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Analysis

Midnight's Children Allusions & Cultural References

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

Religious References

  • Islam and The Quran
             Surah Al-A'laQ (Revealed in Mecca), Ayat Number: 19 (1.1.4)
             Al-Fatiha (1.1.9)
             Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (1.4.46 and Zulfikar is named after his sword)
             Ramadan (2.13.1)
             Eid-al-Fitr (2.13.1)
             al-`Ankabut 29:38 (2.20.23)
             Qa'aba (2.20.38)
             Sidjeen and Illiyun (2.21.59)
             Ismailism (2.22.10)
             Jannah (2.23.46)
             Muhammad ibn Maslamah (3.27.35)
             Khaled bin Sinan (3.27.35)
  • Hinduism
             Ganesh (1.1.14) (often related to Saleem)
             Goddess Lakshmi (Padma's Namesake)
             Ravana (1.5.17 and throughout)
             Arjuna (1.5.29)
             Svasti (1.5.34)
             Vishnu (1.6.19)
             Hanuman (1.6.20)
             Rama (1.6.20)
             Mumbadevi (1.7.2)
             Mount Kailash (1.7.8)
             Shiva (Shiva's namesake)
             Valmiki (2.11.1)
             Ramayana (2.11.1)
             Varuna (2.14.5)
             Gandharva (2.14.5)
             Kali-Yuga (2.14.11)
             Kali (3.25.20)
             Atharva-Veda (3.27.51)
             Maya-Shakti (3.28.22)
  • Christianity and The Bible
             Jesus (1.1.22)
             Luke 4:23 (1.1.41)
             Archangel Gabriel (1.3.21)
             Joseph and Mary (Mary Pereira and Joseph D'Costa)
             Samson (1.8.33)
             King Solomon (2.10.34)
             Mount Sinai (2.11.46)
             St. Joan (2.11.46)
             Moses (Musa's name)
             Adam and Eve (2.13.8)
  • Greek Mythology
             Diana (1.1.32)
             Persephone (1.4.30)
             Hercules
             Olympus (1.7.8)
  • Sin, the Hadhramaut moon god (2.12.33) (Saleem's Nickname)
  • Gautama the Buddha (3.24.22)

