Pluto Press Logo

Flash sale! 80% off most ebooks for 48 hours only.




On the Blog

How Long Can the Moon Be Caged?
Audio Sample

How Long Can the Moon Be Caged?

Voices of Indian Political Prisoners

by Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia

Read by Anu Anand, Sam Dastor, Sahera Chohan, Raj Ghatak and Seema Bowri

A powerful look at authoritarian India through the experiences of political prisoners

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.

In this unique book, Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia look at the present of India through the lived experiences of political prisoners. 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 Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The 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.

Anu Anand is a BBC World Service anchor/presenter with 22 years experience in international news and current affairs. Anu has worked all over the world, reporting major stories like the death of Mother Theresa, the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Nepal’s devastating earthquakes in 2014 and several Indian elections.

Sam Dastor was born in Bombay, India. His films include Made, Such a Long Journey, Jinnah and most recently The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. On radio he has made innumerable broadcasts for Radio 3, Radio 4 and the BBC World Service including playing with Sir John Gielgud in Forty Years On and Ariel to his Prospero. Sam has recorded many audio books for which he has won awards, including the prestigious Audiofile Award.

Sahera Chohan is an accomplished television, radio and corporate presenter. She presented a number of shows for the BBC, including Countryfile, The Really Useful Show, and the hard-hitting documentary series, East, for which she received a Royal Television Society nomination for best on-screen talent. Sahera currently works as a Leadership Development Facilitator and Coach in Business. 

Raj Ghatak is a London based actor with a Green Card. He won a Best Actor award for his portrayal of Amir in The Kite Runner on stage, and was also nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for playing Sweetie in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams. On stage Raj has appeared in many original ground-breaking productions, he recently finished the multi Olivier Award winning stage adaptation of Life of Pi at the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End. 

Seema Bowri is a London based, Brit-Indian actress. Over the years, her voice work includes commercials for the Department for Trade & Industry, the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police and the British Army, promos for
Cbeebies and BBC Worldwide and she's made educational recordings for Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.

'A telling account of repression and resistance in the new India.'

- Jean Drèze, Indian economist

'Those who want to understand the nature of today’s political regime in India need to read this book. Focusing on the situation of dozens of political prisoners whose words had never been reproduced so extensively so far, it shows how the Modi government is criminalising dissent. The demise of the rule of law is precipitated by the instrumentalization of the security apparatus and the making of a 'parallel regime of truth'.'

- Christophe Jaffrelot, Professor of Indian Politics and Sociology, King's College London

'An important testament to the dystopian state of the nation through powerful documentation of the incarceration of dissent in contemporary India.'

- Alpa Shah, author of 'Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas'

'A brave and necessary record of how behind tall prison walls, some of India’s finest hearts and minds are locked away by a state fearful of their dreams. A book of aching, terrible beauty, bearing witness to the stubborn endurance of idealism, of courage and humanity shining through soul-numbing injustice'

- Harsh Mander, writer, human rights and peace worker, teacher

1. A Season of Arrests
2. Wages of Impunity: Cracking Down on Dissent
3. The Lies Factory
4. A Community in Resistance
5. Small things
6. Voices of Indian Political Prisoners
7. Name the Names
Epilogue: When the State Enters Your Home

Published by Pluto Press in Aug 2023
Paperback ISBN: 9780745347981
eBook ISBN: 9780745347998
Audiobook ISBN: 9780745349282

Listening Length: 6 hours 9 minutes 7 seconds.

Version: Unabridged Edition