IAH 204: In Order To Understand21stCentury Asia, And Its Place In Our Globalized World, You MustConsider The Legacies Of Colonialism
In Order To Understand 21stCentury Asia, And Its Place In Our Globalized World, You MustConsider The Legacies Of Colonialism
Asia is one of the largestcontinents in the world and has made significant contributions to thedevelopment of social, economic and political dimensions of the 21stcentury. These developments and contributions are interconnected tothe colonial legacies of Asia. As exhibited in the MidnightsChildren, four main aspects of modern Asia are established includingthe socioeconomic practice of the Asians, cultural, and political andfamily relations. This essay seeks to explore these areas and the waythey help in the understanding of the modern Asia.
Saleem’s narrative reveals thefamily relations of the Asian people in particular Indians. Thefamily in Indian culture is an important unit and is highly regarded.The Asians have high regard for marriage and as soon as one ismature, he or she gets married and starts their own family. Althoughlove is a factor that is important in marriage, convenience is also afactor that can play a part in a marriage.
When Saleem confesses love forhis sister, a popular singer, he realizes that he could not marry heras she repulses him. He goes on and marries Parvati even though shedid not love her. He does not want to have children with her since heis not in love with her. Similarly, infidelity is condemned in theAsian culture just like in most cultures. When Nadir Khan theconfidant to the Humming bird falls in love with her girlfriend’ssister Mumtaz Aziz, her fiancée, Emerald is jealous and exposes himto army officer Major Zulfikar which forces Khan to run away(Rushdie,2010). In addition,when Saleem sends an anonymous letter regarding the film financier’saffair with the wife of a navy officer, the army officer kills theman and his wife. Being married is a priority in the Asian culture aswe see today. People were getting married soon after breakups ordeath of their spouses. For instance, after Khan runs away, Mumtazgot married to a leather merchant almost immediately (Rushdie,2010).
Death is also part of the greaterAsia culture. The dead are mourned by their relatives for severaldays. When Saleem returns to India after visiting Pakistan he mournsthe dead for a period of 420 days. In addition, when his unclecommits suicide, Saleem’s entire family gathers to mourn for fortydays (Rushdie,2010). Thisportrays the attachment that Asians have with their loved ones evenafter they die. This practice is seen still to date. Indians forexample burn their dead and take their ashes with them in memory ofthem.
The culture of the Asian is alsofounded on the idea that men are the providers of the family. Eventhough women engage in economic activities, men are greatly seen asproviders. This is the main reason women get married to find a personto take care of them. Marriage not only acts as a form of forming afamily, but as a way for a woman to have social and financialsecurity. In the instances portrayed in Midnights Children, Saleemgets married Parvati even though they do not have children.Traditionally, men are not supposed to have close contact with womenbefore they get married. When Saleem’s grandfather was treatingNaseem Ghani, who would later come to be her wife, he was not allowedto see her, but saw her in parts (Rushdie,2010). However,this practice is largely practiced among Islam believers. Pregnantwomen in the Asian culture are respected. When Amina publicallyannounces that she is pregnant, the gang chasing a street vendorLifafa Das, the gangs retreat accepting payment from the businesscommunity.
The economic activities of theIndians as seen in the modern Asia were business activities. Most ofthe people that are discussed in the Midnights Children are merchantsdealing with various activities in various investments. Saleem’sfather for example invests in a factory meant to produce partsrequired for building sea walls. Unfortunately with the governmentfreezing his accounts, the family runs into financial troubles. Hiswife Amina also invests in betting on horses, a venture that earnsher a lot of money, though he does this secretly as woman were notallowed to engage in business activities.
Businesses just like in modernAsia were dominated by men. We later see Saleem’s father invest inanother business although he loses it after the partner dies withoutrecords (Rushdie,2010). Anotheraspect seen in the socioeconomic aspect of Asians is theater andmusic industry. Saleem’s sister for example at 15 was already apopular musician in Pakistan radio (Rushdie,2010). In addition,Saleem`s uncle and aunt are in the film industry an activity thattoday is very popular in Asia.
In the culture of Asians,witchcraft and other traditional practices are appreciated. Parvati,one of the Midnight’s Children is a witch and uses her powers tocontrol people. Similarly there are snake charmers like Picture Sighboth living in Magician’s slums (Rushdie,2010). Theiractivities are recognized by the population. This activities arestill present in modern Asia especially snake charmers.
The Midnights children wereconsidered as children with special talent or magical powers likeSaleem. The sociopolitical aspect of the Asians was threatened by theflourishing of this group of children with magic. Shiva for examplewas a war hero, he led several battles and he leads government forcesthat led to the death of Parvati (Rushdie,2010). In addition,to stay safe from the magical powers of Midnights Children, they areall sterilized to stop their spread. This is a happening that hasbeen experienced in several instances. The growth of terrorist groupsin the Asian community can be compared with the colonial Asia inseveral ways. For example, extortionists flourished during the time,requiring businessmen to pay for protection from the gangs. The sameis seen in the modern instable Asia like is the case with ISIS.
Conclusively, the modern Asia canbe well understood in the light of colonial Asia. All the aspects ofthe society including social, political, economical, cultural andfamily relations are interrelated to the colonial Asia. Even withchanges that have occurred in the past century, there is still muchto learn from colonial Asia. Saleem’s narrative in the MidnightsChildren brings a clear picture of modern Asia. Evidently, family andmarriage, business as a social economic activity, traditions beliefsin with craft and snake charming are inherent to Asians.
Rushdie, S.(2010). Midnight`schildren.Random House LLC.