Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children

by

Salman Rushdie

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Midnight’s Children Characters

Saleem Sinai

Saleem, the story’s protagonist and narrator, is the living embodiment of the newly independent country of India. Rushdie’s novel is largely allegorical, and the character of Saleem is the personification of his country—diverse, conflicted, and… (read full character analysis)

Shiva

The story’s antagonist and Saleem Sinai’s alter ego. Like Saleem, Shiva is also born at the precise moment of India’s independence from British rule, and he is likewise endowed with a magical power, though… (read full character analysis)

Aadam Aziz

Saleem Sinai’s grandfather, Reverend Mother’s husband, and Amina Sinai’s father. Saleem’s story begins with Aadam thirty years before India’s independence, and he is a reflection of the many effects of colonialism on… (read full character analysis)

Naseem Ghani / Reverend Mother

Saleem Sinai’s grandmother, Amina Sinai’s mother, and Aadam Aziz’s wife. Naseem is first introduced when her father, Mr. Ghani, tricks Aadam into falling in love with her. Using the “magical and… (read full character analysis)

Mumtaz Aziz / Amina Sinai

Aadam Aziz and Reverend Mother’s daughter, Nadir Khan and Ahmed Sinai’s wife, and Saleem Sinai’s mother. Mumtaz, an Indian of a darker complexion, is described as “a blackie,” whose skin tone makes… (read full character analysis)
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Nadir Khan / Qasim Khan

The personal secretary of the Hummingbird and Mumtaz Aziz’s first husband. Nadir, an amateur writer of little skill, is described as a “rhymeless poet” and a “verbless bard,” and he is a known coward… (read full character analysis)

Ahmed Sinai

Amina’s second husband and protagonist Saleem’s father. Ahmed is first introduced as the suitor of Amina’s sister, Alia; however, Ahmed quickly falls in love with Amina after she is divorced from her… (read full character analysis)

The Brass Monkey / Jamila Singer

Saleem Sinai’s sister and the daughter of Ahmed and Amina. The Brass Monkey is a feisty child who frequently sets fire to others people’s shoes (while they’re wearing them), and she forms a… (read full character analysis)

Mary Pereira

Saleem Sinai’s ayah, or nanny, and his second mother-figure. Mary is initially employed as a midwife in the hospital where Saleem and Shiva are born, and in a testament to her love for… (read full character analysis)

Parvati-the-witch / Laylah

Saleem Sinai’s wife and the mother of his son, Aadam. Parvati is a fellow child of midnight, and she is endowed with the powers of the illuminatus, or “the genuine gifts of conjuration… (read full character analysis)

Padma

Saleem Sinai’s companion and his assumed lover, although he is impotent. Saleem reads his story aloud to Padma, and she is one of the strong and independent women working in Mary Pereira’s pickle(read full character analysis)

Aadam Sinai

Parvati-the-witch and Saleem Sinai’s son. Aadam, the biological son of Shiva, Saleem’s arch enemy, is born during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, after which his mother is killed. Aadam is raised by his ayah(read full character analysis)

Major Zulfikar

Initially Brigadier Dodson’s A.D.C. (an official assistant to a high-ranking military officer), Zulfikar falsely suspects Nadir Khan of involvement in the Hummingbird’s assassination. Zulfikar falls in love with Aadam Aziz’s daughter, Emerald(read full character analysis)

Tai

The old boatman who ferries people and goods across Dal and Nageen Lakes in Kashmir. Tai is the personification of Old India, and he represents a time and place that is untouched by British colonialism… (read full character analysis)

William Methwold

The former owner of Methwold’s Estate in Bombay, where protagonist Saleem Sinai grows up. Methwold sells the four mansions that make up his estate as the British begin to exit India in preparation for independence… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Narlikar

A child-hating gynecologist, Ahmed Sinai’s business partner, and fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate. Narlikar owns a hospital in Bombay, and he delivers both Saleem and Shiva. With the help of Ahmed, Narlikar… (read full character analysis)

Aadam Aziz’s Mother

A traditional Kashmiri woman who must exit purdah and support her family after the death of her husband, Aadam’s father. As the owner of a gemstone business, Aadam’s mother must work directly with the… (read full character analysis)

Aadam Aziz’s Father

The owner of a gemstone business who becomes housebound after a stroke, leaving his wife, Aadam’s mother, to tend to his professional affairs. Aadam returns to Kashmir after medical school to find his father… (read full character analysis)

Rani of Cooch Naheen

A wealthy Muslim woman who finances the Hummingbird’s political campaign. Her name roughly translates to “the Queen of Nothing” in English, and she is Aadam’s close friend and intellectual ally when the Reverend(read full character analysis)

Mian Abdullah / The Hummingbird

A pro-Indian Muslim politician who creates the Free Islam Convocation, a gathering of Indian Muslims who disapprove of the dogmatism and intolerance frequently present in many traditional practitioners Islam. Also known as the Hummingbird, Abdullah… (read full character analysis)

