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*Sentence Outline:

  1. Introduction
    • Overview of Midnight’s Children as a blend of magical realism and historical fiction
    • Thesis Statement: This paper will analyse how Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children uses a blend of magical realism and historical fiction to offer a postcolonial perspective and challenge orientalist stereotypes, highlighting India’s complex historical, social, and cultural fabric in the context of its transition from colonial subjugation to independence.
  2. Background Information
    • Definition and scope of postcolonial theory
    • Emergence and interdisciplinary nature of postcolonialism
    • Introduction of Orientalism by Edward Said
  3. Significance of Protagonist and Antagonist
    • Saleem as a symbol of India’s diverse cultural identity and postcolonial perspective
    • Shiva as a representation of the darker side of postcolonial existence
    • The complex relationship between Saleem and Shiva in challenging orientalist stereotypes
  4. Post-Colonialist and Orientalist Analysis of Other Characters
    • A contrast of traditional and modern Indian womanhood, reflecting societal transitions in post-colonial India and Pakistan.
    • A subversion of Orientalist portrayals, represented as a strong and assertive character who actively engages with and challenges Saleem’s narrative.
    • Symbolic representations of political authority and diverse national voices, respectively, highlighting the struggle between elitist control and the plurality of identities in post-colonial India.
  5. Colonial Legacy, Symbolism & Narrative Technique
    • Examination of British colonial legacy through characters and its impact on post-colonial India’s political life
    • Exploration of the social, cultural, and political fabric affected by colonialism
    • Symbolism in Midnight’s Children
    • Narrative Technique
    • Rushdie’s embrace of fragmentation as a reflection of the complex nature of reality
  6. Criticisms
    • Reception of the novel as a work of fantasy or history in different contexts
    • Complexity of narrative structure and shifting perspectives
  7. Conclusion
    • Midnight’s Children as an allegory for the complexities of postcolonial India
    • Invitation to critically examine constructs of history, identity, and power
    • Midnight’s Children, as a work which exposes orientalist stereotypes and explores the diverse realities of postcolonial societies

I. Introduction
In the kaleidoscopic canvas of world literature, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children occupies an esteemed place as a seminal work that melds history, magic, and the vicissitudes of individual lives. Set against the backdrop of India’s tumultuous journey from colonial subjugation to independence and partition, the novel is an audacious blend of magical realism and historical fiction. The novel’s rich tapestry of characters, events, and motifs offer an ample ground for exploring diverse themes such as Post-Colonialism and Orientalism. Through an intricate blend of magical realism and historical fiction in Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie offers a postcolonial perspective and re-evaluation of India’s complex historical, social, and cultural fabric, while simultaneously challenging orientalist stereotypes, which this paper will analyse.

II. Background Information
Post-colonial theory delves into diverse experiences like migration, slavery, and resistance, along with facets of difference such as race, gender, and place. It engages with pivotal European discourses, including history, philosophy, and linguistics, and hinges on the essential acts of speaking and writing. Although none of these elements are essentially post-colonial, they collectively shape the rich tapestry of this field (Ashcroft 21). As a critical intellectual approach, postcolonial theory scrutinises the enduring social, political, and cultural forces of colonialism and imperialism, even after formal colonial rule has ended. Originating in the mid-20th century amid global decolonization waves, this multifaceted field intersects various disciplines, including literature, history, anthropology, and political science.
Postcolonialism was born from the fight against colonial occupation and imperialism, with its success leading to a powerful challenge against the political and conceptual foundations of these dominating systems (Young 4). The term ‘postcolonial’ doesn’t merely denote a period after colonialism but signifies a theoretical approach involving a conscious resistance to the coloniser’s attempts to ‘other’ the colonised. This theory aims to deconstruct colonial narratives, challenge entrenched power structures, and amplify the voices of the marginalised and subaltern groups. Building on the foundational ideas of postcolonialism, Edward Said introduced the concept of Orientalism, a term that has since become central to postcolonial theory. In his influential book, Orientalism, Said defines this as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient (3). It’s an ambiguous framework used by the West to represent the East as ‘other’ and ‘inferior’ (Said 40). Through his critique of Orientalism, Said argues that the stereotypical representations of the ‘Orient’ in Western literature and scholarship are not innocent reflections of reality, but rather constructions that serve the political purposes of domination and control.
In Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie presents the initial years following India’s independence as a time of internal conflict. The novel illustrates a struggle between democratic elements embodied by democratic institutions and protective measures and authoritarian forces. It also portrays the ongoing tension between the central government seeking unity and various groups promoting division due to language, ethnicity, religion, and local differences in the diverse nation, thus challenging the central authority and pulling it in different directions (Shamshayooadeh 14). Through its portrayal of post-independence India, Midnight’s Children explores themes of postcolonialism, by illustrating the complex socio-political dynamics that emerged after the end of colonial rule, and challenges Orientalist narratives by highlighting the diverse experiences and identities within the Indian subcontinent.

III. Significance of Protagonist and Antagonist
Being born at the exact moment India achieved independence on August 15, 1947, Saleem is inextricably “handcuffed to history” (Rushdie, Midnight’s 2) of his homeland (Kırpıklı 4). His life, like that of his country, is marked by a series of dramatic upheavals and transformations. He is so deeply entwined with his nation’s history that his personal identity is rooted in the mythology surrounding the children born in the first hour of India’s independence—the so-called “Midnight’s Children”. These children embody the spirit and potential of the new nation, representing the hope for progress and the dawn of a new era of national prosperity. Saleem’s unique telepathic connection to these children serves as a metaphor for the diverse voices and experiences that make up the newly independent nation. Due to the circumstances of his birth, he serves as the junction where personal and political narratives intersect and clash, symbolising his nation’s map (Jovanovska 126). Moreover, The Midnight’s Children Conference, where Saleem utilises his telepathic abilities to convene a gathering of other children born at the exact stroke of midnight, serves as a platform for dialogues and inner voices to emerge, representing children from various regions of the country and reflecting the lives of ordinary people in India. Conference provides an opportunity for each distinct reality within the nation to be expressed and acknowledged. The conference encapsulates the theme of the novel, as the state’s focus on the midnight’s children signifies their embodiment of the multicultural fabric of a recently established and independent nation (Kırpıklı 6). Finally, this theme also symbolises the diversity of postcolonial India, with children from different backgrounds and regions representing the multitude of voices and experiences that contribute to the nation’s tapestry. However, the conference also reveals the challenges of fostering unity in a nation with such diversity, as the children often hold differing perspectives and struggle to find common ground. Thus, it can be said that Saleem’s possession of telepathy potentially mirrors his role as a symbol of India’s diverse cultural identity (Kırpıklı 9). In essence, as Abuawad points out, Saleem becomes a conduit for the diverse voices of his country, likened to a ‘radio receiver,’ a metaphor originally used by Rushdie to describe him as being even better than “All-India Radio” (Rushdie, Midnight’s 161; Abuawad 153).
Saleem, the biological child of a financially disadvantaged Hindu woman and a rich Englishman, is swapped at birth by Mary Pereira, his future Christian caretaker. Mary exchanges him with Shiva, a child of the Muslim Sinai family who, like Saleem, is born at the very moment of India’s independence. Mary Pereira’s “private revolutionary act”—exchanging the babies to provide a life of privilege to the poor child and condemning the wealthy child to a life of poverty (Rushdie, Midnight’s 115)—echoes a key narrative theme of situating Indian identity within the subcontinent’s religious and linguistic diversity. The motif of switching babies complicates the concepts of origin, identity, tradition, and history, challenging the national unity project by symbolically obliterating the divisions upon which it depends. The abundance of parental figures serves to situate both Saleem and Shiva in the embrace of Indian history. As the true midnight children, born simultaneously with the birth of the nation, they and all other midnight children are “fathered by history” (Rushdie, Midnight’s 116). The passage explains that children across the new India share a dream, being not only the offspring of their biological parents but also children of the era—birthed, metaphorically, by history. This phenomenon can occur, particularly in a nation that is itself akin to a dream of an independent country. (Jovanovska 127).
