Train to Pakistan

Train to Pakistan Summary and Analysis of Dacoity Part 3


The next morning when Iqbal awakes, he is arrested. Two constables come to the gurdwara, wake him up, and ask for his name and occupation. They then write this information on an arrest warrant, and pull out handcuffs. The sight of the cuffs jerks Iqbal wide awake. He begins to lambaste the policemen, who are taken aback by Iqbal’s obvious education and indignation. They continue to arrest him, but Iqbal’s behavior cows them into subservience. Meet Singh comes by, and tries to calm the situation, but Iqbal won’t be pacified. He continues to make snarky comments about police corruption. Finally, his comments strike a chord with the police, and they put the handcuffs on him and lead him through the village.

At the same time that the two constables are arresting Iqbal, a squad of 10 are arresting Jugga. When the police arrive, Jugga is fast asleep. They’re able to put him in fetters and handcuffs without him waking up. When Jugga does awaken, he looks at the chains with disinterest, and begins to fall back asleep. His mother arrives home, and begins to weep at the sight of her son in chains and surrounded by police. Jugga tells her to relax, because he is innocent. Still, his mother persists, shows the police the bangles Malli threw into her courtyard, and reveals to the police that Jugga knows the dacoits. The police question Jugga, but he refuses to expose Malli. The head constable promises to get the truth out of Jugga, even if it requires torture.

Like Iqbal, Jugga chooses to leave his face uncovered as the police parade him through the Mano Majra. His size and notoriety in the village make him unmistakable to everyone. Soon, Jugga and Iqbal’s police escorts meet up, and they begin walking to the bridge. At this point, the policemen realize they’ve made a mistake with both arrests. Iqbal is an educated social worker from the city who arrived in Mano Majra after Lala Ram Lal’s murder, and Jugga is too obvious of a suspect. Furthermore, it’s clear the two men had never met before, and thus did not plot together to murder the moneylender. Still, they take Iqbal and Jugga to the officer rest house where Hukum Chand is staying.

At the rest house, the subinspector yells at the head constable for arresting Iqbal. He recognizes Iqbal as the man who arrived on the train with them yesterday, and knows it’s impossible for him to have murdered Lala Ram Lal. The subinspector tries to pass the blame for Iqbal’s arrest over to Chand, but the magistrate is too savvy to fall for it. He also grows angry when he realizes the challenges Iqbal presents, and orders the subinspector to find out who exactly Iqbal is. The subinspector has Iqbal stripped naked, and sees he is circumcised. This is enough to accuse him of being a member of the Muslim League, even though Iqbal asserts that he is a member of the People’s Party of India.

The subinspector tells Chand of his discovery, and the two men decide they will keep Iqbal in custody. Chand instructs the subinspector to falsify their police documents, and to beat the names of Lala Ram Lal’s killers out of Jugga. Jugga and Iqbal are taken to the police station in Chundunnugger. Along the way, Jugga talks to the constables about the fighting and violence about Hindustan and Pakistan. He tells a story Meet Singh told him about a caravan of Muslim soldiers who crashed and died on their way to Pakistan after killing Sikh pedestrians. This story appeases the policeman but annoys Iqbal. He stays in a sour mood all the way to the prison. Jugga is in good spirits, until the tonga driver makes a teasing remark about Nooran, which infuriates Jugga.

At the prison, Jugga and Iqbal are placed in different cells and receive very different treatment. Iqbal is served his food on a plate and cup, whereas Jugga’s food is flung at him, and water is poured into his cupped hands. Still, Jugga doesn’t let this affect him, rationalizing it as typical for a country predicated on caste systems. After a while, the subinspector comes to visit the men. He tells Iqbal he’s been arrested for being a Muslim agitator, a charge that Iqbal sees through as a coverup for the head constable’s blunder. The two go back and forth until the subinspector leaves to speak to Jugga.

The subinspector asks Jugga where he was the night of dacoity, and Jugga lies to protect Nooran’s virtue. The subinspector doesn’t believe his alibi, but knows Jugga didn’t kill Lala Ram Lal. He asks Jugga for the name of the real dacoits, but Jugga refuses to snitch until the subinspector threatens him with torture. The threat of being tortured like he was in the past shakes Jugga, and he pleads with the subinspector to believe his innocence. The subinspector gives Jugga a deadline of two days to tell him the names of Lala Ram Lal’s killers, otherwise he will torture Jugga.


The comedy Khushwant Singh is known for is on display in Part 3 of ‘Dacoity.’ After falling asleep dreaming about a peaceful life in prison, Iqbal wakes up to handcuffs in his face. The adage “be careful what you wish for” comes immediately to mind. Unfortunately for Iqbal, his arrest isn’t the noble and symbolic martyrdom he envisioned, but rather the result of poor policing. The incompetent and foolish head constable arrests him for the murder of Lala Ram Lal, even though Iqbal travelled with the police to Mano Majra the day after the murder.

When the subinspector and Hukum Chand hear of Iqbal’s false arrest, rather than release him they seek for a reason to justify the arrest. Here is an obvious example of the police corruption Iqbal and other characters in the book have complained about. And indeed, Hukum Chand is not so concerned with their arrest of an innocent man, but rather the trouble Iqbal can cause because he is educated. He fears what a man of Iqbal’s background can do to his own reputation and standing in the government. For a person tasked with upholding justice, this is a gross breach of morality.

In order to justify Iqbal’s arrest, the subinspector orders Iqbal to strip and examines him. He then discovers that Iqbal is circumcised. In the novel being circumcised is a stereotype about Muslim men, and thus the subinspector is able to label Iqbal as an agitator from the Muslim League. When Jugga and Iqbal are transported from the officer’s rest house to the police station in Chundunnugger, more stereotypes about Muslims, including their untrustworthiness and cowardice now that India and Pakistan are separating, are voiced. Slowly but surely, the waves of distrust and animosity between Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims are making their way to Mano Majra.

Also during the ride to Chundunnugger, the differences between Jugga and Iqbal are highlighted. Physically, the men are complete opposites, with Jugga being likened to an elephant because of his size, and Iqbal described as small and effeminate. The differences in temperament are clear as well. Jugga is agreeable, easygoing, and tries to create conversation with everyone. Meanwhile, Iqbal is haughty, closed-off, and responds to Jugga’s overtures with annoyance.

The differences in the two men are further demonstrated in how they are treated once they arrive at the prison. Iqbal is treated solicitously, and every effort is made to make him comfortable. Unlike Jugga's, his food is served on a plate, not thrown at him, and he is given a cup to drink from rather than drinking from his own hands. Both men observe the difference in treatment, but in keeping with Jugga’s easygoing manner, he doesn’t complain or take offense. As a frequent prison inmate, he knows this is standard operating procedure, as is being held indefinitely for a crime he didn’t commit. Again, this is drastically different from Iqbal, who complains immediately to the subinspector about his false imprisonment, and demands his immediate release. Even the subinspector observes the differences between the two men, and remarks how frustrating it is to deal with two people so utterly dissimilar. Khushwant Singh has established the two men as foils to one another, and we wonder: for what purpose?