Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children

by

Salman Rushdie

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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 the colonized. For example, Aadam is westernized—meaning he has been educated in European schools—yet he still finds value in traditional Indian culture. He also abandons his Muslim faith, and similar to his future country of India, supports a secular state instead of a state-sponsored religion. Like Saleem, Aadam has a massive nose, “Kashmiri blue eyes,” and supports a more progressive India. He encourages his wife to exit purdah, and he assists in Mahatma Gandhi’s hartal. Allegorically, Aadam represents the struggle of modern India under the continued control of the British and beyond independence. Many of Aadam’s struggles aren’t resolved with liberation alone, such as his ambivalence in his belief in God, and these struggles are passed on to Saleem, where they are central in the development of a new nation. Aadam lives to be an old man and dies, deranged and bitter, under the care of his wife.

Aadam Aziz Quotes in Midnight’s Children

The Midnight’s Children quotes below are all either spoken by Aadam Aziz or refer to Aadam Aziz. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Midnight’s Children published in 1980.
Book 1: The Perforated Sheet Quotes

One Kashmiri morning in the early spring of 1915, my grandfather Aadam Aziz hit his nose against a frost-hardened tussock of earth while attempting to pray. Three drops of blood plopped out of his left nostril, hardened instantly in the brittle air and lay before his eyes on the prayer-mat, transformed into rubies. Lurching back until he knelt with his head once more upright, he found that the tears which had sprung to his eyes has solidified, too; and at that moment, as he brushed diamonds contemptuously from his lashes, he resolved never again to kiss earth for any god or man.

Related Characters: Saleem Sinai (speaker), Aadam Aziz
Related Symbols: Noses
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 1: Hit-the-Spittoon Quotes

“I started off as a Kashmiri and not much of a Muslim. Then I got a bruise on the chest that turned me into an Indian. I’m still not much of a Muslim, but I’m all for Abdullah. He’s fighting my fight.”

Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 2: Love in Bombay Quotes

Women have always been the ones to change my life: Mary Pereira, Evie Burns, Jamila Singer, Parvati-the-witch must answer for who I am; and the Widow, who I’m keeping for the end; and after the end, Padma, my goddess of dung. Women have fixed me all right, but perhaps they were never central—perhaps the place which they should have filled, the hole in the center of me which was my inheritance from grandfather Aadam Aziz, was occupied for too long by my voices. Or perhaps—one must consider all possibilities—they always made me a little afraid.

Page Number: 119-20
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 2: Revelations Quotes

What leaked into me from Aadam Aziz: a certain vulnerability to women, but also its cause, the hole at the center of himself caused by his (which is also my) failure to believe or disbelieve in God. And something else as well—something which, at the age of eleven, I saw before anyone else noticed. My grandfather has begun to crack.

Related Characters: Saleem Sinai (speaker), Aadam Aziz
Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Midnight’s Children LitChart as a printable PDF.
Midnight’s Children PDF