Alia Aziz

The “wise child” of Aadam Aziz and Reverend Mother. Alia initially falls in love with Ahmed Sinai early in Midnight’s Children; however, Ahmed avoids proposing to Alia and ultimately leaves her for her… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Ghani

A blind landowner in Kashmir and Naseem’s father. Ghani tricks Aadam Aziz into falling in love with his daughter by setting him up. He repeatedly summons Aadam, a doctor, to his home under the… (read full character analysis)

Homi Catrack

A movie executive, racetrack owner, and a fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate. Homi is a widower who lives with his mentally ill daughter, Toxy, and he frequently has affairs with married women, including Pia(read full character analysis)

Evie Burns

A fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate and Saleem Sinai’s first love. Evie is an American who represents the European presence in postcolonial India. She is aggressive and mean, and after getting into a… (read full character analysis)

The Widow / Indira Gandhi

The former Prime Minister of India and an actual historical figure. Gandhi is a corrupt leader, and she declares a state of emergency throughout the entire state of India simply to locate and destroy the… (read full character analysis)

Brigadier R. E. Dyer

A European officer in the British Indian Army, and an actual historical figure, responsible for the massacre in Amritsar. Dyer orders a squad of fifty troops to open fire in the middle of a peaceful… (read full character analysis)

Lafifa Das

A young Hindu boy who makes a living pushing a peepshow through the streets of Agra. Lafifa is rescued by Amina Sinai when she stops an angry mob of Muslims from attacking him by announcing… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Narlikar’s Women

