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


Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia




In How Long Can The Moon Be Caged, Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia look at the present of India through the lived experiences of political prisoners.

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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.


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.


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 PostGQThe Boston ReviewThe 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.

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Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia





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