The revelation that he was switched at birth with another child shatters Saleem’s sense of self and forces him to grapple with the complexities of his identity. His mixed heritage symbolises the hybrid identities that emerged from the colonial encounter, as individuals and communities navigated the intersection of different cultural, religious, and social influences. As a character possessing a sense of authority and a historical purpose, Saleem personifies the essence of creation, while Shiva, his darker counterpart, symbolises the force of destruction. The historical and narrative coherence demands the fall of Saleem’s Gandhian idealism under Shiva’s violent influence and the realities of caste and ethnic tensions in India. If Saleem symbolises the imagined pure essence of the nation, Shiva represents the undesirable other that contaminates this purity. While Saleem encounters India through the lens of his family’s relative wealth and his elevated social standing, Shiva experiences the same nation through the hardships of poverty, leading to physical violence, begging, cruelty, and an inevitable descent into crime. Consequently, the otherness embodied by Shiva in its negative and destructive form becomes an integral part of the self that Saleem seeks to build—a self that, despite embracing diversity and mixed heritage, remains oblivious to certain unpleasant truths, such as the harsh side of India personified by Shiva. To Saleem, Shiva is abjected as the “Other” as Said in his work Orientalism has remarked – he is seen as foreign to the self, yet persistently looming at its edges, threatening its very existence (Jovanovska 143). Saleem is perpetually shadowed by the spectral presence of Shiva, underscoring his own status as the Other within the family and national framework where he has carved out a niche for himself and, more significantly, as the bearer of the authorial imprint affixed to the text he is composing. (Jovanovska 258).
Saleem’s life journey serves as a symbolic representation of the trajectory of the envisioned India: once a distinct cultural entity before colonial rule, India has to transition to a local government that essentially mirrors the former British regime after achieving independence. Echoes from the colonial era continue to influence and shape the postcolonial present and future. Both Saleem and India falter in their aspirations because their visions are poorly conceived (Chang 38). Paradoxically, war ushers in tranquillity, and devastation paves the way for new beginnings. Shiva, a proponent of conflict, has fathered thousands of children before the post-independence government even initiates efforts to sterilise Midnight’s Children. The government resists the notion of its people wielding power over them, yet the legacy of Shiva may actually foster such empowerment (Chang 39). Briefly, Shiva, Saleem’s adversary, encapsulates the darker side of postcolonial existence. Unlike Saleem, Shiva is also born at the dawn of independence, but his story is rooted in the hardships of poverty, having been raised in the Bombay slums. This stark contrast in upbringing compared to Saleem and his biological parents leads Shiva to transform into a radical figure, favouring destructive unification over peace and diversity (Kırpıklı 8). In other words, despite his harsh upbringing, Shiva rises to a position of power and becomes a symbol of the harsh realities of postcolonial India.

IV. Post-Colonialist and Orientalist Analysis of Other Characters
Amina Sinai and her daughter, the Brass Monkey; later known as Jamila Singer, represent two contrasting images of Indian womanhood, aligning with traditional and modern roles respectively. Amina Sinai, Saleem’s mother, embodies the traditional Indian woman’s role. Her life and choices reflect the social, cultural, and personal constraints of her time. She is compelled to divorce her impotent poet-lover, Nadir Khan, to fulfil her societal role as a mother. Then, she marries Ahmed Sinai, her sister’s suitor, changing her name from Mumtaz to Amina, signalling a loss of identity. Despite her love for Nadir Khan, she conforms to her duties as Ahmed’s wife, and after a warning about the potential consequences of infidelity, she grows prematurely old and stops seeing Nadir. Her life is marked by sacrifices, societal pressures, and personal heartbreak, which exemplify the traditional roles and expectations faced by many Indian women of her era​ (Rosewall​, Amina Sinai). On the other hand, the Brass Monkey, Saleem’s sister, embodies the role of a modern, independent woman. She is portrayed as a fiery and headstrong character, unafraid to challenge norms and expectations. As Jamila Singer, she begins a successful singing career in Pakistan, earning the title “Angel of Pakistan” and garnering widespread adoration, including from her own brother. In other words, in Pakistan, it is not Saleem who holds the position of power, but rather Saleem’s sister. Her captivating voice has captivated the nation, causing Pakistan to fall deeply in love with her (Chang 35). She exercises agency and independence in her choices, such as when she delivers Saleem to the Pakistani Army after he suffers amnesia. Despite being born a Muslim, Jamila is attracted to Catholicism and joins a nunnery following the Indo-Pakistani War, further highlighting her autonomy and individuality ​(Rosewall​, Jamila Singer)​. These contrasting characters allow Rushdie to explore the changing role of women in post-colonial India and Pakistan. Amina and Jamila’s stories present a juxtaposition of traditional and emerging identities, reflecting the societal transitions of their time. As the nation seeks to redefine itself after the end of colonial rule, its people, too, grapple with evolving identities. The orientalist approach, on the other hand, could be seen in the way these characters are shaped by their cultural and social contexts, and how they navigate these spaces. Amina and Jamila’s stories shed light on the complex dynamics of gender, tradition, and modernity in the context of post-colonial India.
