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Saleem Sinai is the protagonist and narrator of Midnight’s
Children. He is born, along with one other child, at the
exact moment of India’s independence. His identity, however, is
switched at birth. As a result, he is raised by a prosperous family
in Bombay, while his counterpart and future rival, Shiva, is raised
in poverty. Saleem has the powers of telepathy and a preternaturally
acute sense of smell, which allow him to find the other children
of midnight and create the Midnight’s Children’s Conference. As
he approaches his thirty-first birthday, he says he is nearing death.
His body is literally falling apart, and it’s only a matter of time
before he crumbles into dust. Driven by a desire to beat his biological
clock, Saleem narrates his life story to his devoted and loving
caretaker, Padma. His tale, which begins with his grandfather Aadam
and is at times unreliable and contrived, represents not only his
individual life story but also the entire history of postcolonial
India. All the major events in his life correspond to important
political events in Indian history, leading him to compare his narrative
to religious texts. Given his fantastic birth and extraordinary
powers, the prime minister of India, Indira Ghandi, seeks to destroy
him along with the other midnight’s children.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Midnight’s Children!