Blurb (as on Goodreads):
It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.
Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani is unlike any other partition story I have come across. The story is a Half-Muslim, half-Hindu 12 year old’s view on partition and her constant need to know why a line through a piece of land requires bloodshed and hatred.
Nisha lives with her father, grand mother and her twin brother Amil. On her 12th birthday she receives a diary and decides to write about her everyday life in form of letters to her mother, who died during childbirth. But these letters of happiness suddenly turn painful and emotional and they are forced to take a journey to modern day India as they are Hindu and hence can’t live in Pakistan.
The writing has been kept simplistic, but the message stands strong. Nisha wonders what fault it is of her and her family to be forced to leave her home in such a cruel manner. She is terrified and needs her mother to tell her that it is all going to be okay. The plot is full of innocent yet valid questions on the crimes associated with partition and whether or not the bloodshed was absolutely necessary.
This story doesn’t span through generations but is all about one child’s ordeal and trauma, which gives her nightmares every night. The separation and hurt has been written beautifully and it did touch my heart throughout.
Purchase Links: |Amazon Paperback|
**Huge thanks to Penguin India for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own**