Nisid Hajari


Praise for "Midnight's Furies"


Winner of the 2016 William E. Colby Award for military and international affairs .


Finalist for the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Book Award, the Shakti Bhatt Prize and the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award.


Named one of the "Best Books of 2015" by National Public Radio, Quartz, the Daily Beast, Amazon, the Seattle Times and Shelf Awareness


From the New York Review of Books: 

"Hajari's book is a superb and highly readable account of not just the mayhem, but the political machinations that preceded Partition."

From the Wall Street Journal:

"An engaging and incisive contribution to the vast literature on partition. ... Hajari writes with grace, precision and an unerring eye for detail."

From the Economist

"The book succeeds because of gifted storytelling. It is through his vivid description of small moments that Mr. Hajari transforms an overwhelming event into an intimate experience. ... A gripping, skillfully crafted account of an awful period of South Asian history. It deserves a wide audience."

From the New Yorker

"[A] fast-paced new narrative history of Partition and its aftermath. ... One of [the book's] virtues is its more balanced portrait of Jinnah."

From the New York Times

"A fast-moving and highly readable account of the violence that accompanied partition. ... In its finest moments, 'Midnight's Furies' is the story of what happens when a composite society comes apart."

From the Sunday Times of London: 

"Only once Partition's mistakes are acknowledged can the gulf [between India and Pakistan] be bridged. As a contribution to that cause, this book is indispensable."

One of The Guardian's "Best Holiday Reads 2015": 

"A pacey new narrative history of Partition which makes the complex and tragic story of the great divide into a page turner: no mean feat." 

From the Seattle Times

"It has often been said that this is the golden age of nonfiction books. As if to prove the validity of that statement, Nisid Hajari has offered us 'Midnight's Furies,' a compelling read, both dramatic and suspenseful. ... With the sensibilities of a novelist, Hajari artfully draws portraits of the various historical personalities involved, making the book thoroughly engaging."

From the Daily Beast

"Lucidly written and cogently argued ... Hajari's grim reprisal of those bloody weeks fully captures their horror, but he's even better at laying out the complex political interactions that led to Partition and the killings."

From the Washington Times

"There have been many accounts of this tidal wave of suffering, but it would be hard to better 'Midnight's Furies' for its unflinching gaze and far-reaching analysis of the ongoing consequences of this tragedy."

One TIME magazine's "Ultimate Summer Reads" for 2015:

One of the Los Angeles Times's top five history/current events books to read this summer. 


One of Entertainment Weekly's "Brainy & Brilliant" summer books: 


Declared a "must-read" by the New York Post


Featured as "highbrow and brilliant" in New York magazine's Approval Matrix: 


Featured in Vanity Fair's Hot Type:


Reached No. 1 on India's non-fiction bestseller list:


From the Times of India:

"Hajari offers a ringside view of history with compelling psychological portrayals of those who made it. ... The politics of 1947-48 is so chillingly contemporary that it induces a sense of deja vu."

From the Indian Express:

"With the deft touch of a novelist, [Hajari] brings alive the Partition story … with an elegance that keeps the reader turning the pages. Characters we may only have met in the dry dust of the historical record … become real, and very human, often flawed. … The narrative fairly races along."

From The Wire:

"[Hajari] has a riveting story to tell and he tells it well. ... The strength of this book is in its narrative, its marshalling of facts, and its objectivity in presenting them. ... And Hajari's fine ear for dialogue seldom lets him down."

From Open magazine:

"A well-researched tale of the last years of colonial rule on the Subcontinent. ... We could well be in the midst of a deadly thriller; Hajari maintains a tension that would please a novelist."

From the Asian Age:

"Midnight’s Furies, a brilliantly written, fast-paced account of how the Partition took place, will rank as one of the best written histories penned in recent times. ... Hajari’s storytelling so magically conjures the spirit and urgency of those times that the reader is effortlessly hurtled through a protracted and complex chapter in Indian history."