The female heirs to Dr. Narlikar’s fortune. After Narlikar’s death, the women move into his apartment and take over his businesses, and begin buying up all of Methwold’s Estate. The women intend to… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Sanjay Gandhi
The son of Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India. Sanjay is responsible for spearheading the Widow’s sterilization campaign and destroying the Midnight’s Children Conference.
Rashid the Rickshaw Boy
A young boy who drives a rickshaw in Agra. Rashid helps Nadir Khan hide in Aadam Aziz’s “thunderbox room” after the Hummingbird’s assassination.
Oskar Lubin
A German anarchist and Aadam Aziz’s classmate in medical school, Oskar believes that India was “discovered” by his European ancestors. He is killed when he is struck by a car during a protest.
Ilse Lubin
Oskar’s wife and another classmate of Aadam Aziz’s. Ilse comes to visit Aadam in Kashmir after Oskar is killed in a protest, and she subsequently commits suicide in the part of Dal Lake where European women are known to go to drown themselves.
Brigadier Dodson
The commanding officer of Zulfikar. Together, Dodson and Zulfikar investigate the assassination of the Hummingbird.
Emerald
Aadam Aziz and Reverend Mother’s daughter, Amina Sinai’s sister, and the wife of Major Zulfikar.
Zohar
Ahmed Sinai’s distant cousin. Zohar is not married and relies on Ahmed for financial support. She hopes that her children will grow up to marry Ahmed’s children, so that she may potentially be paid a dowry.
Mustapha Kemal
Ahmed Sinai’s business partner. Ahmed and Kemal, along with Mr. S. P. Butt, collectively own a warehouse in Agra that is burned down by the Ravana, a gang of rogue Hindus who profile and destroy businesses owned by Muslims.
Mr. S. P. Butt
Ahmed Sinai’s business partner. Ahmed and Mr. Butt, along with Mustapha Kemal, collectively own a warehouse in Agra that is burned down by the Ravana, a gang of rouge Hindus who profile and destroy Muslim-owned businesses in the area.
Shri Ramram Seth
A Hindu palmist and Lafifa Das’s cousin. Ramram gives Amina Sinai a prophecy for her unborn child as a form of repayment for saving Lafifa from an angry mob of Muslims.
Nussie Ibrahim
Saleem Sinai’s neighbor on Methwold’s Estate, the wife of Ismail Ibrahim, and Sonny Ibrahim’s mother.
Wee Willie Winkie
A poor accordionist and the assumed father of Shiva, the antagonist of Midnight’s Children.
Vanita
Wee Willie Winkie’s wife and Shiva’s mother. Vanita has an affair with William Methwold, resulting in her pregnancy with Shiva, and she dies shortly after giving birth.
Alice Pereira
Mary Pereira’s sister and Ahmed Sinai’s secretary. Alice runs off with Joseph D’Costa, the love of Mary’s life, prompting Mary to switch baby Saleem with baby Shiva.
Joseph D’Costa
A notorious Communist, wanted criminal, and the love of Mary Pereira’s life. Joseph is killed by an escaped poisonous snake, but he continues to haunt Mary for much of her life.
Sonny Ibrahim
Saleem Sinai’s best friend and fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate. Sonny is the son of Ismail and Nussie Ibrahim.
Ismail Ibrahim
A fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate, Nussie Ibrahim’s husband, and the father of Sonny. Ismail is a crooked lawyer who often attends to the legal troubles of the other residents of Methwold’s Estate. He suspended from practicing law after authorities discover his corruption.
Lila Sabarmati
A fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate, the wife of Commander Sabarmati, and Homi Catrack’s lover. Lila is shot by her husband (but survives after he discovers her affair with Homi.
Toxy Catrack
Homi Catrack’s mentally ill daughter and a fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate.
Old Musa
Ahmed Sinai’s longtime servant. Ahmed fires Musa when he is caught stealing from Buckingham Villa. After contracting leprosy, Musa is confused for Joseph D’Costa’s ghost by a distraught and guilt-stricken Mary Pereira.
Dr. Schaapsteker
The elderly founder of Schaapsteker’s Institute, a facility where scientists study snakes and test anti-venom. Schaapsteker lives on the second floor of Buckingham Villa, and he injects Saleem with snake venom when he falls ill with typhoid, saving his life when modern medicine fails.
Hanif Aziz
Saleem Sinai’s uncle, Aadam Aziz’s son, and Pia’s husband. Hanif is a washed-up movie producer who commits suicide after learning of his wife’s affair with Homi Catrack.
Pia
A famous actress, Saleem Sinai’s aunt, and Hanif’s wife. Pia has an affair with Homi Catrack, which prompts his murder and her husband’s suicide. Pia moves to Pakistan with her mother-in-law, Reverend Mother, where they are both killed in the Indo-Pakistani War.
Eyeslice
Saleem Sinai’s friend and fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate. Eyeslice is blinded early in childhood when Shiva throws a rock at him. He is the brother of Hairoil and the son of Commander Sabarmati and his wife, Lila.
Hairoil
Saleem Sinai’s friend and fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate. He is the brother of Eyeslice and the son of Commander Sabarmati and his wife, Lila.
Cyrus-the-great
Saleem Sinai’s friend and fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate. Cyrus and his mother leave Methwold’s Estate after his father chokes on an orange and dies.
Mr. Emil Zagallo
Saleem Sinai’s geography teacher.
Jimmy Kapadia
Saleem Sinai’s classmate. He is afflicted by heart trouble and suddenly dies of a heart seizure after Saleem dreams of his death.
Commander Sabarmati
A fellow resident of Methwold’s Estate and the husband of Lila Sabarmati. Commander Sabarmati is sentenced to thirty years in prison after he murders Homi Catrack when he discovers that Homi is having an affair with his wife.
Zafar
The son of Emerald and Major Zulfikar and Saleem Sinai’s cousin. Ultimately, Zafar murders his own father, slitting his throat in response to his abuse.
General Ayub Khan
The Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan after Major Zulfikar kidnaps the President of Pakistan, officially overthrowing the government.
Iskander Mirza
The president of Pakistan who is overthrown by General Ayub Khan and Major Zulfikar.
Major (Retired) Alauddin Latif / Uncle Puffs
A retired major who helps Jamila Singer become famous. He tells the public that Jamila was in a terribly disfiguring accident, and she never appears in public without her veil.
Tai Bibi
The oldest prostitute in the world, who can alter her smell to mimic anybody in the world.
The Nawab
A prince and father to Mutasim.
Mutasim
The son of a price who falls in love with Jamila Singer and vows to see her face.
The Nawab’s Daughter
Mutasim’s sister and Zafar Zulfikar’s fiancé. She stubbornly refuses to enter puberty or menstruate so that she will not have to marry Zafar.
Brigadier Iskandar
The leader of the Canine Unit for Tracking and Intelligence Activities in the Pakistani Army, where Saleem is a tracker.
Ayooba Baloch
One of the soldiers of the Canine Unit for Tracking and Intelligence Activities in the Pakistani Army. He is shot and killed by a sniper during the Indo-Pakistani War.
Farooq Rashid
One of the soldiers of the Canine Unit for Tracking and Intelligence Activities in the Pakistani Army. He is shot and killed by a sniper during the Indo-Pakistani War.
Shaheed Dar
One of the soldiers of the Canine Unit for Tracking and Intelligence Activities in the Pakistani Army. He is blown-up and killed by a grenade during the Indo-Pakistani War.
Picture Singh
A snake charmer living in the magicians’ ghetto. He is known as “the Most Charming Man in the World.” His biggest competitor is Maharaja of Cooch Naheen.
Mustapha Aziz
Saleem’s uncle and Mumtaz’s brother. Mustapha allows Saleem to live with him and his family after the war, but he kicks him out after he discovers Saleem in bed with Parvati-the-witch.
Sonia Aziz
Mustapha’s wife.
The Widow’s Hand
Indira Gandhi’s helper and the woman who sterilizes Saleem and the other children of midnight during the Emergency.
Durga
A washerwoman who serves as Aadam Sinai’s wet-nurse. Saleem believes that she is a succubus.
Maharaja of Cooch Naheen
A Bombay snake charmer and Picture Singh’s greatest competition.