Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India

We rated this book:


Almost every page in Modern India details atrocity and assassination. The chapters are transcribed from notebooks filled during the author’s interviews with members of border communities in countries that neighbor India. With commendable organization, Suchitra Vijayan covers life in countries where safety is rarely an option on either side of the sometimes disputed border.

At first, the lengthy introduction suggests that she might get the violence off her chest, but her findings follow the same theme from one country to the next, until the survival of each town and village seems to be at risk.

Vijayan visits the Afghanistan-Pakistan border then moves on to Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, and Pakistan. China is given short shrift, with the author focusing on the 1962 war with India. Nagaland, India’s northeast state, garners significant attention as the site of a fierce battle fought against the British in World War II. One visitor who was there from England to scatter her husband’s ashes confides to her Nagaland host: “We are worried about the Islamification of Britain. I hear you have the same problem.”

Modern India is complex. The author successfully copes with multiple details, although the book is long. It seems that the stories would come across more affectively if told visually, on film.

Reviewed By:

Author Suchitra Vijayan
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Melville House
Publish Date 25-May-2021
ISBN 9781612198583 Buy this Book
Issue July 2021
Category History