Study Guide

Midnight's Children Chapter 5

By Salman Rushdie

Chapter 5

A Public Announcement

  • History news now!
  • There are a lot of names in here. Names aside, though, the point is that people are trying to make India an independent nation. And soon Earl Mountbatten will partition it into three nations: Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.
  • While all these things are happening, Mumtaz—who now goes by Amina—wakes up in her new home in Delhi.
  • Saleem interrupts the story to tell us about a doctor that Padma brought to treat his illness. More specifically, he tells us how much he sucks.
  • Back to our regularly scheduled programming. Amina got on a train and left her mother and father for the first time. In her new home now, she is still a little confused. Not only confused, but upset.
  • See, Amina is still in love with Nadir Khan. She's a good girl, though, so she teaches herself how to love her new husband just the same way that her father came to love her mother. In pieces. (This can't be a healthy inheritance.) And it works! Sorta.
  • Ahmed's cousin Zohra comes over to talk about dark skinned Indians, which makes Amina (who, if you remember, is the darkest in her family) more than a little upset.
  • Just when she is about to hit her over the head with a hot pan (we totally wish she did), Mr. Mustapha Kemal and Mr. S.P. Butt charge into the house screaming that something is on fire. That something turns out to be a storage facility which a group called Ravana threatened to burn down unless they were paid. Think about them as Indian mobsters.
  • About Ravana… They're named after a multi-headed Hindu demon, and they are a pretty professional extortion group. If you pay, they leave you alone. And they even provide references of satisfied customers!
  • The big deal about these guys is that they are posing as part of the huge anti-Muslim movement in India at the time.
  • Moving on. Ahmed Sinai and his buddies run onto the street, leaving Amina alone.
  • Turns out it was another storage place that was set on fire. Whew! Close one.
  • Somewhere else a street performer named Lifafa Das is doing his picture show, which contains everything in the world. Everything's going great until some little girl with a lisp doesn't want to wait her turn anymore. She calls him a Hindu, which somehow turns into him being a rapist, and before long a bloodthirsty mob is trying to kill him.
  • All because someone couldn't wait in line. Great.
  • Well, even though Amina Sinai changed her name, she's still her father's daughter. So just like Dr. Aziz protected Nadir Khan, she rescues Lifafa Das. How does she do it? By daring the crowd to kill a pregnant mother.
  • Yeah, even the bloodthirstiest of bloodthirsty mobs won't kill a pregnant mom.
  • When Lifafa Das recovers, he promises that his cousin, Shri Ramram Seth, will tell the future about Amina's unborn son.