A historical fiction is one that is set against a significant historical event. It is well known that literature and history are intertwined. The historical movements have an impact on literature, and authors cannot ignore the social and political climate in which they live or create their works.
The partition of India has a crucial position in its history. A wide range of writers from the subcontinent used the division and the developments that followed as a foundation to convey their emotions via their works of art.
The original title of Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan was Mano Majra, and it is regarded as one of the most realistic novels in Indian English literature. It is the first in-depth investigation on the effects of partition on a village's inhabitants. It highlights how a communally hormonal nation is torn apart by partition. Khushwant Singh had first-hand knowledge of the division, which is why he was able to represent it with such realism. He is referred to as "the witness turned writer" by C.N. Srinath, and N.S. Gundur believes that he wrote Train to Pakistan as a therapeutic exercise to get over the pain of division.
The novel takes place in 1947 when the weather was much hotter and drier than usual, but in Mano Majra everything was fine because the partition only affected the elites right away, while the villages and ordinary citizens living in rural areas were barely aware of it until the shadow of partition began haunting their peaceful and communal environment. In 1947, the British-ruled Indian subcontinent was partitioned. Mohd. Iqbal, a poet and political theorist, first proposed the idea of a separate Muslim state in 1930.
Chaudhary Rehmat Ali and Mohd, the proponent of the two-nation theory, gave the idea of a Pakistan-style homeland for Indian Muslims concrete form.Ali Jinnah was so fixated on having a distinct Muslim state that he failed to see the terrible results of doing so. In the first chapter of his book Partition and Indian
English fiction authors say,"The rise of these two countries at the conclusion of colonial control, known as the highest accomplishment for freedom Despite the fact that there was movement, there was terrible sad occurrences as a result of In an impromptu manner, the leaders division of the nation .Political leaders as well as the general people were in a state of utter astonishment as they observed the aftermath of the split of a powerful nation. Mass killings and rapes occurred frequently along with riots and robberies. "One can never know exactly how many people died in the riots which preceded it, but around seventeen million people had to migrate themselves across the newly defined boundaries," wrote S. Settar and Indira Gupta in this context.
The most terrible period in Indian history was the Partition. It abruptly upset the long-standing sense of communal peace among the inhabitants of the subcontinent. It was more of a psychological, moral, and social division than just a physical one. As the abstract claims that history and art are inextricably linked, numerous authors, artists, and filmmakers explained the distinction in their own styles and art forms. A fictional work of art has a tale or plot that focuses on a main character and his life. It traces the issues with a person's life in connection to the society they are a part of.
However, it doesn't mean that fictional tales ignore the political-historical side. History speaks about a definite time, date, and event, whereas a work of fiction contains a character who is struggling at a specific moment and event. They depict both the political and societal issues. They occasionally serve as political historical critiques and provide information about the realities of partition politics.
One can learn about the partition and its effects by reading books about its history, but one can fully understand the process and how it affected both individuals and society as a whole by reading a fictional history book. Mano Majra is a representation of India, and Khushwant Singh captured a very real response. A village equally made up of Sikhs and Muslims was ignorant of the impact of division until a train carrying the dead corpses of Hindus and Sikhs arrived at the station.
In Mano Majra, the movement of life was represented by the trains. The sound of the trains rumbling by every day was a part of the villagers' routine because they served as something akin to a timetable for them. The residents of Mano Majra had their schedules based on the train departure times from the station, but when the train carrying bodies arrived, there were a lot less trains on the route, making it challenging for them to keep track of time. "People stayed in bed late without realising that the postal train would not run through at all due to the changing timetables. Children constantly clamoured for food because they did not know when they were actually hungry. All goods trains had ceased operations.
There was no song to put them to sleep because they were all together. Instead, at odd hours between, ghost trains passed. Mano's dreams are disturbed by midnight and daybreak. Majra”.
They stopped train at the Mano Majra station completely altered the village's environment and also the villagers. Prior to this train's arrival, when people were alive and well, there was peace among the village. All people in the area prayed to a god they called "Doe." the people who live in Mano Majra. Writes Suja Alexander:
"The people in charge just work to further their own interests, infusing the egoistic and communist venom into the peace-loving Mano Majra locals." The people were successfully divorced by them. They were successful in separating the people from their dearly loved brothers and sisters, which led to estrangement, animosity, hatred, fury, and retaliation.
Amity University Kolkata