Cracks, Framents and Disintegration in Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

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The Republic of India is an extremely diverse country. The history of the country has been turbulent with four wars since 1947, when it gained sovereignty from the British Empire after an intense struggle for independence. It is obvious that writing a novel about India and attempting to describe the history and the people of such diverse country is a complicated task. Rushdie has nevertheless done just that. In the novel Midnight's children Saleem Sinai is telling the story of his life in order to try to gain meaning with his life. He says himself that he is cracking up and he thinks that he has to tell his story before his body disintegrates. Saleem is of mixed origin: his biological father was a British, and his mother a poor Indian woman. At the nursing home, the nurse switches two babies, so that the baby of the poor Vanita, who dies while giving birth, is raised by the wealthy Amina and Ahmed Sinai. Saleem, who is born at the same instant as India gains independence from the British, is just as the other one thousand and one children born in the first hour of independence, given supernatural powers. The closer to midnight they are born, the more extraordinary are their gifts. Saleem's gift is telepathy and he can tune in the other midnight's children who do not have telepathical powers, and he can also broadcast, almost as a radio. The baby, who Saleem is switched with at the nursing home, is Shiva. As he is also born at midnight, he also has a powerful gift: he has lethal knees and after Saleem is informed of this switch, he lives in constant fear of Shiva finding out about the fact that Saleem has lived the protected life of a rich boy, which should have been Shiva's birthright, while Shiva had to live in the ghetto with a poor street-musician as his father. Saleem calls his meetings with the other children The Midnight's Children's Conference. The midnight's children are heterogeneous and come from different parts of the country. They argue and after a while they do not come together anymore. In the end, the midnight's children are destroyed before they had the chance to make a difference and Saleem is the one who helps destroying them. The novel shows that India cannot be understood as one whole, but a country that multifaceted must be divided into many different fragments in order to be understood. Saleem is writing the history of his life and the novel contains a number of mistakes, which he notices and points out, but he usually refuses to correct them. Saleem persists that things happened the way they happened, and that the person who believes someone else's history over his own is a fool indeed. The many cracks and falling apart can be understood as entirely negative. But they have positive implications too. When Saleem crashes with his bike he gets in touch with the other midnight's children and after the operation of his sinuses he discovers his supernatural olfactory sense. The story i...

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