Padma, Saleem’s devoted listener and eventual lover, is another character who subverts Orientalist representations. Often, Orientalist discourse portrays Eastern women as submissive, and lacking agency. However, Padma is depicted as a strong, assertive woman who actively challenges Saleem’s narrative and asserts her own perspective. Padma does not passively and silently consume Saleem’s narration. Instead, she interrupts him, poses questions, scolds him, ridicules his implausible tales, and occasionally manages to persuade Saleem to adopt a more straightforward storytelling approach. Saleem’s interactive connection with Padma, who represents the audience, holds great significance for him. He considers her an indispensable listener, his “necessary ear” (Rushdie, Midnight’s 147). Saleem openly acknowledges that he adjusts his narrative to some degree in response to Padma’s demands and expectations, utilising her reactions as a guiding force (Viswanathan 7). Her character disrupts the Orientalist stereotype of the submissive Eastern woman and presents a more nuanced portrayal of Indian femininity.
Another interesting character in the Midnight’s Children is the Widow, a solitary representative of the ruling apparatus and the political elite, whose sole aspiration is absolute power. As such, she is portrayed monologically, lacking any nuances or subtleties in her motivations. On the other hand, there are the numerous Children of the Nation, embodying all social classes, castes, and races, whose voices find expression through Saleem’s narration. Their number, symbolically represented as one thousand and one, holds significance due to its magical openness and reproductive nature. It signifies the realm of night, magic, and alternative realities—a number cherished by poets but despised by politicians who perceive alternative worldviews as threats. Thus, the children embody the magical and poetic elements, characterised by endless fluidity and exploration of alternative possibilities, juxtaposed with the political aspect that strives to maintain the status quo and resents the expansiveness of the imagination. Through Saleem’s perspective, they embody the essence of the nation, mirroring its diversity, and thus naturally position themselves as antagonists to the structures of power governing the nation—represented concretely by the formidable Widow, who embodies the historical figure of Indira Gandhi in Rushdie’s narrative persona. The Widow, too, aspires to be the soul of the nation (Jovanovska 128).
The Widow, occupying the role of the nation’s leader Indira Gandhi, harbours an ambition to become its central figure and essence, alluded to cleverly by the slogan of Indian politician Dev Kant Barooah, “Indira is India and India is Indira”(“‘Indira Is India,India Is Indira’; JP’s Crusade…”). However, in this particular case, the copula does not establish a sense of sameness, despite the nearly identical parallelism between its two components. This disparity is emphasised both on a literal, semantic level and, more significantly, through the symbolic division achieved by Saleem’s narrative between India and Indira. India’s formation and growth are represented through the life of the narrator, Saleem, and his identification with other midnight children, while Indira’s extreme and destructive policies hinder the unification of the nation’s diverse elements and the healing of its profound historical wounds. This conflict, which essentially encompasses the clash between the elite and the masses, the One and the Many, stands as the central theme of the novel, enabling an exploration of the diverse facets of the contemporary postcolonial nation.

V. Colonial Legacy, Symbolism & Narrative Technique
Rushdie critically examines the political legacy of British colonial rule through Widow. He portrays the corruption and authoritarianism of post-independence political leaders, suggesting that these issues are partly a legacy of the colonial era. The novel suggests that the structures of power and governance established during the colonial period continued to shape political life in India long after independence, contributing to ongoing social and political challenges. Widow is depicted as authoritarian figures who wield power in a manner reminiscent of colonial rulers. The Emergency period under Indira Gandhi’s rule, characterised by widespread human rights abuses and suppression of civil liberties, is depicted as a dark chapter in India’s post-independence history. This suggests a critique of the authoritarian tendencies in post-independence Indian politics, which Rushdie implies are a continuation of the autocratic governance structures established during the colonial period.
