Thursday, 14 March 2019

Train To Pakistan By Khushwant Singh: A love story in midst of chaos and Massacre.

This year,I a book lover attended Word Book Fair  held in Delhi(5-13 January 2019).There were many book stalls of different publishing houses, having books of English,Hindi and  Urdu languages.In one book stall I found famous novel “Train to Pakistan” written by Khuswant Singh. (1915 –2014). 

An Indian novelist, lawyer, journalist and politician. Born and raised in Hadali, Punjab (now in Pakistan). I purchased, It was in Hindi language, which I followed easily.
The way Khuswant Singh has written the book being unbiased and truthful makes it special.There are many books written on the same topic but I am sure no one else would have written it as beautifully as he has.
Back ground of Story of “Train to Pakistan”.
In this blog I have tried to summarize “Train to Pakistan”, written in about two hundred (200) pages. A novel set in AD 1947 when the partition of India was taking place and swarms of people – both Hindus and Muslims were migrating in large numbers.

The time was a tumultuous one where, as an outcome of communal riots, many people were killed, their properties looted, women raped and children tortured.
The end is the best part of the book because, when I finished reading, I was in tears. I am not sure whether other readers will get the same feelings or not, but I am sure it will leave them unsettled and in melancholy.

Mano-Majra: The epic village of story of “Train to Pakistan”
Mano Majra is a small village on the Indo-Pak border along river Satluj. Populated by few inhabitants – both Sikhs and Muslims, in equal majority, living in peace and harmony for generations.

The story is based on few important places the Railway Station, Officer’s bungalow (inspection house), a Masjid a Gurudwara and house of a local baniya Lala Ram lal. The village is very remote and hence ignorant of the happenings in the country'.
Khushwant Singh-Writer of -Train To Pakistan
The life of this village is governed by  daily rhythms of  passing  trains through its railway station.The life of Mano-Majra starts early morning with two long whistles of goods train to Lahore.

It is signal to maulvi Imam baksh for Fajir azaan,and for Bhai Meet Singh,time of jaap of Gurugranth Saheb in gurudwara.
The night whistle of Goods train from Lahore is signal to Mano-Majra, that for Imam Baksh it is time of Azaan of Isha prayer for Bhai Meet Singh to close path in Gurudawara and a sleeping time for whole village.This was daily routine since summer of 1947.
Main Characters of book “Train To Pakistan”
Jagat Singh “Jagga”

Jagga is adacoit, infamous for his bad character.He is involved in dozens of loot, murder and blood shedding He is in love with a Muslim weaver’s daughter with whom he often rendezvouses in the dark of the night.

On one such night, when he is out of the village to meet his love, the local money lender Ram Lal gets killed by some dacoits; he is blamed for the murder and arrested. Even, thieves are supposed to have a code of honour. For eg. They cannot commit a robbery in their own village.

Iqbal Singh
Iqbal is a “Mona Sardar” and social worker well-educated communist who is soft-spoken and well-intentioned. Neither counts in the charged village environment where the power matrix and the alignment of people’s action is in abidance with brute power that drives it.

Iqbal, a social reformer, is a visiting commie in disguise who wants to mobilize support for the socialist party of India. Then we come across the character of Hukum Chand who is the village magistrate.

Hukum Chand.
Hukum Chand is the Deputy magistrate, and one of the main characters in the story. He comes in his American Car. It becomes apparent that he is a man in moral conflict who has probably used his power over the years with much corruption. He is often described with a dirty physical appearance as if he is overwhelmed with unclean actions and sins.
He is a mass of contradictions – an alcoholic, slovenly and morally corrupt man who doesn’t mind entertaining a young innocent prostitute who even reminds him of his dead daughter.

