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Midnights Children of Colonial Empires - Essay Example

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Colonialism has been practiced since the dawn of history- The Greeks colonized various islands, the Romans built a vast empire The Arabs, the Chinese, the Malays have all colonized some part of the planet at different times. Even America expanded westwards, colonizing the areas between the Atlantic and the Pacific…
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Midnights Children of Colonial Empires
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Download file to see previous pages The British had lost America in the Revolution and they clung to India with all .their might and cunning. Many of the men in power believed that imperialism was a natural part of human struggle for survival in which the fittest emerged rulers. In other words, they believed that the white Europeans, being endowed with' superior qualities' had all the right to rule others. The European powers had a sense of moral superiority as the Industrial Revolution had brought them previously unheard of prosperity. They also needed a market for the goods they produced. Prosperity had whetted their appetites and they had developed taste for exotic goods .There was a fierce competition between European nations to go ahead of others and conquer farther territories. The hunger for empire building was such that many times they resorted to barbaric means .King Leopold of Belgium unleashed a reign of terror in Congo which he deemed to be his private property. The people in charge, like the clerk Clive of the East India Company, amassed huge fortunes by exploiting the local population. The Europeans brought Christianity to the conquered lands, and tried to root out the old traditions.
The British empire was the largest of the European empires, and 'the jewel in the crown' was India .In spite of the might of the greatest empire in history, India gained her independence in 1947, after almost two centuries of British rule, without the use of force or violence, but became the heir to the colonial legacy of division left by the British..
"Midnight's Children" is a seminal work by Salman Rushdie, written in the style of Indian oral story telling, which explores the experiences of various characters in colonial and post - colonial India .It is the story of Saleem Sinai who was born on the midnight of 14th August 1947 exactly at the time when India became independent. The story spans some three generations, beginning with Dr. Aadam Aziz who came to Agra from the Kashmir valley with his family. Of his three daughters , one marries Sinai and another , Zulfikar and emigrates to Pakistan. Beginning with the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, the story goes on to the frenetic days before the Transfer of Power in India and the days that followed. In a style reminiscent of the Arabian Nights the book recounts the story of some of the children born on that fateful midnight. It touches upon the formation of Bangla Desh. The reader gets a glimmering of the legacy of colonialism.
To continue in power, the colonial rulers used every means, even killing without provocation., as in the infamous Jallianwala Bag Massacre. . On the 13th April 1919, a British officer named General Dyer entered an enclosed compound in Amritsar where thousands of Indians had gathered for a peaceful protest against the British ,and opened fire on the unarmed men, killing and maiming hundreds of people. .Rushdie begins his book with this incident. "They have fire a total of one thousand six hundred and fifty rounds into the unarmed crowd. Of these , one thousand five hundred and sixteen have found their mark."(Rushdie 41) Rushdie describes the sound of the gunfire evocatively-"There is a noise like teeth chattering in winter". (Rushdie 41) After the massacre, there was approval for Dyer's action in the House of Lords. This incident rang the death knell for the empire ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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