A Silent Subjectivity in the Partitioned Subject Nationalist Narrative in Khushwant Singh‟s „Train to Pakistan‟

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Hassan Bin Zubair
Abrar Hussain Qureshi
Noor Afroze Khuwaja


This paper explores the historical events of 1947 independence and partitioned the colony into two nations which have also become the part of literature. Khushwant Singh‟s Train to Pakistan (1956) is the earliest novel in English written by an Indian about partition. It covers only the disorderly days of partition. After the announcement of partition, the trains were filled with Hindu and Sikh refugees, even the roofs were full of fleeing refugees. This novel describes the problems, pain and anxiety of that particular time of partition. Sikhs and Hindus on one side and Muslims on the other start a communal war, massacring train loads of people trying to decimate entire communities. A brief overview of Khushwant Singh‟s novel and a theorization invoking Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, and Giorgio Agamben—of the subject of a post-colonial and postpartition state. It also puts forward a more detailed analysis of Train to Pakistan vis-àvis its historically contingent narrative as an articulation of a silence. To expatiate on this, I rely heavily on the works of Terry Eagleton, Edward Said, and Benedict Anderson. A silent subjectivity is presented in the partitioned subject along with the national narrative.

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