He survives by managing the incompetence of the local Police and still uncannily predicts the future by ensuring a forced exit of the refugees before people get harmed.
Imam Baksh 
Imam Baksh is Imam (Mulla) of masjid of village.He belongs to weaver community of Muslims He is half blind due to catract and a widower.who is described as tall, lean, and bald. He is also blind.Imam is often a subject of pity, for his wife and son died “within a few days of each other,” but he is also respected by many.
He and Nooran plan to leave Mano Majra for Pakistan, and they are on the train that is the site of an intended massacre plotted by a group of Sikh conspirators. Nooran avoids telling her father that she is pregnant with Juggut’s baby, out of fear that he will either marry her off or murder her.
She is his only daughter of Imam Baksh. She is in love of Jagga (in physical sense), She carries in her womb two months old child of Jagga. However, her being a Muslim puts her at odds with the Sikhs and Hindus in Mano Majra.
The Story of “Train To Pakistan”
It is a love story of a Sikh boy Jagga a gangster and a Muslim girl Nooran, whose endures and transcends the ravages of war,in background is partition. Story starts from August 1947.
 “In the summer of 1947, when the creation of the new state of Pakistan was formally announced, ten million people – Muslims,Hindus and Sikhs – were in flight. By the time the monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead, and all of northern India was in arms, in terror, or in hiding. 

The only remaining places of peace were a scatter of little villages lost in the remote reaches of the frontier. One of these villages is Mano- Majra.”

Jagat singh "Jugga" is probably the main character of Train to Pakistan..He is confined in town by police not to leave without permission.However,Jagat Singh a Sikh, has an illicit relationship with Nooran Baksh, the daughter of the local Muslim weaver and Imam of village masjid.
While they were making love, some of Jugga's old gangster buddies murder the town money lender, Lala Ram Lal, and try to pin the crime on him. This leads to Jugga's arrest, which he accepts as his fate.

The next morning, Iqbal a “Mona Sardar” a social worker , western educated communist agent Iqbal Singh comes from party head quarter,tries to stop communal activity here. He stays at guru dwara after meeting Bhai Meet Singh, priest. But as soon as he finds rest, he is arrested for the murder of the moneylender too.
On the other hand, the police officers and government officials are tensed when a train arrives at the small station of Mano- Majra – it is a ghost train full of dead corpse of Hindus from Pakistan, a train full Sikhs from Pakistan is repeated. Imam Baksh and all Muslims are asked by Hukum chand, Magistrate, to leave the village, and asked them to go to Pakistan.
Noora carries his (Jugga’s) child in her womb, he cannot bear the separation from his beloved.She goes to his mother and tells her that she is pregnant with his child and does not want to leave him, but all in vain.
Towards the end of the novel, people make a plan to ambush the train taking the Muslims including those of Mano-Majra to Pakistan.The Sikhs of Mano- Majra who, just one day before, were ready to lay down their lives for their Muslim brothers, now at once become ready to kill them.
When the disturbance started in Mano Majra, Jagat Singh “Jagga” was in police custody. Along with him, there was Iqbal, educated in England and an expert in preaching Hindu-Muslim unity.

Police frees them from the  jail ,hoping that both of them will help in stopping the villagers from killing the Muslims who were going to Pakistan through this train.

But when Jaggat Singh comes to know about Nooran and the people’s plan about the train, he performs the act of supreme self-sacrifice to save the lives of people. Though there were others also who knew about the plot and wanted to fail their plan but they were unable to prevent the plot against the fleeing Muslims.

When the fanatics prepare to attack the train while passing through Mano Majra railway bridge, Jagat Singh (jagga) appears on the bridge and cuts the rope stretched to sweep off the people sitting on the roof when the train passes through the bridge.
Jagga, in spite of knowing the possible consequences of his decision, does not change his mind. His love for Nooran appears for him to be more valuable than anything. His self sacrifice is motivated by his love for Nooran.
The leader of the gang fires shots at Jugga ,and he falls down: There was a volley of shots. The man shivered and collapsed. The rope snapped in the center as he fell.
The train went over Jugga Singh, and went to Pakistan with his love Nooran and his two months child in her womb.

Moral of Story “Train to Pakistan”
Love has the power to transform a criminal like Jaggat Singh into a courageous human being who sacrifices his own life for the well-being of the other people irrespective of their caste, class and religion.