Rushdie not only presents the political legacy of British colonial rule through Widow, but also presents the same legacy through India itself, exploring its impact on the social, political, and cultural fabric of the nation. The novel portrays the tumultuous events of the partition of India and the ensuing communal violence, highlighting the devastating effects of colonial rule and the trauma of decolonization. The partition, which led to the creation of India and Pakistan as separate nations, was a direct result of British colonial policies. It was a traumatic event marked by widespread violence and displacement, with millions of people forced to migrate across the newly drawn borders. In Midnight’s Children, Rushdie portrays these tumultuous events through the experiences of Saleem’s family and other characters, highlighting the human cost of these political decisions. Rushdie also explores the social and cultural impacts of colonial rule. For instance, he depicts the influence of British culture and values on the Indian elite, as exemplified by the character Saleem’s grandfather, Aadam Aziz, who is educated in Europe and struggles to reconcile his Western education with his Indian identity. To explain, during his medical studies in Europe, Aadam Aziz came to the realisation that India, much like radium, had been “discovered” by Europeans. He experienced a sense of being an “invention” derived from the ancestors of his colleagues (Mendes 34). This reflects the broader cultural dislocation experienced by many in the wake of colonial rule, as they grappled with the influence of Western culture and the task of defining their own identities and values in a postcolonial context.
One of the important symbols presented in Midnight’s Children is snakes, which can be interpreted through both post-colonial and orientalist lenses. From a post-colonial perspective, snakes, which play significant roles in many South Asian folktales and religious narratives, are used by Rushdie as a metaphorical tool to depict the complexities of the post-colonial condition. The dual nature of snakes, as both life-saving and life-ending, mirrors the paradoxical nature of the post-colonial state: the end of colonial rule (the venom saving life) brings about independence and self-rule, but also unleashes challenges like national identity crisis, socio-political instability, and cultural dislocation (the venom ending life). Just as Saleem learns from the board game Snakes and Ladders that every climb has a fall and every fall has a climb, post-colonial nations too experience highs and lows in their journey of nation-building and self-determination. From an orientalist standpoint, the nuanced depiction of snakes disrupts the western binary view of Eastern symbols and traditions. Orientalism often involves generalising Eastern societies as ‘exotic’, ‘primitive’, or ‘dangerous’. The snake, generally viewed as a symbol of evil in Western culture, is shown with greater complexity. Here, the snake’s venom, though capable of causing harm, also has the power to save, echoing the multifaceted symbolism of snakes in Eastern cultures, such as the association of snakes with Shiva’s power in Hindu mythology. Moreover, The snake charmer, a stereotypical figure in Orientalist representations of the East, is depicted in a complex and nuanced manner. This symbol challenges Orientalist stereotypes, presenting the snake charmer not as an exotic figure, but as a person with his own story and struggles.
Another subject is narrative technique Rushdie had used. For context, magic realism is a literary genre that blends realistic fiction with magical elements. It is often used to explore the intersection of the real and the supernatural, and to challenge traditional notions of reality. For another context, realism is a literary genre that strives to represent the world as it is, without embellishment or exaggeration. In Midnight’s Children, Rushdie uses a blend of realism and magic realism to explore the complex and often contradictory experience of postcolonial India. In a similar vein, Magic Realism serves as a literary device employed in political criticism, particularly in postcolonial literature, enabling the presentation of alternative narratives in contrast to official truths and giving voice to marginalised communities as they endeavour to reclaim their cultural heritage, convictions, and identities (Kırpıklı 9). Rogers discusses how magic realism unravels the culturally constructed nature of reality. According to his statement, magic realism strives to convey the existence or past existence of one or multiple worldviews. It represents a form of realism that diverges from the prevalent realism encountered in our present-day culture (1).
