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India’s border meanders over 9,000 miles from Pakistan to Myanmar, crossing desert, fertile plains, rivers, and snow-capped mountains. India’s border is also the site of a massive crisis of statelessness, with hundreds of thousands of people stripped of their citizenship and entangled in the region’s ever-shifting— and often arbitrary— boundaries.
Suchitra Vijayan takes us to the thick of it in her book Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India, detailing seven years of travel amongst people living in the margins of her home country. Through vivid and painful vignettes, Vijayan captures human stories that would otherwise remain untold; and in doing so, brings the impacts of a legacy of colonialism, state violence, and government corruption into clear view.
Suchitra Vijayan was born and raised in Madras, India. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The Nation, and Foreign Policy. A Barrister by training, she previously worked for the United Nations war crimes tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda before co-founding the Resettlement Legal Aid Project in Cairo, which gives legal aid to Iraqi refugees. She is an award-winning photographer and the founder and executive director of the Polis Project, a hybrid research and journalism organization. She lives in New York.
Dr. Amrita Ghosh is a research fellow at SASNET (South Asia Center, Sweden) and an associate faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute of Social Research. Ghosh is also co-editor of the coming anthology: Tagore and Yeats: A Postcolonial Reenvisioning (2021), which covers themes of translation, authorship, the Nobel controversy between the two writers.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.