While Jaggat Singh loses his life in the effort, Iqbal, a non-communal political worker, an idealist and nationalist takes a worldly wise approach and keeps himself away from the trouble.
Jaggat Singh understands the philosophy of “Granth Sahib” in real sense:“If you are going to do something good, the Guru will help you; if you are going to do something bad, the Guru will stand in your way”.

Posted by Engr Maqbool Akram , with help of materials and photos available on Net

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Kanpuriya of Kanpur: City of Paan Masala, Thaggu ke laddu, Badnam Qulfi

Of course you can never be sure in Kanpur, while walking on road, that a flying ball of red paan spit of Paan Masala will hit you. Kanpuriya is a lingo for people of Kanpur.

Usually Kanpuriya have an image of eating Paan Masala and guthka. Spitting it over the walls but Kanpur isn't as they think about i must say. Some of the interesting things which should come to your mind when you hear word Kanpur are written down which will really amaze you.
A Kanpuriya spitting Paan Masala
People of Kanpur are too good with a helping nature, mostly have a very struggling attitude. They don't fear any challenges and the worse situations. They strive to the best of their capability to lead a good lifestyle.

Make a kanpuriya Friend and you'll forget what is depression.Kanpuriya are soft and emotional but not weak. During their worst times, they may cry, but never get into depression and we'll stand again to fight back with the situation. Having a kanpuriya Friend is must if you love all sorts of siyapa and vellapanti.
Paan Masala of Kanpur
People chew a lot of tobacco and spit it everywhere with impunity. You will hardly find a corner in a public building or the walls and floors near a dustbin that has not been slathered with the unmistakable red coloured tobacco spit. Observe everything, from smiling faces to overflowing mouths (full of paan-masala), narrow roads to highways.
Few years back I was travelling to Kanpur from Hyderabad in a train. I met a Kanpuria co-travellor who was in job in Kerala.We talked about random topics regarding difference in the lifestyles of North India and South India. While talking he opened his briefcase and took out a packet of paan Masala, what surprised me were those approximately 100 packets of Paan Masala in it.
I looked at him, expecting an explanation for that, after a while he understood my gesture and replied that as Paan Masala isn't allowed in Kerala so he take along enough packs which would last for a month.
I asked “why do you even take so much pain to carry all these stuff which would eventually harm you?”

For few seconds I was dumbstruck. Never expected such a uniquely dumb reply. For him, addiction to Paan Masala is an asset to his personality and an easy way to become socially accepted among his friends. That incident actually showed me how the scarcity of education can have such an adverse effect on human intellects and reasoning.
The chewing pan masala culture and spitting everywhere and staining everything that comes in the way thereby, started from this very city, Kanpur in 70s. Reached its peak in 80s and 90s when pan parag, the numero uno king of the pouch revolution hanging in every corner paan shops reigned supreme. Brought by city based kotharis, departed actor ashok kumar lent it an iconic status with his tv promotion of the brand.
Soon competitors arrived like rajnigandha from delhi based ds group,tiranga, kamla pasand,pan pasand and countless others. but kanpur brand reigned supreme for two decades and colored india,particularly painting government offices red. till we woke up recently and understanding its danger,”banned”it. never mind countless people died of oral cancer by then.
This is in short the story of one kind of laal kranti (Paan Masala) in India.

Pretty sure Pierce Brosnan was fooled into endorsing an Ad of Pan Bahar Masala by saying that it was some exotic Himalayan Indian herb.

