Book Review: Nisid Hajari, Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition

AuthorSwati Jha
Published date01 June 2017
Date01 June 2017
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 313
cover. The present volume is refreshing in content and style as the book would
definitely make the readers aware of the relevance of public administration in a
globalising world.
Alokka Dutta
Bhagini Nivedita College
Bawana (University of Delhi)
Nisid Hajari, Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition.
Gurgaon: Penguin, 2015, xx + 328 pp., `599.
DOI: 10.1177/0972262917701018
The partition of India in August 1947 was an epoch making event in the history of
South Asia. It caused immeasurable bloodshed and suffering. The migration of
population was unparalleled in terms of numbers and scale of people. This catas-
trophe was the logical result of the colonial policy of divide and rule that had been
actively pursued by the British after the Revolt of 1857. The failure of the Indian
National Congress and Muslim League has also to be blamed for this holocaust.
The partition naturally attracted the attention of a large number of scholars and
resulted in the publication of scholarly works such as Independence and Partition:
The Erosion of Colonial Power in India by Sucheta Mahajan (2000); The Origins
of the Partition of India 1936–1947 by Anita Inder Singh (1987); India’s Partition:
Process, Strategy and Mobilization by Mushirul Hasan (1993); The Sole Spokesman;
Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan by Ayesha Jalal (1985);
and An American Witness to India’s Partition by Phillips Talbot (2007). Besides,
it produced seminal works such as Toba Tek Singh by Sadaat Hasan Manto (2006),
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh (2006) and The Other Side of Silence:
Voices from the Partition of India by Urvashi Butalia (1998). These works have,
undoubtedly, demystified the phenomenon of the partition and have illuminated
the human, social and political dimensions of this momentous event.
The work being reviewed here is a valuable addition in this context by a dis-
tinguished journalist. Although it does not focus on the events leading up to the
partition, it highlights in a remarkable manner the fury unleashed during negotia-
tions about the transfer of power and after the departure of the British from the
subcontinent. It contains ten insightful chapters and a scholarly prologue.
The first part of the book contains the title page, maps and the prologue has 20
pages. The main body has 328 pages, divided into ten chapters with an epilogue,
acknowledgements, chapter-wise notes, index, bibliography and photo credits.
In the prologue, the author states that the book aims to answer the question of
how the experience of the partition created such a wide gulf between India and
Pakistan. He states that India and Pakistan, on attaining nationhood, cannot deny
shared past and economic, political, cultural and strategic similarities. He explores
the question, how, despite these similarities, the two nations became enemies in
such a short span of time. He deliberately does not go into the question: Why the
subcontinent was split or who was to blame for the massacres as he feels that there

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