The novel’s narrative structure, which oscillates between past and present, reflects the complex temporalities of postcolonial experience. The past is never far from the present in postcolonial India, and the novel’s narrative structure reflects this. The novel jumps back and forth between the past and the present, providing a glimpse into the different ways in which India has changed since its independence. The quote from the novel, “We, the children of Independence, rushed wildly and too fast into our future, for the premature fruit always falls quickly to the ground” (Rushdie, Midnight’s 420), encapsulates the essence of this idea. For example, the recurrent motif of “leaking” is another method employed by Rushdie to depict the permeable borders between historical and current times, as well as individual and societal affairs. Throughout the narrative, the past mysteriously permeates into the present, mirroring how Saleem’s personal urges and issues are oddly echoed in nationwide political happenings. The boundaries between the past, present, future, and the distinctions between personal matters and politics, or the individual and the state, are remarkably fluid. (Sparknotes). Another example is the concept of fragmentation. Saleem professes that he, akin to his narrative, is physically disintegrating. His body is marked with fissures and, as a consequence, the past is leaking from him. His tale, spanning over six decades, is a disjointed narrative that swings between past and present and is often interrupted by Saleem’s abrupt exclamations. Apart from the narrative and physical disintegration, India is also fragmented. Shattered by the Partition, it is split into two distinct countries, with East and West Pakistan flanking India. This separation extends further when East and West Pakistan are redesignated as two distinct nations, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Within India, advocates for language-based division push for additional separations. New national identities emerge, and accompanying them are new forms of cultural identity reflecting the continuous divisions. (Sparknotes) It is to be noted that, during an interview, Rushdie characterises the evolving structure of his novel Midnight’s Children as “the shape of the attempt to impose shape on what seemed formless, which is why the book sort of has the meat on the inside and the skeleton on the outside, because the skeleton was gradually imposed on the book” (qtd. Chaudhuri 23; Mendes 40) which summarises the important role of magical realism in the novel. Furthermore, Rushdie’s idea is also characterised in the novel by Saleem’s quote: “Who am I? I am the culmination of all that preceded me, encompassing everything I have witnessed, accomplished, and experienced as well as all that has been imposed upon me.” (Rushdie, Midnight’s 379) This quote emphasises the ideas present in this paragraph, highlighting that history is not a distant memory but actively shapes the present, similar idea to Rushdie’s quote.
Depending on the context provided in the paper, one can say that in Midnight’s Children, “many real events are told and discussed in the novel but with the addition of fantasy” (Khan 7). Midnight’s Children endeavours to reconstruct historical events as they really were by reconstructing their portrayal as such, essentially generating what could be described as a “representation of the representation” (Abuawad 164). However, the crucial aspect lies in Rushdie’s utilisation of the technique of ‘literalization’ within Midnight’s Children, a hallmark of magical realism. Consequently, this technique serves to create an alternative world that amplifies the impact of all actions, particularly those of the government, compelling readers to reassess conventional historical narratives through new modes of evaluative and moral reasoning and conceptualization, which adds more to post-colonial analysis (Shamshayooadeh 72). In other words, it can be said that Rushdie challenges Orientalist representations through his use of magical realism. Orientalist discourse often exoticizes the East, depicting it as a land of mystery and magic. However, in Midnight’s Children, magic realism is not used to exoticize the East but to critique the grand narratives of history and to highlight the subjective nature of reality.
It can be discussed that in Midnight’s Children, meta-exoticism is employed as a deliberate tactic, involving the purposeful reconfiguration of the exotic. The novel engages with re-orientalist depictions of India as an exotic entity, thereby infusing identifiable orientalist imagery with renewed political significance. By doing so, it introduces alternative forms of resistance against the Western appropriation of India. The text itself undermines the exotic allure by critically examining the cultural consumption it promotes, offering a self-reflective commentary on this process (Mendes 36).
Rushdie’s use of magical realism can be understood as a manifestation of his belief in the fragmented nature of reality and representation. He embraces the magical and the surreal to capture the essence of India, reflecting its complexities and cultural hybridity. As he articulately puts it, “I think the way in which we experience the world is that we don’t have all the pieces that explain it. We have some of them; our knowledge and our experience and the accidents of our lives give us, if we’re lucky, enough pieces with which to make enough sense of the world… there are bits of the broken mirror that got lost. And so I think I’ve tried to suggest in my books that that kind of fragmented vision is actually a truthful way of writing about the world—the world seen in fragments” (qtd. in Silverblatt 201-202). Salman Rushdie’s perspective, as depicted in the text, reflects post-colonialism in his exploration of the multifaceted cultural identities of migrant writers and counters orientalism by challenging monolithic representation; through magical realism, Rushdie stitches together the scattered pieces of cultural experiences and expressions, crafting narratives that, though surreal, resonate with the intricacies of Indian culture and the migrant experience, and this fragmented storytelling aligns with his view that the broken mirror, despite its missing pieces, can still reflect truth, thus embracing the fragmented, diverse, and complex nature of Indian reality.

