ARC Review: The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

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.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Physical copy of the book by Penguin India in exchange for an honest review. Therefore, all the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Its the year of Partition & Independence – the greed and the selfish needs of the powerful leaders have displaced millions of common men, women and children who instead of celebrating the freedom from oppression had to leave not only the place they were born but also most of their worldly possessions. But the most severe effect was the fact that every human being came to be identified with their religion. People who were once friends, close like family turned on each other just because their religion and customs weren’t the same.  

The Night Diary is the journey of one such family; told in the POV of the daughter – Nisha. Her parents were the exception – her mother, Muslim and her father, Hindu. They married against the society’s wishes, though they lost the mother when Nisha and Amil, her twin brother were born.

Nisha and Amil live an almost carefree life – their father is a a well respected doctor in Pakistan and though there are some issues with the kids in school & their relationship with their unapproachable father, life is rosy!

Accompanied by their cook, Kazi, a man who is family and their grandmother, they are coasting through life when slowly but surely they start to see dissent, hear whispers and rumours about having to leave their home for the new India and all because their father is a Hindu!

Written in Nisha’s POVthis is a fresh and innocent look at a time in our country’s history that is not only rife with religious riots, but also led to the displacement of millions in this country! Nisha’s POV is rife with innocence, confusion and dismay – the changing of  the world as she knows it is jarring and at times difficult to read. 

This is a book, where the author has done a commendable job of putting forth the agony in the voice of a child who hadn’t yet learnt the cruel reality of the world.  

August is India’s Independence Month, and I do believe that this a book that every millennial should read, if only to never forget the blood and gore that lays the foundation of the country we walk free in.  

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .5



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