Torn Apart: The Partition of India

Swapna Haddow (Scholastic)

Torn Apart

Review by Amina
This book was about a Muslim boy called Ibrahim and a Hindu boy called Amar. Ibrahim’s family were taken. On the way he found a boy called Amar and they tried to get Ibrahim back to his family. Unfortunately on Ibrahim’s way to Pakistan there was a train crash. I really enjoyed this book apart from the ending which was very sad. I recommend this book for slightly older children as it's quite gruesome. I think the main message is you should help anyone no matter their religion or race.

Review by Dorsa
In my opinion I think Ibrahim was my favourite character, since I felt bad, because he was only an 11-year-old boy, who had lost his parents, because of India becoming independent. I didn’t really dislike anyone in the book, as I thought everyone did what they had to do to survive, even though I do kind of think some actions that happened weren’t necessary. I learnt about how the homeless and the poor had to go through a dreadful experience, since they wouldn’t have even had a proper shelter for when invasions would have happened.

I found this specific time interesting, because I got to learn about the problems Hindus and Muslims would have gone through during 1947. I found this book amazing for the details it has, but I found the story terrifying, because of the scenarios. What really stood out to me, was how it was based on what happened after the British Raj left, because then India was split in 2, and that caused many dangers to the people who lived there. Last but not least, I really enjoyed this book and learnt a lot, so I definitely recommend this book to anyone!

Warning! Very brutal and bloody!

[This] is an interesting and adventurous book because one of the main characters known as Ibrahim is trying to escape from India. I recommend this book because the information that it tells is very deep in details. It really describes the dangerous fights, the escapes and the journeys, and I wondered why the British Empire had to separate India into India and Pakistan. It’s very interesting at the time the fight started, because it’s close to when World War 2 ended.

The most interesting character is Amar. His origins are unknown.

The thing that stand out is their ‘big brain’ ideas, because they save their own lives from death.

The thing I don’t like is the ending. It’s very bad as there was a violent attack on the refugee train and there were no survivors, and Ibrahim was on the train.

The author Swapna Haddow describes the partition of India with as many details as she can. It’s amazing, and I enjoyed this book a lot.

Review by Orlaith
This book is about the partition of India, I really enjoyed it because it was historically accurate and was informative on what happened whilst still having a good story line to be invested in.

I found the book being set during 1947 interesting for a few reasons, firstly, I am already interested in historical events happening around this time period  and how things in India started to change after the second world war, secondly, we have been learning about India in history recently and I thought that it would be beneficial to learn some extra about it, lastly, its interesting to see how not only India but the whole world changed due to the second world war and the demise of the British Empire.

In this book, I found Ibrahim to be a very good character, Ibrahim was a Muslim boy born to a rich family and was separated from them when they tried to flee from India since it was becoming unsafe, he then met Amar who helped him escape to an evacuee camp. He was interesting because he had to quickly adapt to being cold, hungry and scared and had to fight in order to stay alive. In the end he arrived at the train station in hopes to get to the camp and reunite with his family but that’s how the book ends so we don’t really know what happens to Ibrahim in the end.

There were a few characters in which I disliked but mainly it was the people rioting and attacking each other just because of their language and religious differences and, multiple times in the book attempted to kill the two protagonists.

I learnt a lot of new things about the partition of India that I did not know before from this book which I think is very important when reading a historic book.

The plot was great, it was serious at times whilst being light-hearted at others., An example of when the plot was quite serious was when Ibrahim was being chased by a group of men at the train station and an example of when the plot was rather light-hearted was when Amar and Ibrahim were joking about who they would be in Ashok Kumar’s movie.

The point that stands out to me most in this book is how the partition of India did a lot of harm to the citizens who lived there and how even though two people were different from each other they worked hard to help each other and probably save each other’s lives from the damage the British Empire put on India.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who was interested in history or who was just looking for a good book to read in general.

I learnt a lot of words that the characters used to refer to their family, such as, Abbu – father in Urdu, Ammi – mother in Urdu, Jaan – Urdu for loved one or darling and Maata – mother in Hindi.

Overall I don’t think that I have any complaints about his book and think that it was genuinely very good.

Review by Nicolae
What a thrilling book! It is all about two young boys and their contrasting lives during the Partition of India. I loved finding out all about Amar and all the cruel challenges and obstacles he was forced to fight through living on the rough streets during the partitioning of India. However, I also greatly enjoyed discovering about the history of this great event, that happened in Southern Asia after the Second World War, when British India was divided into two independent countries: Pakistan and India. 

It being right after the end of World War Two when the British were still in control made the event particularly interesting too as there must have a been a lot of tension and pressure after the end of the war, especially for the British who had just finished an excruciatingly horrible couple of years.

To conclude, I believe this book was very interesting and gripping, making me want to keep reading continuously to find out more and more about what will happen to Ibrahim and Amar as they go on their journey to safety. 

Personally, I would say if you are hungry for some adventure, if you are hungry for a book that will glue you to your sofa in interest then this book is for you and I would certainly recommend it!

Review by Livvie
In the book, we are introduced to a boy called Ibrahim and on his way from escaping India, his home, he meets a bit called Amar. Amar had been brought up very differently from him and as the boys spend more time together it is clear that their up bringing forms a barrier between them. They face a lot of challenges and dangers, attacked by many during their attempt to escape but the walls soon breaks as they become less and less of enemies to each other. They become very close, brothers even.

The entire book is filled with suspense, and I like chapter 11 because it was very intense. It seemed as if seemed Amar was backstabbing Ibrahim and it left me on the edge of my seat. Would Amar suddenly turn on his friend after everything they’ve been through? I just had to keep reading to find out.

The ending of the book to me is heart-breaking. Amar and Ibrahim part ways at the end. At peace with each other. It is very upsetting to see them go after all the near-death experiences they had been through together. But I also enjoyed the ending because I was happy for them to see that they came so far since they first met, when they didn’t even like each other.

The two young boys could represent some of the conflicts that Pakistan and India faced during the Partition. Ibrahim being India and Amar being Pakistan. I like how it shows both sides because it gives me a better understanding if the characters. It was very clever to switch perspectives.

In my opinion, the book is brutal and powerful. It is a great overview of an important period in history which I have not been taught before. Right from the beginning, I am thrown into the life of Ibrahim and feel for him as I learn more about his character and read about what he goes through. I found the ending a real punch to the stomach.

In a nutshell, the book was compelling as well as informative. Really an excellent read. I definitely recommend it!

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