VI. Criticisms
It is pertinent to recall that Rushdie’s recognition with the Booker Prize in 1981 and the Booker of Bookers in 1993 for Midnight’s Children not only elevated him to the position of a postcolonial literary icon, but also intensified the visibility of Indian fiction written in English within the global literary marketplace. The New York Times praises the novel, proclaiming, “The literary map of India is about to be redrawn… Midnight’s Children sounds like a continent finding its voice” (Blaise) – a voice that, it should be noted, expresses itself in English. The London Review of Books describes it as a “brilliant and endearing novel, the latest of India’s many contributions to English fiction, and the most remarkable of them all” (Mendes 107). However, on the other hand, in the introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of Midnight’s Children, Rushdie conveyed that in the Western context, the novel is often interpreted as a work of fantasy, while in India, it is seen as considerably realistic, almost akin to a history book (“Writer Rushdie Recalls”). Furthermore, he expressed the hope that readers would recognize Saleem Sinai as an unreliable narrator and understand that Midnight’s Children falls far from being an authoritative guide to the history of post-independence India (Rushdie, Imaginary 22-23). What’s more, some of the critics have argued that Rushdie’s narrative is overly complex and difficult to follow, with its multiple plotlines and shifting perspectives. However, Rushdie acknowledged the criticism and commented on it saying; it is unsuitable for India to portray the subcontinent using “classical English, a very cool, precise, dainty, beautifully made English, which is the English of the Great Tradition” (qtd. in Dube 13). In Midnight’s Children, the author aimed to convey “the rhythms of Indian speech and thought” within an English narrative. Rushdie asserts that it is only by accomplishing this transformation of English that one can genuinely assert the authenticity of writing about India in the English language (Mendes 101).

VII. Conclusion
In conclusion, Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children serves as an allegory for the complex political history of postcolonial India. The narrative structure, symbolism, and exploration of diverse characters reflect the extraordinary diversity and the challenges of forging a unified national identity. While the novel questions the stability and singularity of the nation, it also invites a nuanced understanding and a provisional faith in the possibilities of the nation. By delving into the complexities of postcolonialism, it can be said that Rushdie encourages readers to critically examine the constructs of history, identity, and power within the context of a changing India and Eastern Orients. Midnight’s Children is a powerful literary work that challenges Orientalist stereotypes and invites a deeper exploration of the complexities of postcolonial societies.

Works Cited:

  • It should be noted here that all the page numbers used in in-text citations have been selected from the PDFs provided in works-cited section, so while searching the citations one should look into the given hyperlinks.
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  13. 13. Shamshayooadeh, George. “An Examination of the Key Features of Salman Rushdie’s Historiographic Metafiction: A Possible Worlds Theory Approach”. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Dissertation, English, Old Dominion University, 2018. PDF
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  17. Rogers, Bruce Holland. “What is Magical Realism, Really?” Speculations. Spring (2002). Web. DOC
  18. Dube, Rani. “Salman Rushdie.” 1982. Salman Rushdie Interviews: A Sourcebook of His Ideas. ed. Pradyumna S. Chauhan. Westport, Ct: Greenwood, 2001.
  19. Chaudhuri, Una. “Imaginative Maps: Excerpts from a Conversation With Salman Rushdie.” 1983. Salman Rushdie Interviews: A Sourcebook of His Ideas. ed. Pradyumna S. Chauhan. Westport, Ct: Greenwood, 2001.
  20. Frank, Søren. Salman Rushdie: A Deleuzian Reading. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2011.
  21. Rosewall, Kim. “Midnight’s Children Characters: The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer.” LitCharts. LitCharts LLC,  5 Jan 2019. Accessed June 2023.
  22. Rosewall, Kim. “Midnight’s Children Characters: Mumtaz Aziz / Amina Sinai.” LitCharts. LitCharts LLC,  5 Jan 2019. Accessed June 2023.
  23. “‘Indira Is India,India Is Indira’; JP’s Crusade…” Outlook India, 5 Feb. 2022,  Accessed June 2023
  24. Silverblatt, Michael. “Bookworm With Michael Silverblatt, Guest: Salman Rushdie.” 1996. Salman Rushdie Interviews: A Sourcebook of His Ideas. ed. Pradyumna S. Chauhan. Westport, Ct: Greenwood, 2001.

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