From the Sunday Guardian:

"Hajari's book has all the virtues of a fast-paced political thriller."

From Business Standard:

"Does an exceptional job in deconstructing and recreating a lucid narrative of the partition and the unfolding of events. ... It makes for engrossing reading."

From the New Indian Express:

"Hajari animates these figures of the past with wonderful detail and little-known curiosities, and the result is an unsettling time warp. Midnight's Furies is a prescient book for our times."

From Dawn:

"Hajari's book is a fast-paced, highly readable account that brings flavor and fire to a body of work that has too often been reduced to dry and unwieldy tomes that lie untouched on library shelves. His narrative is engaging and possesses an incipient urgency that grips the reader."

From India Today:

"A racy and well-written narrative."


"This well-told book is a brisk, easy read. ... The perfect start to begin educating oneself on the bloody Partition of India."

From DNA India:

"It makes for a chilling account."

From Kirkus Reviews:

"Hajari skillfully picks through this perilous history of mayhem and assassination of biblical proportions, which has left a 'deadly legacy' of paranoia, terrorism and hatred between India and Pakistan 70 years later. A carefully restrained and delineated account makes for chilling reading."

From Shelf Awareness:

"[Hajari] frames the events surrounding Partition like a Greek tragedy, with epic, larger-than-life figures. ... [He] succeeds in vividly depicting the psychological scars that have dogged Pakistan and India."

From Library Journal:

"This harrowing tale of political miscalculation and misunderstanding is recommended for all readers of history, politics and current affairs."

From Booklist:

"A fine unwinding of an epic event."

From Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World:

"Pakistan is perhaps the world's most dangerous country — a combustible mix of nuclear weapons, jihadists, bloody borders, and a dysfunctional state. You can only truly understand the country by going to its roots. Nisid Hajari does just that in this powerful, intelligent, and beautifully-written book. He finds in India's partition and its aftermath mistakes, compromises, and cowardice as well as all the ideology, venom, and violence that have now erupted onto the global stage. Hajari presents the history like a detective story and you will be swept along. Except in this case, none of us knows how it will end."

From Robert D. Kaplan, author of Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power:

"History is about grand cultural and geographical forces within which individual leaders must, nevertheless, take moral responsibility for better and worse outcomes. Nisid Hajari's meticulous study of India's birth captures this dichotomy brilliantly."

From Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival and The Dispensable Nation:

"India's partition in 1947 was a traumatic event unparalleled in its human toll since World War II. Its legacy continues to haunt both India and Pakistan and threaten global security. Yet the train of events that culminated in the paroxysm of violence and partition has remained shrouded in mystery. Midnight's Furies relies on fresh historical sources to go beyond the familiar debate about  why Hindus and Muslims were at odds over the future of India, and shows how decisions by leaders reacting to unfolding events sealed the fate of united India and produced the cycle of violence that forever marked the peoples and governments of the region. Well-researched and eminently readable, this haunting account puts into the proper perspective both history and current events." 

From Ahmed Rashid, author of Pakistan on the Brink and Taliban:

"Hajari brings new research, deep involvement and a keen intelligence to a history that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Today, with Pakistan facing unprecedented extremist violence and a hardline right-wing government in New Delhi that wants no dialogue with Islamabad, we could be on the brink of more furies being unleashed. A must-read." 

From Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire:

"The partition of British-ruled India in 1947 was a momentous event in world history, which has impacted the war on terror as well as the politics and economy of Asia to a degree that is still not fully understood. Hajari's book illuminates it with a rate political acuity, narrative verve and stylistic elegance. Unraveling canonized reputations and highlighting obscure ones, he shows how a large part of humanity came into its political inheritance, and the wounds the process left on the body politic of India and Pakistan. Anyone wondering how nuclear-armed South Asia came to be vulnerable to religious extremism will find clear and profound answers here."