who has his share of shrewdness yet not being vile, Juggust is kind of a local gangster well built and often imprisoned for petty crimes, while Iqbal a communist social worker travels the rural area in the hope of bringing up an uprising.. Juggut Singh is in love with Nooran the local Mullah's daughter..Ram Lal is killed by local dacoit gang but Juggut is arrested as a suspect and put along , Iqbal..While Iqbal's thoughts and ideologies are influenced by his education he had abroad goes through his turns of slow transformation, while Juggust realises that he can never lead a normal life in his village with the kind of persona he has been carried..Both their mental thoughts weave a larger thoughts extending far exploring more human vantage of social and religious state of post Independent India....
The echoism created by the brutual actions of people belonging to all religion upon each other that ruined the harmonious state of the country in many ways is put bluntly in all its rawness.. While the murder of Ram Lal the village's money lender by the dacoit marks the beginning of problems the real booster is the train that carries bodies of the dead Sikhs turns the village into a war ground between that of Muslim-Sikh chain events that propels various turns in the novel..The three characters come together during the testing time that serve as an acid test for their faith, integrity and tolerance for other community, culture and religion...
The book ironically portrays the evil that India's partition created ..In spite of winning the freedom the country put at stake things that should have been clearly avoided on amicable means whose consequence is felt even today among both the countries living as arch rivals...Nobody is blamed in the book but it explores on how innocent people's lives were thrown apart without no reason..Keeping that in mind Singh made the magistrate to order the village Muslims to leave India is as a disturbing one that makes one think on how people of that time would have felt leaving their home and place like refugees for the fear of life one fine day...What I liked was Singh has tried to bring the local pulse during the partition... People were subjected to n number of trauma for no faults of theirs blood massacre is all through in terms of rape, murder and loot..The haunting memories are brought alive with Singh's detailing..Juggut's dialogue make a mark most of the times..Plot is played to derail the train that carries Muslim to Pakistan , Chand overhears it and let Juggut and Iqbal to rescue the people but Juggut is passed out..The end is quite dramatic and the name of the person who saves so many lives at the cost of his own is not revealed..
Religious conflicts, personal gain, social reforms are the points that Singh has tried to scout through his novel...You will be not be completely mesmerized by Singh's writing, yet the book proves to be a mentally spurring one that will make you think on many things about those hard times.