If British India had not been partitioned in 1947, its population would today be comfortably the world's largest. At c1.5 billion, Midnight's Descendants (the offspring of those affected by `the midnight hour' Partition) already outnumber Europeans and Chinese; and they are growing faster than either. By 2020 they will constitute a quarter of the world's entire population. As well as comprising the peoples of what is now called `South Asia' (the preferred term for the partitioned subcontinent of modern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, plus Nepal and Sri Lanka) they are widely established across the globe.

Midnight's Descendants is the first general history ever published to treat the region as a whole. Correlating and contrasting the fortunes of all the constituent nations over the last six decades affords unique insights into the tensions and conflicts that divide what is being hailed as one of the world's most dynamic regions.

Written by a widely respected expert on the region, the book will be the first account to incorporate the rich story of South Asia's transnational, or `diasporic', peoples. It will examine attitudes towards their homeland of the 22 million overseas South Asians, and will assess their contributions to the self-image of the parent states, to economic survival in the case of Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and to India's globalised achievement.

Like Midnight's Children, Midnight's Descendants will be expansive and tumultuous in the great tradition of India's narrative epics.