Home / Regular Issue / JST Vol. 29 (2) Jun. 2021 / JSSH-7443-2020


Revisiting the Metanarrative of ‘Two-nation’ Theory: A Postmodern Study of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

Subham Ghosh and Smriti Singh

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 29, Issue 2, June 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.2.10

Keywords: Jean François Lyotard, partition, postmodernism, Salman Rushdie, two-nation theory

Published on: 28 June 2021

In 1947 India was violently partitioned into the States of India and Pakistan. The political leaders behind this partition justified their decision based on the two-nation theory which had presented the two major religions namely Hindu and Muslim as two distinct civilizations that could not coexist. By marginalising and ignoring other important aspects of Indian society, and by magnifying only the religious aspect, they successfully created the metanarrative that would strengthen the ‘imagined’ border. Salman Rushdie, a postmodernist at heart, in Midnight’s Children artistically brings the minute details of common Indian lives to the fore and thereby compels the readers to reanalyse the validity of the theory. This study, thus, by referring to the postmodern theory propounded by Jean François Lyotard, has tried to examine the legitimacy of two-nation theory in the light of the micronarratives portrayed in the Midnight’s Children.

  • Akbar, M. J. (2008, December 7). Two-nation theory has bred practice of hatred. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/deep-focus/Two-nation-theory-has-bred-practice-of-hatred/articleshow/3803243.cms

  • Ambedkar, B. R. (1945). Pakistan or the partition of India. Thackers.

  • Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined communities: Reflection on the origin and spread of nationalism. Verso.

  • Chengappa, B. M. (2008). Pakistan: The role of religion in political evolution. Strategic Analysis, 24(12), 2155-2177. https://doi.org/10.1080/09700160108455346

  • Dalal, R. (2003). The Puffin history of India for children Volume 2. Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.

  • Droogan, J. (2009). Memory, history and identity in the post-religious universe of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Literature and Aesthetics, 19(2), 202-216.

  • Dwivedi, O. P. (2009). Nation and history: A postcolonial study of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, 1(2), 498-522.

  • Eaton, R. (2014). Rethinking religious divides. Journal of Asian Studies, 73(2), 305-308.

  • Giles, T. (2010). Writing and chutnification in Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. The Explicator, 65(3), 182-185. https://doi.org/10.3200/EXPL.65.3.182-185

  • Gilmartin, D. (2015). The historiography of India’s partition: Between civilization and modernity. The Journal of Asian Studies, 74(1), 23-41. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911814001685

  • Hasan, M. (2004). Partition narratives. Islam in South Asia, 23(1), 103-130.

  • Jay, S. (1991). Sources of Indian tradition. Penguin.

  • Kumanan, S. (2016). The theme of partition in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. International Journal of English Research, 2(6), 20-26.

  • Leo, J. R. (1988). Postmodernity, narratives, sexual politics: Reflections on Jean François Lyotard. The Centennial Review, 32(4), 336-350.

  • Luburić-Cvijanović, A., & Muždeka, N. (2016). Salman Rushdie from postmodernism and postcolonialism to cosmopolitanism: Toward a global(ized) literature? Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 57(4), 433-447. https://doi.org/10.1080/00111619.2015.1091285

  • Lyotard, J. F. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. Manchester University Press.

  • O’Brien, C. C. (1988). Holy War against India. The Atlantic Monthly, 262(2), 54-64.

  • Quaid-e-Azam, & MRT. (1992). Problem of India’s future constitution and allied articles. Toosy Foundation.

  • Rao, M. M. (2008). Rushdie: Postmodernism and history. ICFAI Journal of English Studies, 3(3), 7-13.

  • Rushdie, S. (1991). Imaginary homelands. Granta Books.

  • Rushdie, S. (2008). Shame. Random House Trade Paperbacks.

  • Rushdie, S. (2012). Midnight’s children. Vintage.

  • Vershney, A. (2009). The idea of Pakistan. India International Centre Quarterly, 35(3), 2-21.

  • Wolpert, S. A. (2005). Jinnah of Pakistan. Oxford University Press.

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

Article ID


Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Related Articles