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Suchitra Vijayan
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Suchitra Vijayan is a writer and a political analyst. A Barrister and a human rights advocate, she previously worked for the UN war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She co-founded and was the Legal Director of Resettlement Legal Aid Project, Cairo. Suchitra spent the last two years researching and documenting stories along the contentious Durand Line.

She is currently working on her project titled Borderlands along India’s borders. The project is conceived as a travelogue chronicling stories along India’s borderlands, covering six of India’s border with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Burma. A part visual anthropology and part an attempt at understanding the Indian state, its pathologies and the fringes it governs.

Entries by Suchitra Vijayan

The Fallacy of Failed States

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2014 | 6:09 PM

A critique of the annual Failed (Fragile) State Index by Fund for Peace


"There is no steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and at the last one pause..." - Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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A Disposable Life: Sexual Violence and State in India

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Almost two weeks ago, I saw the image of two young girls suspended from the mango tree. It was a macabre image full of agony. Men, women and children stood around, and some sat beneath these bodies, in mourning and disbelief. The police had failed to act. They had refused...

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Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a 'Very' Special Cell

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 2:54 AM


The report, "Framed, Damned, Acquitted," by the Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association*, documents 16 cases where those arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in India were accused of being operatives and agents of various terrorist organizations -- like Al Badr,...

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Decoding Hamid Karzai

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 11:06 AM

By Suchitra Vijayan and Prakhar Sharma

Karzai has retreated from many ideological and political positions in the face of recalcitrant events and shifting context. The most irreconcilable are his opinions about the Taliban as well as his views on the role of the U.S. in Afghanistan.

Over the...

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Taming of the Vamp

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 8:52 AM


When I first read of the Myth of Sappho, I was reasonably troubled that a famed Greek poetess would jump off the Leucadian cliffs for love of Phaon, a deeply flawed man. Why would a woman like Sappho kill herself over unrequited love?...

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Devyani Khobragade: The Person Behind the Headlines

(40) Comments | Posted December 27, 2013 | 1:39 PM

I met Devyani early this year, at a dinner following a book reading at Columbia. We were seated next to each other and soon started talking about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Devyani had previously spent time in Pakistan. It was a matter of time before we realized that we had common...

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Happy Birthday, Professor Chomsky

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2013 | 10:05 PM

Noam Chomsky celebrates his birthday today. After 40 years of activism he remains a potent symbol of dissent.

Chomsky remains a coherent critic of United States foreign policy. His predictions about society come with such clarity that Christopher Hitchens remarked that they "are of a banal accuracy." He stands out...

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Eulogizing Mandela, the Political Prisoner

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 9:43 AM

Mandela is a saint and a symbol. Today in the euphoria of eulogizing, we have forgotten the man behind the saint. Mandela was a political prisoner under sentence of life imprisonment. While we pray tribute to his memory, we need to acknowledge the many men and women on this planet...

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When Saints Rule? Aung San Suu Kyi and the Politics of Sainthood

(3) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 6:57 PM

By Suchitra Vijayan and Michael Brooks*

Photo: Creative Commons/totaloutnow

"It is no sign of benediction to have been obsessed with the lives of saints, for it is an obsession intertwined with a taste for maladies and hunger for...

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The Black Photographer: Race and Photography (a Conversation With Brent Lewis)

(2) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 5:31 PM


"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line" wrote historian and sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois for the Exhibit of American Negroes in 1900, Paris Exposition. Du Bois compiled three albums containing 363...

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Inherited Audacities: What a Girl Learns Growing Up Around Non-Conformity

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 11:22 AM

Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird says, "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man whoever lived." My father is the bravest man I know. On July 21st, 1994 a gang of thugs...

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Rhetoric of a Borderless World

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 4:49 PM

Suchitra Vijayan annd Michael Brooks*


Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in his book New Middle East argued that in a world of ballistic missiles (and now drones) which target people with ease across thousands of miles, there is...

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Good Things Come to Those Who Hustle!

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Off late, I climb out of bed in the morning and think, I'm not going to make it. I harness the remaining exhausted parts of myself and march to my regular cafe. As I walk up the stairs these words greet me every single morning, "Good things come to those...

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A Journey Through India's Borders

(3) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 12:54 PM


"We have already lost Afghanistan. Why are you fiddling with the edges?" asked a British sergeant in Bagram, Afghanistan while I was waiting to hitch a ride back to Kabul. I had spent the last six weeks embedded with the U.S. Army in small...

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