Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Response to Train to Pakistan

First impressions are very important, they “set the tone for all the relationships that follow” (First Impression). Which is why when Khushwant Singh introduces one of the main characters Iqbal, as a manipulative, foreign, city-dweller. Needless to say, my first impression of him was not a good one. “He could be Muslim, Iqbal Mohammad, He could be Hindu, Iqbal Chand, or a Sikh, Iqbal Singh… In a Sikh village, and Iqbal Singh would no doubt get a better deal...He himself had few religious feelings” (pg. 35) Although this is not our initial introduction to the character of Iqbal, it is quite an important passage as this is when his most dominant characteristic is shown, manipulation. He uses the flexibility of his first name ‘Iqbal’ to convince the townspeople of Mano Majra, that he is indeed part of the majority religion Sikhism. This can be considered manipulation because he knows very well that if he is indeed Sikh he would receive much better treatment in a town like this. I may not have had such a problem with Iqbal's treatment of the people of Mano Majra, but they are nothing but welcoming towards Iqbal, which is why he need not have lied about his last name and religion, to begin with. “When Iqbal finished eating Meet Singh got p and brought him a tumbler of water from his pitcher” (pg.36) This is a small but impactful example as to how the people of Mano Majra take care of Iqbal and genuinely look out for him. Soon after Meet Singh offered Iqbal water, Iqbal slyly put a chlorine tablet inside the cup (pg.36) since Iqbal is from the city it makes sense that he is cautious of what he drinks and from where the water comes from. Yet, when Meet Singh asked him what Iqbal put into the cup Iqbal replied with a lie. The fact that Meet Singh asked Iqbal directly “Are you ill?” (pg.36) after meeting Iqbal shortly before goes to show how gracious and concerned Meet Singh is with this new strangers health.
I may not have held a grudge towards Iqbal if his behavior throughout the novel changed and he became less self-righteous and more down to earth. Unfortunately, Iqbal continued to announce to anyone who would listen that he was an educated man that should not be held accountable for any one's actions, including himself. Although Iqbal states he is a social worker, his actions towards those who live in Mano Majra show otherwise. He is the opposite of what a good social worker would be, which shows that Khushwant Singh intended to make Iqbal an unlikeable character with no redeeming qualities. Which is why even after finished the novel ‘Train to Pakistan’ and further discussing the book during class. I still dislike Iqbal as a character.

"Making a Great First Impression: Getting off to a Good Start." From MindTools.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017
Singh, Khushwant. Train to Pakistan. New Delhi: Ravi Dayal, 2012. Print.