2009-10 AM Fictions of India - Expert Group on History

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Expert Group on History


cf. page 46: Indian Mutiny 1857-8 Indians first war of independence Result: housecleaning of the Indian administration, the direct rule

cf. page 108: The Big War 1878-1880 Second Afghan war The first of three Interventions of the British Empire in Afghanistan to save their supremacy and stop the Russian expansion = Great Game

The Great Game was an expression for the battle between Great Britain and Russia for the dominance over Central Asia during 1813 - 1947. It came into mainstream consciousness becasue of the novel.


Events in (Indian) history with connection to the plot:

Book I

Adaam Aziz returns to Kashmir (5) Ghandi returns to India in 1915

Aadam examines his future wife through a perforated sheet (26) WWI

Sees her face when she has a headache (28) End of WWII

They marry and move to Amritzar Public and peaceful mourning over the continuing presence of the British (37) Protests against the Rowlett Act

April 13th 1919: peaceful protests, Aadam sneezes and stumbles, rescued by his nose Jallianwallah Bagh massacre. Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer and his troops open fire on unarmed croud

Marriage of Mumtaz and Nadir Khan (72) Mumtaz’ illness coincides with… …atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 1945)

Matrimony fails Failure of “Quit India”-movement

August 15th: Birth of Saleem (156) “Birth” of India / Indian Independence

Book II

Saleem’s birth celebrated by newspapers, politicians (167) Saleem popular as a baby Public enthusiasm about independence, Nehru popular

Snakes escaping all over the country, perceived as omens, religious warnings (187) Nehru announces: “We are a secular state” (187)

Saleem’s sister setting fire to shoes, compared to Nasser impeding progress of the world (207) Suez Crisis (1956)

India: “impoverished, underdeveloped country” (238) Need for Western development aid, inefficiency, corruption Social injustices: Wide gap between rich and poor (240)

Saleem “triggering off the violence which ended with the … … partition of the state of Bombay” (265-266) - Language Riots 1960

Contrary aims, ideologies, philospohies at the Midnight’s Children conference (316) Political diversity in India, Communists the largest single opposition (Election of 1957, 307) All India Congress majority party

Conference of Midnight’s Children falling apart, Saleem looses one finger (352) Rivalries and loathing among the Children of Midnight – “Mirror of the nation” (353-4) War with China (Sino-Indian War 1962)

Exile in Pakistan: at General Zulfikar’s home, Ayub Khan visiting, (commander-in-chief) announces coup, Saleem moves pepperpots in order to illustrate troop movements described by General Zulfikar (402-3) Coup in Pakistan in 1958, military takes over control, martial law

Saleem’s nose drained Ceasefire in Sino-Indian War

Saleem dreams about Kashmir, this dream becomes “common property of the nation” (457) Saleem “dreamed Kashmir into the fantasies of our rulers” (471) “Hidden purpose” of the war: to eliminate Saleem’s family (469) Sept 22nd: 3 bombs on Rawalpindi…(474) Indo-Pakistani War 1965