And, in many cases, they are children of the literary, cultural, or political elite who have long been the beneficiaries of the Indian state. Anvisha Manral March 20, 2021 09:50:40 IST So I dont know if it was empathy so much as just building a relationship with people. 4 reviews of Suchitra Vijayan Photography "Huge fan of Suchitra Vijayan Photography! 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. They are arriving from various cities and people I have never met. Co-founded the Resettlement Legal Aid Project in Cairo, Suchitra is also the founder of the Polis Project, a research and journalism organisation. Suchitra Vijayan is the executive director of the Polis Project. We believe that literature builds communityand if reading The Rumpus makes you feel more connected, please show your support! Second, Indias transformation into a nuclear state and the Kargil War is another critical moment of change. In season two, a quick flashback resolves the plotline from the previous season. I had to cut those out, as my editor felt this might not work. I have no formal training as a writer or a photographer, I taught myself and learnt by doing, failing and creating my own grammar. You can carefully craft a narrative of immigrant success but act tone-deaf about the ongoing refugee crisis. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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. Midnight's Borders by Suchitra Vijayan falls in both categories. But eventually we need all kinds of stories and arguments to emerge from what is now considered Indian American writing. My role, then, and this books role, is to find in their articulations a critique of the nation-state, its violence and the arbitrariness of territorial sovereignty.". The complexities of the Naga peace process were apparent on a visit to remote villages of Tuensang district where many of the women remained silent with others admitting they had never encountered an outsider, except Indian soldiers. She writes about war, conflict . Vijayan creates a constellation of micro-histories of people who have lived through the violence that India has committed in its borderlandsinjustice that has irrigated the glamour and prosperity we witness in what some of us in those borderlands call mainland India. Vijayan, a barrister by profession, is a founding director of Polis Project, a hybrid research and journalism organization in New York. There are some brilliant writers writing on these issuesthe problem is always that these voices dont make it to the mainstream. 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. This is the backdrop against which we map how border practices and policies have played out in India. Without a political solution, Kashmir will undoubtedly emerge in upcoming news cycles. What it means to photograph, write, report and document is an ongoing process. Vijayan undertakes a seven-year long, 9,000-mile journey along the borders of India, and interviews people living in these liminal spaces. Time to let the diplomats do the hard talk. Many of the stories didnt make it to the book because it became dangerous to identify people. Barkha Dutt: India has made its point in Pakistan. How do you protect this child? Founded in 2009, The Rumpus is one of the longest running independent online literary and culture magazines. Where does that leave us? Its been a little over a week since the book came out, and every day this week, I have woken up to emails, messages, and DMs from readers. She completed her MFA in Writing (Fiction) from the University of San Francisco where she was awarded the Jan Zivic Fellowship and is about to begin her PhD in English with a Creative Dissertation from the University of Georgia, Athens. Suchitra Vijayan undertook a 9000 mile journey over seven years to India's borderlands to write Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India. Vijayan: A writers responsibility above all is to speak the truth and make sense of our social worlds. The world we know is already being remade in ways we cant fathom. A poll asked if its OK to be white. Heres why the phrase is loaded. Born and raised in Madras, India, she is the author of the critically acclaimed book Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India (Melville House, New York). This is the age of erosion of citizenship rights, a kind of ongoing attrition against human rights, civil liberties, and in the case of India, an accelerated dilution of fundamental rights. Is that a probable solution? The third thing is: were going back to relitigating everything. Travel to States like Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland in the Northeast which share borders with China and Myanmar required Inner Line Permits, BSF soldiers followed her everywhere on the West Bengal/ Bangladesh border, and in Kashmir she was summoned to meet the local inspector at Uri. March 06, 2021 04:50 pm | Updated March 07, 2021 08:05 am IST. The revolutionary Constitution not only created a social world made of contradictions, but it very soon became the tool of suppressing dissent, deployed laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and Public Safety Act (PSA) in Kashmir. Siaan On Being Queer And Being Online, FII Interviews: Journalist Meena Kotwal On Minority Politics, Journalism Today And The Caste Divide. I think freedom and dignity enables us to really go beyond in our political imaginationbeyond just electoral politics. I want to flag two essays where I engage with this in an in-depth manner, Disaster Ruins Everything, on my work in