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That Saleem’s birth should first be proclaimed to an angry mob foreshadows the intensely public role Saleem will play for the rest of his life. This event also provides a glimpse into the world he will be born into, a world divided by religious tension and constantly threatened by outbreaks of violence. As the story draws closer to his birth and India’s independence, Saleem begins to cryptically foreshadow many forthcoming events. He introduces his ayah, Mary Pereira, and enigmatically refers to Musa’s destruction of the world, as well as the role of fate, chance, and lies. The prophecy of Ramram represents the most significant and explicit example of foreshadowing in these sections: although we can understand very little of what he says at this point, his divination will prove crucial.

Amina’s experience with Ramram includes a shocking, vivid portrayal of the destitution and abject poverty that afflicts so much of India. In the world of Midnight’s Children, the magical and the squalid are interconnected. As Amina encounters the impoverished people she had once ignored, Ahmed and his business associates carry huge bags of money earmarked for a terrorist ransom. When the Ravana members drop the money, Saleem describes Ahmed and his partners scrounging through dirt and feces to pick it up, just as starving men, women, and children beg Amina for spare change in order to survive. The narrative deliberately oscillates back and forth between these two scenes, calling attention to the drastic divide that separates rich from poor in India.