How Long Can the Moon Be Caged?: Voices of Indian Political Prisoners

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  • Prix régulier $32.95
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    Suchitra Vijayan, Francesca Recchia

    Publisher: Pluto Books

    Year: 2023

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 208 pages

    ISBN: 9780745347981

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A powerful look at authoritarian India through the experiences of political prisoners

Silencing and punishing critical voices is a project that lies at the heart of Narendra Modi's authoritarian regime in India. The BJP's political dream is clear: to achieve the ethno-nationalist aim of an exclusively 'Hindu' India, while targeting anyone who dares to question or dissent.

In this unique book, Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia look at the present of India through the lived experiences of political prisoners. Combining political and legal analysis with firsthand testimonies, the book explores the small gestures that constitute resistance inside and outside jail for the prisoners and their families, telling a story of destruction of institutions and erosion of rights.

How Long Can the Moon Be Caged? includes visual testimonies and prison writings from those falsely accused of inciting the Bhima Koregaon violence, by student leaders opposing the new discriminatory citizenship law passed in 2020, and by activists from the Pinjra Tod's movement. In bringing together these voices, the book celebrates the courage, humanity and moral integrity of those jailed for standing in solidarity with marginalised and oppressed communities.

About the Authors

Suchitra Vijayan is the author of the critically acclaimed Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India. Born and raised in Madras, India, her work has appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The Nation and Foreign Policy and she has appeared on NBC news, BBC World Service and NPR. She is an award-winning photographer, founding member and Executive Director of The Polis Project. 

Francesca Recchia is an independent researcher and writer. She is the editor, creative director and a founding member of The Polis Project, Inc. Francesca lived and worked for a decade in Afghanistan where, among other things, was the Acting Director of the Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture and the Culture Specialist for the Aga Khan Trust for culture. She is interested in the geopolitical dimension of cultural processes and in recent years has focused her research on the relation between (tangible and intangible) heritage, politics and creative practices in countries in conflict. Her practice-based work is grounded on an interdisciplinary approach that combines Heritage, Design, Visual and Cultural Studies.

What People Are Saying

"A telling account of repression and resistance in the new India." Jean Drèze, Indian economist

"Those who want to understand the nature of today’s political regime in India need to read this book. Focusing on the situation of dozens of political prisoners whose words had never been reproduced so extensively so far, it shows how the Modi government is criminalising dissent. The demise of the rule of law is precipitated by the instrumentalization of the security apparatus and the making of a 'parallel regime of truth'." Christophe Jaffrelot, Professor of Indian Politics and Sociology, King's College London

"An important testament to the dystopian state of the nation through powerful documentation of the incarceration of dissent in contemporary India." Alpa Shah, author of 'Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas'

"A brave and necessary record of how behind tall prison walls, some of India’s finest hearts and minds are locked away by a state fearful of their dreams. A book of aching, terrible beauty, bearing witness to the stubborn endurance of idealism, of courage and humanity shining through soul-numbing injustice." Harsh Mander, writer, human rights and peace worker, teacher

Table of Contents

1. A Season of Arrests
2. Wages of Impunity: Cracking Down on Dissent
3. The Lies Factory
4. A Community in Resistance
5. Small things
6. Voices of Indian Political Prisoners
7. Name the Names
Epilogue: When the State Enters Your Home

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