Midnight's Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition
In Midnight's Furies, Nisid Hajari brings his reportorial experience as Asia editor for Bloomberg View to bear on the shocking violence that accompanied the creation of Pakistan and the end of the British Raj in India. Hajari provides an almost day-to-day account of the disastrous political posturing and egregious miscalculations that culminated in genocidal riots and proxy wars during the summer of 1947.
He frames the events surrounding Partition like a Greek tragedy, with epic, larger-than-life figures--Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of the Indian Congress; Mohammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan; Mahatma Gandhi--at best failing to ease religious tensions between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, at worst encouraging sectarian violence. None of the major players, however, could have predicted the immense tsunami of hatred that would wash over India in the months prior to and immediately after independence. Built-up tensions and escalating reprisals erupted into full-scale slaughter, which Hajari depicts with horrific intimacy.
Nightmare visions pepper the pages of this often-overwhelming history, but to a purpose: depicting the psychological scars that have dogged Pakistan and India, leading to everything from outright wars to state-sponsored terrorism and nuclear armament. He makes a convincing case that before these wounds are addressed and healed, little progress can be made in the subcontinent. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books