Haiti, and what it means to photograph disaster, especially when it is Brown and Black bodies. Suchitras account of her journeys across the undefinable and ever-shifting borders between India and its neighbours is gripping, frightening, faithful and beautiful. To repurpose an old sayingall infamy is now good virality. It is always Bollywood, the ascent of Priyanka Chopra, or the diasporic loneliness. What moral and political stands we should take in the face of ongoing oppression. There are some notable exceptions, but they are an exception. Reports also identified different people as the supposed masterminds of the Pulwama attack at various points without clear sourcing. The black and white pictures accompanying the chapters add a thousand words more. Rumpus: Were you trying to write a hybrid-genre book? Suchitra was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, as the daughter of Ramadurai and Padmaja. Because you are constantly thinking about the ethical universe you are bringing this child into What values do you teach this child? To them he is a man who has settled into a job that has no future. 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. She has sung in multiple languages including Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu. In the first season, when he and his team are tasked to thwart the terrorist attack Operation Zulfiqar, the plot moves from Mumbai to Kashmir. Rumpus: The book derives its emotional strength and narrative energy from the stories of people you encounter at the borders. [4] She also worked as a dubbing artist for popular heroines like Shriya Saran and Lakshmi Rai.[5]. She is the executive director of the Polis Project . Indias intellectual, journalistic, and literary landscape is profoundly problematic and alienating. In terms of violence, there is also this tendency to photograph and display the bodies of marginalised communities when they experience violence. Vijayan reserves her own impressions for later, and allows us to know these people intimately. In Midnight's Borders (Westland Publications, 2021), author and photographer Suchitra Vijayan travels the 9,000 miles of India's borders to understand what Partition did to individual lives and . Firstly, when we talk about violence, we often talk about it only as communal violence, as if both communities have equal strength and power. This Life Draws Attention to Life Behind Bars and the Transcendent Power of Rap, Wrestling with Reality in The Big Door Prize. Ten years later, you were in Kashmir, where you 'hoped to find answers' by talking to a family that had lost a son. For instance, if you went to school with, say, Indias most powerful publisher, or your dad plays golf or socialised at the Gymkhana with the politically powerful and the culturally influential, then that system is built to get you the resources. The acts of writing, documenting, photographing, and archiving carry privileges of caste and class. In an interview with Firstpost,Vijayan talks about her book, the militarisation of borders, ethno-nationalism, and the politics of documentation. Where India ends and Bangladesh begins is a question confused by history, family and the border pillars themselves. Panitar has a one-foot-high concrete block on the side of the mighty Ichamati river marked Border Pillar No.1. Its a vicious cycle. First, does my work aid the powerful? In Midnight's Borders, barrister, political analyst, and writer Suchitra Vijayan documentsmany such telling accounts of lives both growing and barely getting by alongIndian borderlands. [6], She wrote a short story, a graphic illustration of an episode in the life of a black peppercorn called Kuru-Milaku, called "The Runaway Peppercorn".[7]. Vijayan: Chopra and others like her are a reflection of how popular culture and virality inform discourse and shape it. Even as 70% of the border with Bangladesh has been fenced, smugglers, drug couriers, human traffickers and cattle rustlers continue to cross to ply their trades. All along the border, the common refrain is, It feels like Partition is still alive., A story from near Jalpaiguri in north Bengal, that of a man named Ali, is heartbreaking. I think the way that news and mostly disinformation makes its way to us, we think of violence in very particular waysas disjointed. I almost never forget, I remember entire episodes or events since I was six years old. 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. The nation-state and its ruling class view borders as very different from the people who inhabit these liminal spaces or communities that have been affected by border making and policing practices. Her career as a playback singer now spans Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films and she has several hits in all these languages to her credit. I am repeating what I have said before, "Kashmir is Indias greatest moral and political failure. It was not going to be easy as she quickly found out. More from this author , Tags: Aruni Kashyap, Asian American, bollywood, Brahmanism, caste system, democracy, Hindu, Hinduism, Hinduphobia, Hindutva, immigrants, immigration, India, Indian American, Indian American literature, Leni Riefenstahl, Midnight's Borders, Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India, model minority, Modi, Narendra Damodardas Modi, Narendra Modi, neoliberalism, photographs, photography, Polis Project, Politics, Priyanka Chopra, south asian, South Asian American, South Asian diaspora, Stan Swamy, Suchitra Vijayan, travel writing, Filed Under: Features & Reviews, Rumpus Original.