Khushwant Singh’s novel Train to Pakistan serves as a medium to critique the administrators for the lack of effective implementation of rule of law during the time of partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.
Abhinav Mehrotra, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Biswanath Gupta, Associate Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Anindita Dutta, PhD Candidate, Tezpur Central University, Assam.
Accounts of ethnic cleansing and genocide, strategic use of rape and other forms of sexual violence, and mass displacement continue to wreak havoc on the civilian population around the globe. The Constitution of India as well as international law has long maintained the view that any form of sexual violence and violations of human rights must be condemned and those found guilty must be subjected to effective punishment as per the penal provisions.
The past injustices to marginalized groups must also be redressed at all costs. The United Nations as well as the Indian judicial system have enacted various laws to promote gender equality and protect the fundamental rights of the citizens. The lack of proper reparation for such violence encourages people to engage in more such acts. Genocide Convention 1948 and Geneva Convention 1949 have specifically prohibited such forms of violations.
Other international documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have tried to pursue the states to systematically protect the human rights of the people, especially the unprivileged group. Chapter IV of the Constitution of India similarly reiterated the position of international law in India.
Even though such violations are prohibited under municipal as well as international law, yet, in recent times, such incidents have increased by leaps and bounds. Communal tensions and targeted killing of minorities are matters of concern for all the states.
The recent allegations of genocide in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq/Syria have brought these issues back into the discussion. The issues of ethnic cleansing, parochial nationalism, human rights violations, and mass expulsion described in Indian writer Khushwant Singh’s novel “Train to Pakistan” make it an interesting study from the legal context.
Published in: South Asia Monitor
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