Train to Pakistan

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HIST 130: WORLD CIVILIZATIONS SINCE 1500

Instructions for Paper #3
(Due Friday, May 11)

Read Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan and answer ONE of the following questions in an essay of at least six pages, being sure to support your argument with specific evidence from the text, and to use footnotes where necessary:

1. How do different visions of identity and community come into conflict in Train to Pakistan? Which one wins out? Why? What caused this conflict?

2. Compare the experience of independence and partition, as described by Khushwant Singh, to events in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries OR to the effects of decolonization in Africa. Is there a connection between “modernity” and nationalist violence?

3. Why did Khushwant Singh write this book? What might he be trying to say about Indian independence, the Congress Party, and the future of India as a modern independent nation?

Some Further Advice

1. Review the grading standards for written work at the end of the course syllabus. Remember that an essay needs to contain a thesis statement, evidence, a conclusion, and footnotes. Creativity and critical thought are also important elements in any analysis.

2. While parts of your paper should naturally contain some description of the events in the story, you should go beyond that. Specifically, you should develop an argument or analysis in direct response to the question. Include only material that contributes in some way to your argument. Details which do not add to your argument should not be included.

3. If you need help, please ask. It is better to do this sooner rather than later. I can help you getting started, finding suitable material from the source texts, and with developing an argument. I would also be glad to look at outlines, read drafts, etc. I also strongly encourage you to seek writing assistance through the Learning Center—everyone needs a good editor!
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