The Night Diary
‘The Night Diary’ is a series of diary entries by a young girl named Nisha around the time of India’s partition.
Born to a Hindu father and Muslim mother, Nisha lives (in present-day Pakistan ) with her father, younger brother, grandmother, and cook- Kazi. Her father is a doctor and mostly stays busy. Nisha’s mother is no more, and Nisha yearns for her mother’s love and misses her. She is a shy young girl and feels reluctant to share and express her feelings. The diary becomes a means to connect with her mother as Nisha makes each diary entry in the form of a letter addressed to her mother. In these letters, she openly expresses her feelings and experiences.
With the country partitioned and violence rising, Nisha and her family find themselves on the wrong side of the border. They have to leave everything behind and head toward the other side of the border. Nisha is disheartened as she has to leave her home, which also means parting with Kazi, the Muslim housekeeper, who has served the family for a long and is like a family member. With their lives in danger, the family starts a perilous journey across the border and joins the exodus of huge populations from both sides. Each diary entry describes all the hardships they go through, how they hide their Hindu identities to save themselves, and how they meet different people – some who are helpful and others who are not.
Since the story is narrated from the perspective of a young girl, it sensitizes the reader about the hardships children face and the mental trauma they have to endure in such trying times. This book is also a poignant reminder of India’s past when India finally got freedom from British rule but at a huge cost – The country got divided, many people became homeless, and many others lost their lives. The author has successfully created a thought-provoking and impactful narrative.
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