Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 24

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 24

The Buddha

  • Book 3, comin' at ya.
  • Padma is crying. It's pretty understandable given what a tearjerker that last chapter was. But Saleem tells her that he is the real victim here, because the dead people are in paradise. Right. Selfish much?
  • Padma's still crying, so Saleem tries to entice her with movie style trailers to keep listening. It works. Fast-forward to 1970.
  • We're at a secret unit called The Canine Unit for Tracking and Intelligence Activities, or, C.U.T.I.A. for short.
  • We get the news the same way everyone else does, through a nonstop barrage of military instructions. The units have three people and one dog. Their purpose is to root out "undesirable elements."
  • We meet Ayoobah Baloch, Farooq Rashid, and Shaheed Dar, who have the luck (we don't know if it's good or bad) of being assigned Saleem instead of a dog.
  • Saleem can't remember a thing, and he walks around with his head in the clouds. He looks happy for once, but Ayooba doesn't like him because he's too passive.
  • Saleem takes a moment to tell us more about Shaheed Dar. His name means martyr, and his dad always told him that it was his destiny. So while the other guys are having fun,Shaheed is watching everything carefully.
  • Ayooba, on the other hand, is more interested in trying to pick up girls. Or one girl, since she's the only one around. But he finds out that she has sex with Saleem and swears revenge.
  • The three of them try to electrocute Saleem, but he doesn't feel a thing. After that he has their respect.
  • Now it's time to be deployed. They change from their uniforms into civilian clothes. They're spies! They had originally joined to fight the Indians, but find themselves now in the brand spanking new state of Bangladesh.
  • They're fighting their brothers, and Saleem's unit is in charge of arresting the new Bangladeshi president. Other troops have worse jobs. They burn down buildings and shoot students and professors. Saleem's unit can't believe what's happening.
  • More war atrocities transpire, but they just do their job and follow the trail. The trail leads down a river, and on, and on, and on until they realize that Saleem is leading them on a wild goose chase.
  • When they moor the boat one day they wake up to see a peasant looking like Father Time chasing after Saleem. Ayooba kills him and they go into the jungle.