Thaggu ke Ladoos and Badnaam kulfi” to relish on everytime you visit Kanpur Can't leave Kanpur without eating Laddus Here”
Right next to Baba Foods in Swaroop Nagar is the famous Thaggu ke Laddu. His Badnam Kulfi is fabulous. Unlike most other Kulfis it’s whipped rather than just frozen and so it has a slightly Rabri like texture.
Shop of Thaggu ke laddu and Badnam Kulfi
The ladoos are ideal for taking home because they last a long time and might be the closest thing to Kanpur speciality.
This place has a motto "Aisa koi saga nahi, jisko humne Thaga nahi." Meaning that there is not even a single dear one whom we have not cheated. The reason behind it is that the founder of this restaurant was a firm Gandhian (believer and follower of Gandhi principles). He once met Gandhiji and during his small chat with...
Badnaam Kulfi
For the Vegans there is Aromas also in Swaroop Nagar. He serves pizzas and burgers along with some Chinese food. The best way to visit Swaroop Nagar is for the Non Veg guys to eat at Baba and the others to eat at Aromas. Because both have fast service you get out at the same time. This is Murgi’s favorite place to eat by the way (The very mention of Aroma’s brightens his day). Right next to Aroma’s is a place that has no name mentioned anywhere (Actually there is but you really have to look for it) but it serves good Bhelpuri(as good as can be in Kanpur)
 Swaroop Nagar is also home to Makhan Singh ki Biryani. His rice is nowhere as good as Baba’s so if you want to eat Biryani, it’s wise to stick to Baba. However what he does serve are excellent Kababs. You will also be amazed at the size of Makhan.

It must be the smallest shop in Swaroop Nagar but there are cars lined up all the time ordering food. The owner just stands there shouting orders and keeping track of the money. It ought to be a lesson in management.

They don't have seating arrangements and you will have to eat your food in your car. Their kebabs are also good and their biryani is boneless.
Typical Kanpurias

 In terms of restaurants Antarang in Rave 3 is by far the finest restaurant in Kanpur. Antarang is always consistent and dependable. There is a singer who sings remarkably like Jagjit Singh.

The desserts are great as well. Hot Brownie with Ice Cream, Gulab Jamun with Ice Cream is great. The moong dal halwa used to be great but has been falling flat on recent occasions. Chicken Chettinad is something that we often order. As a bonus the restaurant also has the finest ambience in Kanpur. 
Hucka is a place frequented by most people. The huckas provide variety, but personally I am not a big fan. However if you do decide on going there do try the three pepper potato (starter). Also order pineapple raita and Mirchi Paratha (It’s an awesome combination). Their food used to be good.
For the Vegans, there is Gyan Vaishnav, in Gumti Number 5. Don’t go by the ambience and try the place out. Try to get to the place early because otherwise it is packed. It is act of foolishness to go to Gyan Vaishnav on a Tuesday. Stick to the basics and don’t order anything fancy. Order Roti Dal (Must) and Sabji. Baingan Ka Bharta is recommended. Also order the kheer. Ensure that you order the kheer beforehand because they get over extremely fast.

Last but far far from the least is a little pan shop called Monkey Chaurasia
(Note the monkey is essential, there is a duplicate Chaurasia along the road. The Monkey Chaurasia advertises Mountain Dew). It falls on the side of the medical shops between Gol Chauraha and Swaroop Nagar. Have the Meetha pan. Have more than one in fact. This is the perfect end to a meal.
Honestly the best Kanpur food spots are found on the way just roaming around.

The small shops on the street make up the heart of Kanpur. So instead of going after just named food joints, one should get out and explore. Places like Gumti, Naveen Market, places adjoining Baad Chauraha, kakadeo are brilliant for such strolls. Otherwise the famous ones have already been mentioned..

Kanpuriya language: Unique Common  Words of Kanpurias Daily Life

People of Kanpur have their own unique language. Kanpuriya language is rude but they are always ready to help and have big and good heart. Kanpurias are very straight forward (many times people don't like it) golmol nahi sidha bolte hai.

It is just something that any person with swag would enjoy. Its a mixture of rudeness, straightforwardness, humor and well.Abusive words. The words are just too different from what are spoken in other neighbouring cities of Kanpur that it gives Kanpur an entirely different set of vocabulary.
I will give you one example- The word slap is translated into Kanpuriya language as “Kantaap” instead of the much common terms of other cities as jhaapad, thappad or lappad.So, when you are in Kanpur some day, don’t be shocked to hear someone tell you -

