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Born at the stroke of midnight and named after the Hindu
god of destruction, Shiva is Saleem’s rival and counterpart. Switched
at birth with Saleem, Shiva is robbed of his affluent birthright
and raised in abject poverty. Blessed with a pair of enormous and
powerful knees, Shiva is a gifted warrior and, therefore, a foil
for the more mild-mannered Saleem. Shiva represents the alternate
side of India: poor, Hindu, and as aggressive as Saleem is passive.
As a young child, he is the leader of a street gang and possibly
a murderer. He is driven by a determinedly individualist perspective
and grows up unable to form any human attachments. Although he is
a violent character, he is, nonetheless, a tragic figure, damaged
and shaped by the forces of history and class. During the 1971 war
between India and Pakistan, Shiva lives up to his name and becomes
a war hero, eventually promoted to the rank of major. Along with
his military reputation, Shiva also becomes a noted lover among
the women of Indian high society, siring a number of illegitimate
children. In the end, Shiva hunts Saleem down and turns him over
to one the camps opened during Indira Gandhi’s state of Emergency,
where Saleem, along with the other midnight’s children, is administered
an operation that renders him sterile. In this way, Shiva manages
to effectively destroy the children of midnight.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Midnight’s Children!