Aadam Aziz Character Timeline in Midnight’s Children

The timeline below shows where the character Aadam Aziz appears in Midnight’s Children. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: The Perforated Sheet
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Saleem’s story flashes back to Kashmir, 1915. His grandfather, Aadam Aziz, kneels to pray, and after striking his nose on the ground, three drops of... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...had hardly changed since the Mughal Empire—there is no military presence and few Englishmen. As Aadam looks around the Kashmiri valley, his nose begins to itch. (full context)
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Aadam is twenty-five and has been away at a German medical school for five years. Now,... (full context)
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Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
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Aadam reflects on college and his friends, Ingrid, Oskar, and Ilse, German anarchists who mock his... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Upon his return to Kashmir, Aadam finds his father housebound after a stroke and his mother, having exited purdah, running the... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
As Aadam rolls up his prayer-mat, he sees Tai, the old boatman, approaching on his ferry from... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Aadam daydreams, recalling his childhood when he once asked Tai how old he really was. Tai... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Aadam is roused from his daydream as Tai approaches shore. Tai tells Aadam that the daughter... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Aadam arrives at home, where his mother complains of a headache and rash. Embarrassed about removing... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Breaking away from his mother, Aadam returns to Tai’s boat to be ferried to his new patient. Tai appears upset, and... (full context)
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When Aadam arrives to examine his new patient, Naseem, Mr. Ghani tells him that his daughter’s usual... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Mr. Ghani states that the women are his daughter’s protectors and orders Aadam to examine Naseem through the hole—from the other side of the sheet. Ghani claims that... (full context)
Book 1: Mercurochrome
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Saleem continues writing his story, again making reference to Scheherazade. He begins with Aadam and his mother, who resents her son’s visits to examine Naseem. Mr. Ghani has taken... (full context)
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
For three years, as the Great War rages on far away from Kashmir, Aadam falls in love with Naseem through the perforated sheet, despite his mother’s protests. Aadam’s mother... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
On the day World War I ends, Naseem complains of a headache, and Aadam is finally able to see her face through the perforated sheet. When Aadam lays eyes... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...boatman refuses to bathe or change his clothes. He repeatedly floats his boat past the Aadam’s home, causing the flowers to die, and when the villagers who hire his services ask... (full context)
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Aadam’s father falls ill and dies, and his mother follows shortly after. Ilse Lubin comes to... (full context)
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Aadam asks Mr. Ghani for Naseem’s hand in marriage, and he is happy to oblige. Aadam... (full context)
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Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
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Aadam and Naseem are married, and the perforated sheet is utilized on their wedding night, providing... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Saleem flashes back to 1919, where Aadam is in the city of Amritsar. The busy city streets are a far cry from... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
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Aadam and Naseem are stuck in a hotel in Amritsar because the trains are not running... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Naseem is upset because Aadam has asked her to “move a little” during sex and has told her to come... (full context)
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During the hartal, Aadam remains in Amritsar treating those injured by rioting mobs in the street. He bandages wounds... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
As public tension rises in Amritsar, Martial Law is declared and Aadam refuses to leave in case more people need his help. He happens upon a peaceful... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
As bodies fall dead onto Aadam, the metal clasp of his bag digs into his chest, leaving a severe bruise that... (full context)
Book 1: Hit-the-Spittoon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Saleem’s story flashes back to Agra in 1942, where his grandfather, Aadam, has come down with the “virulent disease” of optimism, begun in the name of Mian... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
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Aadam’s optimism fades in the presence of Naseem, who has morphed into an exceedingly unpleasant woman... (full context)
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Saleem tells of an argument ten years earlier in 1932, when Aadam goes behind Reverend Mother’s back and fires their children’s religious tutor because he is “teaching... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
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...to spit tobacco into a receptacle from increasing distances. Saleem describes an old photograph of Aadam and Rani meeting the Hummingbird, along with his personal secretary, Nadir Khan, who enjoys writing... (full context)
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Running through the streets of Agra, Nadir hides in a cornfield near Aadam’s house and is discovered by Rashid, the rickshaw boy. Rashid recognizes Nadir as the Hummingbird’s... (full context)
Book 1: Under the Carpet
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
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...dogs finish their work, the authorities are unable to identify the assassins, or their pay-masters. Aadam is summoned to the university by Major Zulfikar, Brigadier Dodson’s A.D.C., to write the Hummingbird’s... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Saleem’s story continues with Aadam sitting on his “thunderbox”—his personal term for his toilet—considering a laxative. Suddenly, a “cowardly” voice... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...three daughters, Alia, Mumtaz, and Emerald—collectively known in town as the “three bright lights”—she forbids Aadam to hide Nadir away in their home. Aadam yells, “Be silent, woman!” and proceeds to... (full context)
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Major Zulfikar comes to call on Aadam to “tie up a few loose ends.” He is suspicious of Nadir’s disappearance after the... (full context)
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Mumtaz, Aadam’s favorite daughter, takes to silently caring for Nadir in the basement, and while they never... (full context)
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...to 1943, and his grandfather’s home is still in the grips of Reverend Mother’s silence. Aadam tries to convince Nadir that he is no longer in danger, but Nadir refuses to... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...her sheets. Mumtaz too falls ill, and Nadir fears that she may have pneumonia. Worried, Aadam gives Mumtaz a thorough exam and is shocked to discover, after two full years of... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...marriage does not depend on sex, Reverend Mother unleashes three years of pent-up silence, blaming Aadam for bringing Nadir into their home and allowing this sham marriage. As she yells, Emerald... (full context)
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Major Zulfikar agrees not to press charges on Aadam for harboring Nadir if he agrees to allow him to marry Emerald. Aadam agrees, and... (full context)
Book 1: Tick, Tock
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Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
On the last night before independence, alone in Agra, Aadam Aziz is compelled to open an old tin trunk, which contains old magazines and Lenin’s... (full context)
Book 2: The Fisherman’s Pointing Finger
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
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...an incredibly large baby, who drains both his mother and wet-nurse of milk, and like Aadam Aziz, he has a large, bulbous nose (which constantly drips “goo”). His skin is fair... (full context)
Book 2: Snakes and Ladders
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Fragments and Partitioning Theme Icon
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...further into alcoholism and depression, Amina writes her parents for advice and three days later, Aadam and Reverend Mother arrive in Bombay from Agra. Reverend Mother is not impressed with Amina’s... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
...the time Amina goes into labor for the second time, Saleem falls ill with typhoid. Aadam treats his grandson the best he knows how, but his Western medicine fails to make... (full context)
Book 2: Revelations
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...of mourning. She tells Pia that she is to come and live with her and Aadam (they will be moving to Pakistan soon to be near Emerald), and together they will... (full context)
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On the twenty-second day of mourning, Aadam Aziz sees God, and on the twenty-third day of mourning, he tells his family of... (full context)
Book 2: Jamila Singer
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Saleem soon finds out about the death of his grandfather, Aadam Aziz. The Indo-Pakistani relationship continues to deteriorate, leading to a closing of the boarders. Saleem... (full context)
Book 2: How Saleem Achieved Purity
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Following Aadam’s death, Reverend Mother and Pia move to Pakistan. Reverend Mother does not mourn or mention... (full context)
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After Aadam’s death, Saleem finds himself dreaming about Kashmir, even though he has never been there. His... (full context)
Book 3: Midnight
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...continues in the winter of 1975-6, in the middle of Mrs. Gandhi’s Emergency, where young Aadam Sinai is sick with tuberculosis. There is “something darkly metaphorical” about his illness, and Saleem... (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
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As Aadam’s illness rages on, he doesn’t grow and he makes no sound. He doesn’t cry or... (full context)