The narrative technique used by Rushdie in this fiction is background
linear story telling. The protagonist has turned into an impotent
fellow and he believes he is nearing his death.
The book is the linear account of the events that concerned his life
which he is writing down and also explaining them
to Kamala. Kamala is his caretaker in the difficult moments. Still, she
tries to egg him on (both sexually and otherwise) but fails.
The story starts in Kashmir around 1915 when protagonist was not even
born and his Grandfather (a Kashmiri Muslim) returned from Heidelberg
(Germany) after completing his Medicine course there. He soon became
famous in the Valley as an excellent Doctor. He fell into love with the
daughter of a blind Muslim landowner. He married her and after the
death of his mother and father they decided to relocate to Agra (a city
in UP). On their way to Agra, they however stayed in Amritsar for some
time. There protagonist's Grandfather miraculously escaped from the
Jalianwala Bagh tragedy (in 1919) where most of the persons present
Afraid of the incident they hurried to Agra where the Grandmother gave
birth to 3 daughters and a son. After several incidents, middle
daughter married protagonist's father Salim.
Husband and wife relocated to Mumbai in 1947 (just before India's
independence, as the prevailing situation did not allow them to stay
there) and took advantage of a leaving Englishmen to get possession of a
good house rather cheaply. The protagonist was born on August 15,
1947 at exact 12:00 a.m. There was one other child who was born
at the exact stroke of Midnight, that of their servant.
After that the account of Midnight Child's life starts. He discovered
when he was around 10 years old (while sitting in a closet he saw his
mother changing her clothes) that he has a special power to peep into
the minds of other people. He peeped into the mind of his mother and
discovered that her affections are for her lover and not for her
husband. Soon thereafter he discovered that there were above 700
children who were born the same night (15th August 1947 between 12:00
midnight to 1:00 am) and all have on or the other special power.
He started to held the conference with all the midnight children at
midnight and they discussed how to help India achieve her destiny.
They had to relocate to Pakistan temporarily due to his father's
illness and terrible loss in business that left them bankrupt.
the Midnight Child discovered that his special power no longer worked.
So he found that his destiny was linked with India and India alone.
After their visit to Pakistan they came back to India where due to an
operation performed on his nose, he lost his special power.
Finally they relocated to Pakistan permanently.
There both his parents died. His younger sister became a Nun devastated
at the sudden turn of events (In between, our protagonist also proposed
to his sister as he had started loving her) He was admitted into
Pakistan army. During Bangladesh's war of independence, he was sent to
Dhaka in 1971. From there he again got back to India. The story passes
through several historic moments and finally culminates with the
protagonist's claim that the purpose of Emergency in 1977 was to strip
all the Midnight children of their special powers. So all the Midnight
Children were assembled in a special room in Varanasi and special
operations performed on each of them to strip them of their powers.
A superb plot becomes a classic in the deft hands of Salman Rushdie.
His experiment with the English usage and lucid account of the things
make this book a gem. There are few points that I would like to
highlight in the end: 1. This book is inclined towards India and
Pakistan is not favorably painted in the whole book. 2. It also
highlights the progressive Islamic inking. 3. It is a satire on the
politicians. 4. It is linked with the historical events of significance
in the most realistic way possible and is thus an interesting history
of the Indian Subcontinent in 20th century. 5. It has elements of
all the Midnight Children despite their special power suffer until the
very end. 6. The use of language is very powerful and influential.
I have deliberately skipped some significant events of the story so as
not to rob you of the suspense element while you go through it.