Monday, August 17, 2015

The disappointments of post-colonialism

My wife and I enjoyed watching the movie Midnight's Children, which is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Salman Rushdie. The story centres around two boys, both born at midnight, exactly when India obtains its independence from British colonial rule. One is rich and one poor and they are swapped at birth in the hospital, leading to very different lives. They grow to adulthood against the backdrop of major historical events: partition of India and Pakistan, military rule in Pakistan, the Pakistani civil war leading to formation of Bangladesh, the "emergency" of Indira Gandhi, and the clearing of a slum.

I think the movie is difficult to follow, particularly if you don't know much Indian history or you don't see the deep parallels being alluded to between the individual lives and the post-colonial political history. Both show lost potential, confused identities, conflicts, and geographic movements.

Seeing the movie does motivate me to read the book.

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