Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 29

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 29


  • Saleem doesn't want to tell this story, but he does anyway.
  • Saleem's son gets tuberculosis, and no matter what Laylah–Parvati does, she can't heal him. He also doesn't speak, and when his mom tries to make him talk, she almost kills him. No one is going to make this kid do anything he doesn't want to.
  • Laylah–Parvati has other problems too. She's sad because Saleem won't sleep with her, even though they're married.
  • Saleem spends a while describing his newborn son and how awesome he is, when Padma tells him to get on with the story. We agree.
  • He says he's going to tell us, but he still takes forever. He tells us how he expected Picture Singh to save them all, but that he was probably delusional.
  • The ghost of Nadir Khan comes to warn Saleem about the danger that is coming, but he ignores him. Bulldozers come to raze the ghetto of magicians as part of a civic beautification program.
  • Since they are efficient folks, they also sterilize everyone at the same time. Now there are guns, and everyone runs away. Shiva finds Saleem and throws him in a van. Saleem has no idea what happened to his son or to Parvati.
  • Rumors have it that Picture Singh fought to the end and searched for Parvati and her son.
  • The Widow's Hostel is a home for bereaved women. That's where they grill Saleem for the names of the other Midnight's Children. He spills the beans. When they all join him, Saleem tells us their conversations.
  • He starts by apologizing to them. When the Children don't hold a grudge against him, he's confused.
  • Eventually he gets it—they're just happy to see each other. Then he gets a little too excited and says that with the newly formed Midnight Party, they'll win.
  • Not so much. They are going to be sterilized. Indira Gandhi doesn't like competition, so she's getting rid of their future children. No competition. She just forgot one thing—Shiva already has thousands of children.
  • When Saleem is released he finds that Picture Singh and his son are still alive.