Nation Building Media Narratives and its Anti-Ecological Roots: An Eco-Aesthetic Analysis of Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan

Andrew Veda, Luke Gerard Christie


Khushwant Singh’s Train To Pakistan documents the horrors of the partition of India and Pakistan in the year 1947 by presenting a story set in a fictional village, Mano Majra which is an ecological synecdoche as the village stands for the two nations, India and Pakistan. The nation building narrative of Singh, as well as Gandhi - "the future of India lies in villages", though highly ecological as its focus is only on maintaining the "self-sufficiency" of every village, is paradoxical as it is concerned only with the microcosm of the villages and not with the macrocosm of the nation. The spiritual connection that Mano Majrans have with their land and river, which is the basis of their identity, cannot be limited by narratives of nation building revolving around political boundaries. The post-partition anxiety of the two countries, at the level of the microcosm, is the trauma of the loss of their ecological home. Khushwant Singh's novel provides a powerful insight into the deep roots of this eco-aesthetic identity and the anxiety of its loss resulting in the cultural divide that continues to exist between India and Pakistan. This essay makes the argument that Khushwant Singh highlights the anti-ecological nature of nation building narratives in his novel, Train to Pakistan.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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