2009-10 AM Fictions of India - Expert Group on (Post-)Colonialism

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Expert Group on (Post-)Colonialism

Group: Representations of India


- Kim‘s journey with the lama starts in Lahore (which today belongs to Pakistan) - Come as far as Benares - Make an excursion into the Himalayas, to the very edge of India (quests reach a climax) - Return to the plains => No borders that hinder Kim‘s travel

- Connection of places through the Grand Trunk Road and by the railway “The Grand Trunk Road at this point [at Benares] was built on an embankment [...], so that one walked, as it were, a little above the country, along a stately corridor, seeing all India spread out to left and right.” (p. 63) - The Grand Trunk Road (former Sadak-e-Azam (“great road”) was improved by the British during their colonial rule and renamed “Grand Trunk Road”, one of the major roads in India and Pakistan) - The “te-rain” (railway introduced by the British) ->essential to ensure British colonial rule? – readable as “terrain”? “[...] at every few kos is a police-station.” (p. 57)

Postcolonial readership creates its own perception of the Indian society as they tend to give equal opportunities for everyone to be mentioned and recognized: Open questions: Should the Secret Service (Great Game) be on the same place as the other parts of society -> postcolonial reading? Or should it be above everything else -> imperialistic reading?


- Portrayal of outcaste colony of an unnamed town in colonial India - Creation of two worlds - After Bakha‘s talk to Colonel Hutchinson he comes to see a mass of different people who want to attend a speech by Ghandi

    -> Grand Trunk Road and railway mentioned

“It was the Grand Trunk Road near the railway station of Bulalash.” (p. 134)

- Only situation in the novel in which social harmony is explicitly stated “Men, women and children of all the different races, colours, castes and creeds, were running towards the oval.” (p. 136)

- Symbolic meaning of the Grand Trunk Road? (>comparable to its function in Kim ?)

- No major focus of British colonial rule?

Midnight's Children

- Significance of mobility - Saleem’s family moves house frequently

                          -> Acts  of moving house linked to negative events

- From Kashmir to Amritzar: People are killed during a peaceful morning (p.62), the hummingbird is killed (p.50) - To Pakistan: Saleem’s family is killed by a bombing raid - To India: Magican ghetto is destroyed (p.599), midnight’s children are sterilized (p.612)

- As opposed to Kim and Untouchable, Midnight’s Children does not only covers India’s colonial period

- Various settings linked to historical events - Illustration of separation of India - Representation of India and Pakistan - Saleem and Shiva as opponents in India in every respect

- Position of the British?