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Tracking ModernityIndia's Railway and the Culture of Mobility$
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Marian Aguiar

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665600

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665600.001.0001

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Partition and the Death Train

Partition and the Death Train

(p.73) Chapter 3 Partition and the Death Train
Tracking Modernity

Marian Aguiar

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the historical moment of India’s Partition, when inherent tensions within the concept of modernity were cast in relief. As India came into independence, the Partition in 1947 brought a scene of refugees who fled communal violence and experienced a coerced form of mobility. The train had a critical symbolic importance during the Partition, and creative works, such as Khushwant Singh’s classic Train to Pakistan and Mukul Kesavan’s magical realist Looking Through Glass, used images of forced movement to render the crisis of nationhood during mass migration. The chapter also analyzes Deepa Mehta’s 1998 contemporary film Earth, which offers haunting images of the “death train.”

Keywords:   Partition, Khushwant Singh, Train to Pakistan, Mukul Kesavan, Looking Through Glass, mass migration, Deepa Mehta, Earth, death train

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