42, Moss Rose Heights, M.M Ali road, WASA Circle, Lalkhan Bazar, Chittogong 4000. She is the founder and executive director of The Polis Project, and the author of. One feedback I often got was that I had to put more of myself in this book. I had to write and rewrite this book so many times. Vijayans book begins a much-needed conversation on thinking about freedom beyond the idea of nation and its illusory lines. You need to write what you seethats why you started this project.. We live in a profoundly unequal society, where every day brings news of new devastation. Say, for instance, do we need a James Nachtwey to fly to war-torn Bosnia? It is truly the treason of the intellectuals. We could have attributed this to ignorance even a few years back; now its just silence thats deeply complicit in the Hindutva project. Indias intellectual, journalistic, and literary landscape is profoundly problematic and alienating. Perhaps that offers some protection? So now, how do we respond to this? But who carries the responsibility of that fear? This means that, for the longest time, the depiction of violence and marginalised communities has been problematic. I think this book will change the global conversation about India and shape what gets written in the future about India. Nonfiction, Travel, Fiction Member Since February 2021 edit data Suchitra Vijayan was born and raised in Madras, India. I test my practice of writing or being a photographer against this rule. Founder & ExecDirector: @project_polis @watchthestate ; Teach @nyugallatin Writer Manhattan, NY linktr.ee/suchitravijayan Born April 14 Joined May 2008 8,013 Following 80.8K Followers Tweets & replies She is actively involved in circulating urgent and underrepresented news from the world through her online platform. This is where I believe literary nonfiction becomes a powerful tool. Professor Nandita Sharmas work is an excellent way to engage with this history. The word terrorism, for instance, is used almost exclusively to refer to a particular communitybut fails to refer to state-enabled terror or the terror deployed by majority communities. That, perhaps, is the only way to avoid further destruction in the region. If you think about communities in resistance to immense violations, theyre all interconnected to climate justice. Finally, Indias current transformation, the aggressive posturing of an aspiring ethno-nationalist state, will have dire consequences for the people and the region. Even the diasporic experience is often told through this limited lens, without taking into account how diverse the immigrant experience in this country is. Vijayan: There is an elusive distance between the photographer and the photographed that cant be bridged. Now, border security policies are linked to domestic politics. Is that a probable solution? The entire episode is emblematic of a broader trend in Indian media. Rumpus: Were you trying to write a hybrid-genre book? Rumpus: Can we please talk about Priyanka Chopra, and how her rise is seen as a marker of brown achievement? In another essay from 2019, I write about the banality of bearing witness as an excuse to produce extractive work. These questions about documentation practices started long before I started this book project, and I learnt along the way. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. The post-Cold War and 90s rhetoric of a borderless world that accompanied globalisation also kick-started massive border fencing projects in India. ( I hate this word, voiceless, by the way). Midnights Borders is part investigation, part meditation on the lines drawn on land or water that separate India from its neighbours. Perhaps thats their victory. This income helps us keep the magazine alive. This article was published more than4 years ago. Midnights Borders, a work of narrative reportage, is the fruit of this journey. They are arriving from various cities and people I have never met. Midnights Borders perhaps also critiques the widely read body of work available as Indian English Writing (IWE), a literary canon that has so far told the story of India but seldom demonstrated social responsibility by acknowledging the atrocities India has committed silently within its borders. March 20, 2021 09:50:40 IST. The book was called ``a genre- bending book of nonfictionmade of stories, encounters, vignettes, and photographsabout home, belonging, and displacement.`` Her essays, photographs, and interviews have appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Nation, The Boston Review, Foreign Policy, Lit Hub, Rumpus, Electric literature, NPR, NBC, and BBC. I dont want to make this about me. Growing up I was surrounded by people who emphasised the community over anything else. One of the ways she upholds the humane in this book is through her interaction with the men in the security forces. One of the reasons I kept writing was of course all the people I met: their love and time and generosity. Francesca Recchia, a researcher and writer and former director of the Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture, is the editor and creative director of The Polis Project.. Suchitra Vijayan is a barrister, researcher and the author of "Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India." She is the executive director of the Polis Project. According to a new World Health Organization report, we lost as many as 4.7 million people in India. She has a sister named, Sunitha. Q: What was your goal with writing the book in the beginning and how did it change and drive you throughout those 8 years? suchitrav. What it means to photograph, write, report and document is an ongoing process. You can speak of confidence and body positivity and defend selling skin-lightening creams. 