As I finished reading the novel, a feeling of strangeness hummed along my skin . The words of Salman Rushdie not only inspire but also linger in inner conscience of the mind. It is one of those stories which makes one ponder over the harsh realities of the past, present and future of India for an indefinite time. ‘Midnight’s Children‘, in no uncertain terms, is not just a novel; it’s an experience of a lifetime. Rest assured, the title of the book is hardly a giveaway.
The ‘Azaad Bharat’ welcomes Saleem Sinhai at the stroke of midnight into the world on August 15th 1947. Little did he know that a simple co-incidence would handcuff the destinies Saleem and independent India together forever. Saleem experiences the ups and downs of the growing India like its shadow, its alter-ego without a choice. Rushdie describes the struggle for freedom, Nehru’s era, several wars with China and Pakistan, the emergence of Bangladesh as an entity and the National Emergency of 1971 at length. Also, he takes a dig at the then prime-minister Indira Gandhi , owing to her selfish political motives. The special powers of the ‘Midnight Children’ play a vital role as well.
The plot of the story is further lubricated with Rushdie’s rich imagination, subtle and sharp twists and overwhelmingly flowery language. Being one of the slowest and most complex books that one might come across, it sure does take a toll on the reader’s mind. However, it is safe to comment that it is a complete package. Salman Rushdie wrapping up the story somewhere in the 70s, has also successfully dealt with the onset of urbanization in our so-called ‘modern’ India, leaving behind a legacy for the future generations.
Reading ‘Midnight’s Children‘ will be no picnic and yet, it is so riveting that readers will keep reading way past midnight.
Overall Rating: 9/10
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