An evocative account of ten sleepy towns and desolate villages standing at the edges of the country and the people who inhabit them. For most of those living in bustling metros and big towns, nationality and citizenship are privileges that are taken for granted. There are, however, thousands of Indians living in small towns and villages along the country’s borders who have more in common with citizens of neighbouring nations and yet reaffirm their Indian identities every day. Combining fascinating anecdotes from the author’s travels to these remote places and compelling interviews with locals, this book explores the lives of a host of India’s citizens who live at the periphery of mainstream India in more ways than one. From Dhanushkodi, a small strip of land at the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu and just a few nautical miles away from Sri Lanka, to Campbell Bay, which is just a few hours by boat to the Indonesian town of Aceh, Damodaran’s travels bring him face-to-face with warweary fishermen in Tamil Nadu; Bihari businessmen in Sikkim who are treated as second-class citizens in their own country; Punjabi traders in Moreh, Manipur, who pay bribes to at least ten different militant organizations to ensure their safety; ex-servicemen in Campbell Bay in Nicobar who have been resettled and forgotten by the mainland and dozens of other Indians who still believe in the idea of India in spite of their woes. As much about the places as the people who inhabit them, Borderlands is an evocative journey across a little-known India that battles daily for
identity and survival.