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Midnight's Descendants

Midnight's Descendants

A History of South Asia Since Partition

Book - 2014
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"In Midnight's Descendants, John Keay presents the first general history of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and its peoples. The book examines the complex web of affiliations--of kinship, locality, language, tribe, clan, profession, and caste--that shape relations among the countries in the region. Keay argues that correlating and contrasting the fortunes of all the constituent nations since the 1947 partition affords unique insights into the tensions and conflicts that divide the region to this day"-- Provided by publisher
"Dispersed across India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, Midnight's Descendants--the generations born since the 1947 'midnight hour partition' of British India--are the world's fastest growing population. This vast region and its peoples wield an enormous influence over global economics and geopolitics, yet their impact is too often simplified by accounts that focus solely on one nation and ignore the intricate web of affiliations that shape relations among British India's successor states. Now, in Midnight Descendants, celebrated historian John Keay presents the first comprehensive history of this complex and interconnected region, delving deep into the events that have shaped its past and continue to guide its future. The 1947 partition was devastating to the larger of the newly created states, and it continues to haunt them to this day. Joined by their common origin and the fear of further partition, the five key nations of South Asia have progressed in tandem to a large degree. These countries have been forced to grapple with common challenges, from undeveloped economies and fractured societies to foreign interventions and the fraught legacy of imperialism, leaving them irrevocably intertwined. Combining authoritative historical analysis with vivid reportage, Keay masterfully charts South Asia's winding path toward modernization and democratization over the past sixty years. Along the way, he unravels the volatile India-Pakistan relationship; the rise of religious fundamentalism; the wars that raged in Kashmir and Sri Lanka; and the fortunes of millions of South Asia migrants dispersed throughout the world, creating a full and nuanced understanding of this dynamic region. Expansive and dramatic, Midnight's Descendants is a sweeping narrative of South Asia's recent history, from the aftermath of the 1947 partition to the region's present-day efforts to transcend its turbulent past and assume its rightful role in global politics"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, [2014]
ISBN: 9780465021802
Characteristics: xxxiv, 392 pages : maps ; 25 cm


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Jun 29, 2014

"Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom."-Nehru
I'm interested in South Asian politics and history, particularly that of India and Pakistan, but I found this book by British journalist John Keay hard to get into. He maybe bites off more than he can chew but trying to deal with over 60 years of history (partition happened in 1947) in an entire region. He throws around a lot of facts, quotes, and dates without really shaping them into a compelling narrative. Better books about the region include "Indian Summer," "The Blood Telegram," "Pakistan on the Brink," "Such a Long Journey," and, of course, "Midnight's Children."


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