Midnight’s Children

Midnight’s Children

by

Salman Rushdie

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The Widow / Indira Gandhi Character Analysis

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 Midnight Children’s Conference. Following the climax of Midnight’s Children, The Widow forcibly sterilizes Saleem and the other children of midnight.

The Widow / Indira Gandhi Quotes in Midnight’s Children

The Midnight’s Children quotes below are all either spoken by The Widow / Indira Gandhi or refer to The Widow / Indira Gandhi. 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 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 3: A Wedding Quotes

“Women have made me; and also unmade. Form Reverend Mother to the Widow, and even beyond, I have been at the mercy of the so-called (erroneously, in my opinion!) gentler sex. It is, perhaps, a matter of connection: is not Mother India, Bharat-Mata, commonly thought of as female? And, as you know, there’s no escape from her.”

Page Number: 465
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 3: Midnight Quotes

[T]he Emergency had a black part as well as a white, and here is the secret which has lain concealed for too long beneath the mask of those stifled days: the truest, deepest motive behind the declaration of a State of Emergency was the smashing, the pulverizing, the irreversible discombobulation of the children of midnight. (Whose Conference had, of course, been disbanded years before; but the mere possibility of our reunification was enough to trigger off the red alert.)

Related Characters: Saleem Sinai (speaker), Aadam Sinai, The Widow / Indira Gandhi
Page Number: 492
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Widow / Indira Gandhi Character Timeline in Midnight’s Children

The timeline below shows where the character The Widow / Indira Gandhi appears in Midnight’s Children. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2: At the Pioneer Café
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
...from her herbs, as he has felt this fever before—Saleem shivers and speaks of a Widow, who with the help of the Hand, has come to destroy the children of midnight.... (full context)
Book 3: The Shadow of the Mosque
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
When Saleem returns to India, Indira Gandhi ’s New Congress Party is in full power. Saleem is struck by a sudden sympathy... (full context)
Book 3: A Wedding
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Saleem agrees, thinking also of the Widow, and claims that even “the great cosmic energy” is “represented as a female organ.” According... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
As public discontent with Indira Gandhi grows, Parvati begins the first stages of labor, which in total, lasts thirteen days. During... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
On June 25, 1975, just as Indira Gandhi is declaring a state of emergency, Parvati gives birth to Aadam Sinai, a perfectly formed... (full context)
Book 3: Midnight
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Saleem’s story 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”... (full context)
Identity and Nationality Theme Icon
Saleem’s nose smells trouble, and soon the Constitution is altered to give Indira Gandhi absolute power over India. He also smells something rotten, something he discerns as “retributive knees.” (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
...himself. Saleem soon smells danger again, and he knows that the “truest, deepest motive behind” Mrs. Gandhi ’s Emergency is to destroy the children of midnight. (full context)
British Colonialism and Postcolonialism Theme Icon
While captured by the Widow, Saleem tells his captors everything they want to know, including all the information about the... (full context)
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
On New Years’ Day, Saleem is visited by the Widow’s Hand, and by the end of the day, each member of the Midnight Children’s Conference,... (full context)
Book 3: Abracadabra
Sex and Gender Theme Icon
Saleem continues his story, and after his release from the Widow’s imprisonment, he returns to the magicians’ ghetto and finds Picture Singh there with his son,... (full context)