'Suchitra's account of her journeys across the undefinable and ever-shifting borders between India and its neighbours is gripping, frightening, faithful and beautiful. The events of 9/11 had profound effects on how border security projects and politics played out. The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Supreme Court forms expert panel to probe any regulatory failure on Adani issue, India makes renewed push for consensus at G20 Foreign Ministers meeting, Hindenburg Research report on Adani Group | Supreme Court verdict on expert committee on March 2, High debt on Vedanta books puts investors on tenterhooks, Employees Provident Fund: How to activate UAN online, 1947: Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act passed, RMA 0-1 FCB, El Clasico highlights: Barcelona leads on aggregate after beating Real Madrid courtesy of a Militao own goal. Jawaharlal Nehrus 'Tryst with Destiny'is a speech I have returned to over the past 20 years. A poll asked if its OK to be white. Heres why the phrase is loaded. Suchitra was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, as the daughter of Ramadurai and Padmaja. Our mostly volunteer-run magazine strives to be a platform for risk-taking voices and writing that might not find a home elsewhere. Vijayan creates a constellation of micro-histories of people who have lived through the violence . Now imagine how it would be for someone from a Dalit/Bahujan, Muslim, Adivasi, or working community to try to make inroads. The book was originally going to be a photographic body of work, which changed when I started writing. Book reviews and author interviews with a Southern focus. Suchitra was married to actor Karthik Kumar between 2005 and 2017. These instances are also about border practices because modern states, especially liberal democracies, expend immense energy in creating and maintaining identity categories: who belongs, and where. Vijayan undertakes a seven-year long, 9,000-mile . "Fighting for justice and human rights in India is a long and lonely battle" Nishrin Jafri Hussain, the daughter of Ehsan Jafri (from 2019) Vijayan: The photographs were the heart of this project. I have never lived under military occupation, curfew, or a looming threat of violence. The Author Suchitra Vijayan is an American writer, essayist, activist, and photographer working across oral history, state violence, and visual storytelling. Indian Foreign Secretary V.K. Vijayans lens not only captures the people but also the past through objects, such as the picture of Kotwali Gate, the remains of a medieval fort that serves as a border checkpoint rife with weeds and trees growing on it, symbolic of a state bent on rewriting history rather than preserving it. Abrogation Of Article 370 Jammu And Kashmir Statehood, BSF foils another Pakistan plot, shoots down drone in Punjab's Amritsar, Light on weight, heavy on damage: India will be able to hit deep inside Pakistan with THIS ultralightweight howitzer, Put issues related to border in 'proper place', work for its early normalisation: Chinese FM Qin to Jaishankar, In Midnight's Borders, Suchitra Vijayan meditates on belongingness, freedom and political implications of territorial demarcations. It is the fragility of human lives that remains at the very center of the book. Feminism In India is an award-winning digital intersectional feminist media organisation to learn, educate and develop a feminist sensibility among the youth. Can any of theTIMEsubscribers who loved that cover tell us now whats happening in South Sudan today? So lets be very clear that Indias intellectual literary landscape is deeply problematic, feudal, and alienating," says Suchitra Vijayan to FII, Featured Image Source: Suchitra Vijayan (@suchitrav) / Twitter Follow Suchitra Vijayan @suchitrav Author: Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India. Qin took charge as Chinese foreign minister in December, succeeding Wang Yi. Part of this process is a need to turn the lens back at the powerful. If it does, I have failed. With the phone armed with a camera, everyone is a photographer; we are all witnesses. Rohini Menon for Feminism in India, FII Interviews: Suchitra Vijayan Talks About Marginalisation, Institutional Violence & Political Imagination, Ananya is a chaotic humanities student with a deep interest in the relationship between art and society, a writing obsession, and way too many bizarre ideas involving their camera. But for me hope is radical; hope is the last bastion of our defense. The Indian State and the people of this Republic. Sometimes they are no more, but your storytelling is so invigorating that the reader doesnt forget them. On Feb. 14, an Indian paramilitary convoy was attacked. Three hundred million people who had been considered less than subjects under the British rule, divided for years by religion, language, class, and caste, would all be united under one book: the revolutionary Constitution given to India by Babasaheb Ambedkar. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The Hindu, and Foreign Policy, and she has appeared on NBC news. Vijayan: A writers responsibility above all is to speak the truth and make sense of our social worlds. After being detained at one of the checkpoints for over two hours, I made my way to one of the villages closest to the Line of Control. Suchitra is now a singer-songwriter as well, composing music on her own and in collaboration with Singer Ranjith. And join us by becoming a monthly or yearly Member. We're back with our flagship podcast 'Intersectional FeminismDesi Style!' Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle. In retaliation, the Indian Air Force carried out an airstrike on an alleged militant training camp in Balakot in Pakistans Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. I dont have apprehensions. Vijayan: Its a very generous reading, and thanks for that. Acted as the General Manager for a day and motivated employees to work for the same purpose to reinforce team . Q: You had to deal with a lot of ethical considerations as a writer and photographer, which echo throughout your and your fellow journalists work, as evaluated in your book. The events in Hathras did not happen at the border; neither did the murder and gang rape of two teenage girls in the Katra village of Budaun district, Uttar Pradesh. We cant continue to see this in neo-liberal terms like stakeholder. I think the usage of this kind of language is ineffectual; its emptied of imagination. They create cleavages of fear, xenophobia, and insecurity. Atmany points in Midnight's Borders, we see several men in positions of power view the women, who cross over from the 'other' side, as violable. When I left him (the first time), I had a one-year-old daughter. She is the founder and executive director of The Polis Project, and the author of Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India, recently published by Context, Westland. Like most women, I learnt to navigate this toxic misogyny, the threat of sexual violence, and patriarchy by merely existing as a dark-skinned woman in this country. Over the past 15 years, small democratisation through social media has enabled challenging these practices. Many come from immense privileges of caste, class, wealth, access, and resources. But who gets to speak for so many of us? Its a vicious cycle. This book ate into so much of my life. It is always Bollywood, the ascent of Priyanka Chopra, or the diasporic loneliness. There are so many nonfiction books about India published yearly but few are so important and subversive. Respond to our political present. This is a serious, often funny and deeply revealing book. M, An essential, beautifully written report from the hellish margins of a modern mega-state struggling to be a nation, of people whose lives continue to be shaped by violent political marches across age-old homes and habitats. And, in many cases, they are children of the literary, cultural, or political elite who have long been the beneficiaries of the Indian state. We play an ever more important role in these times when there is a fascist authoritarian regime in India and a deeply racist police state in the US. She was part of a music band at PSG. She lives in New York. Time to let the diplomats do the hard talk. She perfectly captured the happiness and the intimacy of the occasion, the warmth of all the people present, and the splendor of the venue. News organizations such as India Today, NDTV, News 18, the Indian Express, First Post, Mumbai Mirror, ANI and others routinely attributed their information to anonymous government sources, forensic experts, police officers and intelligence officers. No independent investigations were conducted, and serious questions about intelligence failures were left unanswered. Who is expendable, and the manufacturing of rightlessness to render people expendable. At a time when right-wing nationalism is crescendoing in India and across the world, Suchitra Vijayans Midnights Borders raises pertinent questions about the very foundations of Indias nationalism the cartography of South Asian nation-states defined by arbitrary lines drawn hastily by the British colonial administration. We still argue if something should be a massacre, a pogrom, or a riot. We also need a fundamental reframing of language. Vijayan began her journey in Kolkata. He writes about how when the Constitution was adopted, "We are going to enter into a life of contradictions. Suchitra Vijayans new book, Midnights Borders: A Peoples History of Modern India, takes a deep look at such stories by prioritizing the experiences of the silenced victims as well as lesser-known accounts from victims of state violence. Instead, we need to ask what fate awaits us. But, more importantly, I wanted my readers to walk away with a sense of empathy. They took my land, they stole my life, they stole my future, they took my nightmares and they stole my dreams too. Ali went missing in 2018. ""The historical unity of the ruling classes is realized in the state." Antonio Gramsci" I set out not to give voice to the voiceless, my aim was to put an ear to the ground and listen. No one is a stakeholder herethese are people, humans, citizens, who have been deprived of what the Ambedkarite constitution promised them. Then you sit in a room with a mother telling you that she has no idea what happened to her son and has no way of knowing if hes ever coming back. In the popular depictions of India circulating in the US, we rarely see the stories that the nations jingoistic governments have shoved under the carpet. Many of the stories didnt make it to the book because it became dangerous to identify people. You dont need a Leni Riefenstahl today. My job was to make sure that their voices were centered. Why dont people see the ground shifting beneath their feet? In Nellie (Assam) too, where over 3,000 Muslims were killed in 1983, people stared at Vijayan in confusion, no one comes here anymore, she was told.
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