Interplay of History and Individual in Salman Rushdie’s Novels

Interplay of History and Individual in Salman Rushdie’s Novels

Theses are supposed to claim originality. I, however, do not aver total originality for the present essay. Honestly, I cannot. To quote Salim Senai:

Who what am I? My answer: I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose-being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I’m everything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come. Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each ‘I’ […] contains a similar multitude […] to understand me, you’ll have to swallow the world.[i]

Elsewhere,

Padma, if you’re a little uncertain of my reliability, well, a little uncertainty is no bad thing. Cocksure men do terrible deeds. Women, too.[ii]

It is in the nature of literature that critical studies may derive from or be influenced by others. Only a study devoid of sophistication could claim exclusive, unqualified originality. Knowledge is unified, abstractable from context, impersonal, continuous and essentially logical; and learning is not only a matter of social practice, but also a matter of personal practice.  What I imply is that my deepest insights might have come, not necessarily from systematically following a logical process of going through the novels minutely from cover to cover, but from personal processes that could be partly subconscious and in which values, feelings and emotions have been crucial ingredients. Stated thus, this paper is the function of my reading of various presentations made before.

Read: Amitav Ghosh – A Chronicler of the Other

There are a number of people, I would like to thank for helping me with this thesis. I would like, first, to thank my supervisor, Dr. Prasunjay Kr. Sinha, for his quick responses, crucial guidance, positive criticism, insightful suggestions, and assistance beyond the call of duty. The same would be discernible in every speck of ink on the paper. I would also like to acknowledge my debt to my only daughter Ananya, aged 11-years, for supporting me during the, sometimes arduous, writing process, and for putting up with all the materials lying around – which was a nuisance to her studies and plays both – the room. She could not have much of computer due to this thesis of mine.

My greatest debt of gratitude, however, is to my husband, Mr. Avinash, who attended to every detail of our family life in order that I could work on the daunting project unfettered. Indeed, he was the man who empowered me to take on this overwhelming task. He converted disparate articles and my scribbles into editable typed copies. I owe thanks to him for typing and retyping several times the entire manuscript, and for saving me many trips to libraries and places, the names of which start invariably with www. He earnestly undertook the proofreading as well. His love and undulating support make every dream in my life worth pursuing.

Read: The White Tiger: Fiction or Political Treatise

I should also not forget Dr. A.N. Tripathi, Regional Director, IGNOU Patna for the pains that he took in collecting and delivering at my doorstep – without charging a penny – four of the major novels of Salman Rushdie. Those very texts became my primary readings.

Lastly, acknowledgement of copyright is due and required to a number of journals, books, and educational websites of various universities and research organizations, some of which, inadvertently, might not have been accounted for at the end of the essay. I owe all that is good in this paper to these people and institutions; the errors and omissions are all mine. I hope that, if nothing else, this thesis will prove, without offending anybody, to be an enjoyable and fascinating reading.


[i] Midnight’s Children, p 383
[ii] Midnight’s Children, p 208

4 thoughts on “Interplay of History and Individual in Salman Rushdie’s Novels”

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