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 Saleem’s power of telepathy is stronger than Shiva’s gift of war. Shiva, the supposed son of Wee Willie Winkie and his wife Vanita, is named after the gods of destruction and procreation, and is born with a set of “menacingly knocking knees,” which are reflective of his power. Shortly after Saleem and Shiva’s birth, a midwife named Mary Pereira swaps the two babies in her own “private revolutionary act,” effectively switching rich with poor. Saleem is brought up in Shiva’s rightful life, and he assumes Shiva’s role as the leader of the Midnight Children’s Conference, the gathering of all the children born during the midnight hour of India’s independence, and the metaphorical “mirror of the nation” of India. Shiva repeatedly tries to usurp Saleem’s power, and he sabotages all of Saleem’s efforts to identify the children’s purpose in the newly independent India. Shiva is also the biological father of Parvati-the-witch’s son. Parvati traps Shiva into impregnating her, knowing that he will lose interest in her after she is pregnant, allowing an impotent Saleem to claim her fatherless baby. Shiva, who ultimately becomes a soldier in the Indian Army, destroys the magicians’ ghetto where Saleem and Parvati live with their newborn son during the state of emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, and Parvati is killed in the process. After Gandhi’s emergency, Shiva is never heard from again, and Saleem continues to raise Parvati’s son.