Historical References

  • Indian Independence Act 1947 (1.1.1)
  • Emperor Jehangir (1.1.23)
  • Alexander the Great (1.1.27)
  • Vorwärts (1.1.34)
  • World War I (1.2.4)
  • Treaty of Versailles (1.2.9)
  • Tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis (1.2.35)
  • Mohandas K. Gandi (1.2.41)
  • Rowlatt satyagraha (1.2.41)
  • Rowlatt Act (1.2.43)
  • Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer CB (1.2.51)
  • Jallianwala Bagh massacre (1.2.62)
  • World War II (1.3.8)
  • The All-India Muslim League (1.3.29)
  • The Quit India Movement (1.3.29)
  • Taj Mahal (1.4.31)
  • Major-General Orde Charles Wingate, DSO and two bars (1.4.37)
  • Subhas Chandra Bose (1.4.37)
  • Satyagraha Movement (1.4.37)
  • The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1.4.47)
  • Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence (1.5.1)
  • A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough (1.5.1)
  • Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell (1.5.1)
  • Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1.5.1)
  • Clement Attlee (1.5.1)
  • Aung San (1.5.1)
  • Partition of India (1.5.1)
  • Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1.5.3)
  • Battle of Copenhagen (1.5.3)
  • Nazis (1.5.34)
  • Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (1.5.35)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru(1.5.35)
  • Direct Action Day/ the Great Calcutta Killings (1.6.9)
  • The Week of the Long Knives (1.6.9)
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1.6.10)
  • The East India Company (1.7.1)
  • History of Bombay under Portuguese rule (1.7.2)
  • Charles II of England (1.7.2)
  • Catharine of the Portuguese House of Braganza (1.7.2)
  • Shivaji Bhosale (1.7.4)
  • Versailles (1.7.8)
  • Buckingham (1.7.8)
  • Escorial (1.7.8)
  • Sans Souci (1.7.8)
  • Indian Independence (1.8.41)
  • Walter Raleigh (2.9.6)
  • Aurangzeb (2.9.53)
  • Rani of Jhansi (2.9.53)
  • The Assassination of Gandhi (2.10.38)
  • Nathuram Godse (2.10.41)
  • Nasser Arafat (2.11.5)
  • Language Marches (2.12.9)
  • Maharashtra Day (2.12.9)
  • The creation of Gujarat (2.12.9)
  • Morarji Desai (2.12.31)
  • The Partition of Bombay (2.13.5)
  • Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti (2.13.64)
  • Maha Gujarat Parishad (2.13.64)
  • C. G. Jung (2.14.21)
  • The 1957 Elections (2.15.6)
  • Laika the Russian Space Dog (2.15.20)
  • The Indian Communist Party (2.15.31)
  • Haroun al-Rashid (2.15.41)
  • the Sino-Indian Border Conflict (2.18.6)
  • Nehru Dies (2.19.46)
  • the Constitution of 1956 (2.20.15)
  • Mr Ghulam Mohammed (2.20.15)
  • Chaudhuri Muhammad Ali (2.20.15)
  • Chundrigar (2.20.15)
  • General Ayub Khan (2.20.25)
  • 1958 Pakistani coup d'état (2.20.25)
  • President Iskander Mirza (2.20.31)
  • 1961 Indian annexation of Goa (2.20.44)
  • Defence Minister Krishna Menon (2.21.3)
  • Operation Leghorn (2.21.3)
  • Indian XXXIII (2.21.3)
  • General Thapar (2.21.3)
  • Mao Tse-Tung (2.21.23)
  • Chou En-Lai (2.21.23)
  • Rajasthan Chinese Internment Camps (2.21.23)
  • President of India, Dr Radhakrishan (2.21.31)
  • General Kaul (2.21.31)
  • Umayyad Caliphate (2.22.10)
  • Hajjaj bin Yusuf (2.22.10)
  • Mahmud of Ghazni (2.22.10)
  • Muhammad bin Sam Ghuri (2.22.10)
  • Sikandar But-Shikan (2.22.10)
  • Syed Ahmad Barilwi (2.22.10)
  • Bhutto (2.22.13)
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah (2.23.26)
  • Quaid-i-Azam (2.23.26)
  • Liaquat Ali (2.23.26)
  • Jinnah Mausoleum (2.22.34)
  • Fatima Jinnah (2.22.47)
  • Combined Opposition Party (2.22.47)
  • Mader-i-Millat (2.22.59)
  • Jagjivan Ram (2.23.2)
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri (2.23.2)
  • Pakistani 1964 Election (2.23.24)
  • Gauhar Ayub (2.23.24)
  • Gandhara Industries (2.23.24)
  • Sanjay Gandhi (2.23.24)
  • Maruti Car Company (2.23.24)
  • Congress Youth (2.23.24)
  • Kami Lal Desai (2.23.24)
  • Assassination of Benazir Bhutto (2.23.24)
  • Indo-Pakistani War of 1965/ Second Kashmir War (2.23.28)
  • Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (2.23.41)
  • Syed Ahmad Barilwi (2.22.46)
  • Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 (2.23.64)
  • General Yahya (3.24.7)
  • Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman (3.24.7)
  • Awami League (3.24.7)
  • The Election of 1970 (3.24.7)
  • Amir Abdullah Khan "Tiger" Niazi (3.24.9)
  • Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw (3.24.9)
  • Bangladesh Liberation War (3.24.27)
  • Mukti Bahini (3.24.52)
  • Instrument of Surrender (1971) (3.26.1)
  • Henry A. Kissinger (3.26.3)
  • Indira Gandhi (3.27.4)
  • Trotsky (3.27.46)
  • Ho Chi Minh (3.27.46)
  • Stalin (3.27.46)
  • Mao (3.27.46)
  • Jana Sangh party (3.27.49)
  • Ananda Marg (3.27.49)
  • Swatantra (3.27.49)
  • Jaya-Prakash Narayan (3.28.40)
  • Morarji Desai (3.28.40)
  • Chimanbhai Patel (3.28.40)
  • Janata Morcha (3.28.40)
  • L. N. Mishra (3.28.48)
  • A. N. Ray (3.28.56)

Pop Culture References

  • "O Tannenbaum" (1.3.10)
  • All India Radio (1.5.16)
  • Lata Mangeshkar (1.5.16)
  • Coconut Day (1.7.5)
  • Times of India (1.7.37)
  • Alfred Hitchcock, I Confess (1.7.72)
  • Pushpa Roy (2.9.19)
  • The Pied Piper (2.10.1)
  • Snakes and Ladders (2.10.35)
  • John Wayne (2.10.68)
  • Hatim Tai (2.11.14)
  • Batman (2.11.14)
  • Superman (2.11.14)
  • Pinnochio (2.11.14)
  • Climbing of Mount Everest (2.11.21)
  • Discovery of the Woolly Mammoth (2.12.35)
  • Quentin Durward (2.13.1)
  • Scaramouche (2.13.1)
  • The Lone Ranger (2.13.2)
  • Annie Oakley (2.13.14)
  • Classics Illustrated (2.13.26)
  • Spencer Tracy (2.18.22)
  • Katharine Hepburn (2.18.22)
  • Superman (2.19.19)
  • Rita Hayworth (2.22.9)
  • Amar Sonar Bangla ("My Golden Bengal") (3.24.38)
  • The Sundarbans (3.24.58)
  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments (3.25.20)
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