“Saale _________ (beep beep), aukaat mein rahiyo warnaa denge ek kantaap kheench ke kaan ke neeche”: P
·        Zyada bakaiti na pelo
·        Bas karo bey pudina bo rakha hai tumne to
·         Aao zara hum bhi dekhe Kaun kitna bada khalifa hai.
·         Bhai matter ((panga) ho Gaya.
·         Bhokal hai bhai ka tension na lo.
·         Mathadheesi jayegi nahi.
·         Pauwwa (jugaad) hai poora apna iss area me.
·         “Chaped” me na Pado yar, “Lethan” ho jati hai Baad me
·         Ho bilkul Wahi, jisme rehta hai dahi (means kulhad)
·         And last but not the least… “Bhanna ke kantaap padega Bairaaj se Station tak   ki sair ho jayegi.”
·         “Bhann se padega, sann se aawaz aegii”
·         “Akdoge to ghar baithoge”
·         “Ek kantaap me chittra jaoge”
And their favorite word is nikal “lo patli gali se warna nali pe patak denge”

Banarsi Tea Shop
One of the best tea one can have in whole Kanpur very hot and creamy tea one can enjoy in winter and enjoy great cup of tea
Famous tea vendor who sells only tea and there are always flocks of people waiting for tea, especially in the morning, where thousands of people sip tea everyday. (At Motijheel Chauraha crossing).
The milk and cream Chai with a tinge of Cardamom served in a earthen Kullar tasted heavenly. The accompaniments of Samosa with potato masala filling melted away in the stream of piping hot chai and I had to order another chai to satisfy myself.

Written and posted by Engr. Maqbool Akram: With

 help of different materials available on net

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Krishna Kumari: The Rajput Princess,Chose Death Pyre To Save Her Dynasty

Here is the story of a true princess Krishna Kumari (1794 –1810), who chose death before a war was ignited.She choose death instead of putting the lives of their people at risk.Reality is harsh and painful. It is not lyrical fiction and it does not have Romeo-and-Juliet kind of endings.
 It was my second day of tour in Udaipur. We were in city palace of Udaipur and standing inside Krishna Vilas.  Krishna Vilas is another chamber inside City Palace, which has rich collection of miniature paintings that portray royal processions, festivals and games of the Maharanas.
However, there is tragic story linked to this wing of the City Palace. In the 19th century, a royal princess was unable to choose from two suitors seeking her hand in marriage, one from the royal family of Jaipur and another from Jodhpur, and hence in a state of dilemma, she poisoned herself to death
Princess Krishna Kumari was a Rajput princess with many suitors. A succession of battles was fought to gain her hand. Unlike Padmini, she was a real figure whose story was detailed in annals and letters composed during her life and immediately after her death. 

The manner of that death was unique and tragic, so shameful that no bard was ever commissioned to glorify it in verse.
Rana Bhim Singh was the ruler of Mewar in the early nineteenth century. The state had lost all its power and was beset by enemies from all sides.
The Marathas from the southwest had overrun parts of it and extorted levies from his subjects, while the states of Jaipur and Marwar were poised to attack him.
Jaipur and Marwar threatened war, not to increase their kingdoms but for another reason. Both the princes, Jagat Singh of Jaipur and the Raja Man of Marwar wanted to marry the Sisodia princess, Krishna Kumari, daughter of Bhim Singh. Bhim Singh dared not refuse either. He knew that whoever lost the hand of his daughter would join his enemies and attack his state.
Krishna Kumari, the young, sixteen-year beauty, was told of her father's predicament. She was determined to maintain the heroic tradition of her race and die rather than plunge her country into war
 Poison made of the Kasumba blossom was prepared for her. When the fatal cup was presented to her she received it with a smile, I fear not to die. Rajkumari Krishna Kumari drank it, and fell into a deep sleep … from which she never woke.

It happened in Krishna Vilas of the Udaipur palace, in a room that is still preserved exactly as it was when the brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
 Her mother, heartbroken at her daughter's fate, died soon after her. And Rana Bhim Singh, too weak to have prevented the sacrifice, consoled himself through the lonely years of his remaining life by turning his daughter's room into shrine of beauty and splendor.
The delicately frescoed Krishna Mahal is now a memorial to the girl (photography not permitted) in Udaipur City Palace, where respect can be paid to a brave little princess who became the victim of political circumstance.The room contains some of Mewar's best miniature paintings.The brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
Written and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of various materials available on net.