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In Salman Rushdies critical essay Errata or Unreliable Narration in Midnights Children he comments that It is by now obvious I hope that Saleem Sinai is an unreliable narrator and that Midnights Children is far from being an authoritative guide to the history of post-independence India Throughout the course of this essay I shall be examining the techniques Rushdie uses to create the unreliable narrator his authorial purpose and the effect the inclusion of errata has upon the reader A significant example of unreliable narration is Saleems error regarding the Hindu belief that the god Ganesha sat at the feet of the bard Vyasa and took down the entire text of the Mahabharata from beginning to end Saleem boasts that despite my Muslim background Im enough of a Bombayite to be well up in Hindu stories but then continues to make several errors in his recounting of this tradition including the names of both the poet and the text Rushdie believed that Ganeshas elephantine nose and dubious parentage prefigure Saleems and the fact that he should make such an obvious blunder concerning a myth so relevant to himself is ironic and also a way of deflating that narratorial pomposity In Rushdies collection of essays entitled Imaginary Homelands he reveals how he took immense effort in making Saleems narrative unreliable He tells how originally error-free passages had the taint of inaccuracy introduced Unintentional mistakes were on being discovered not expunged from the text but rather emphasized given more prominence in the story However many readers criticised the historical or factual inaccuracies that comprised a great deal of Saleems narrative Many resented the books incompleteness and the vast quantity of errors but Rushdie defends that these variously disappointed readers were judging the book not as a novel but as some sort of inadequate reference book or encyclopaedia This is exactly what Rushdie is trying to avoid as he felt that history is
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