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Rushdie's novel "East"


At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers which is a story that represents the “west”. This story is based on the movie The Wizard of Oz, the red slippers from this movie is being put for auction. This story is an image about the western side (symbolizes United States) being controlled by the media. ‘The movie starts are here, among the bidders, bringing their glossy, spangled auras to the saleroom’ ((Rushdie. East, West. 88). They believe anything that is told. This is a similarity that the east and west share.

The “west” is blinded by fantasies. The people who go to America in search or money and freedom believe in the ‘American Dream’.

The tone of the story

This is the same with the Indians they believe in a dream that they want to make happen. Even thought America is a land of opportunities, is isn’t possible for people to get what they wish for as without sacrifice and immigrants are not willing to give up anything.

Even though they come in search of opportunities, they seek to find happiness like back “home” they would do anything to get a taste of home. Hence, Rushdie shows that while people in the west are trying to find their way back home. People in the east are trying to break free to keep their home.

The tone of the story is like the narrator is saying what he sees from his point of view but it’s for you to judge if what he saying about the western society is true or not.

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In the section titled “East, West” Rushdie shows the connections between the two sides. The story “Chekov and Zulu” is an image of the events that took place with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s 1984 assassination, an assassination done by Sikhs who wanted independence and this was done by her own Sikh bodyguards. The imagery in this story is that the Sikh’s are a religious group and most of them are from Punjab.

Chekhov and Zulu

Which is a state that in-between India and Pakistan. The Sikhs at this time wanted a country of their own but Indira Gandhi wouldn’t permit. In this story Chekhov and Zulu (symbolic to Sulu) are characterized as Sikh who is under cover diplomats who work in London. Chekhov and Zulu are code names that are taken from the serial ‘star trek’. Zulu who is in London goes underground to infiltrate the Sikh extremists who are behind Gandhi’s assassination. In the story there was a letter that was sent by zulu which said If there was any danger or threat to his life ‘deal me up’.

The phrase ‘deal me up’ is a famous line from the serial star trek which mean to have a cover up. In this case since Zulu was helping the Sikhs in India for the assassination of Indira Gandhi the letter was referred to helping him if he was caught. What’s ironic about this situation is that in the other stories Rushdie talks about how India wants freedom from the British or how the fights between Hindus and Muslims, but in this case Rushdie shows how this news has travelled across the world and Sikh’s from other nations are helping in this assassination and finding information under cover.

The fact that Zulu calls himself Zulu and not sulu is also very ironic because Zulus were a South African tribe who rebelled against the European settlers. Hence, Zulu wanted to rebel against Indira Gandhi for the freedom of his people. Rushdie also talks about the post effect of Sikhs in India during this time they were brutilly harmed and killed. But Zulu claimed that the Sikhs were set up and the Congress Party was behind Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Zulu disguested by the situation leaves the service and becomes a successful businessman in Bombay.

Chekov comes back to India

As for Chekov, he comes back to India but doesn’t get married instead he is with Ranjiv Gandhi who is Indira Gandhi’s son during the time when Ranjiv Gandhi gets assassinated by a tamil women. And chekov is caught between all of this and dies. The tamil people were against Ranjiv Gandhi because they wanted a country of their own (sri lanka) but Ranjiv Gandhi wouldn’t permit them to do so. The irony of this story is that the mother and son were both assassinated by different casts for the same purpose.

Hence, this shows that the Hindus and Sikhs had the same purpose in mind, even though they rebel against eachother. Another ironic situation is that Rushdie uses a ‘western’ serial to compare the situation in the ‘east’. Through these stories, Rushdie tries to prove his point that the East and West might rebel against each other but they share a lot of similarities in many different ways. And their differences are two extermes. But it is possible to relate a situation in the west to one in the east.

While the west wants freedom and does nothing about it, the east works towards it even thought there isn’t much they know about money, fame or power. He shows a vast comparison between the two sides. The ‘east’ and ‘west’ seek for independence and to find a place that they can call ‘home’. But the west isn’t working hard enough to achieve it while the east sacrifices everything but yet they get nothing.


  1. “South Africa. ” Wikipedia. 21 Oct. 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 23 Oct. 2008 <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/south_africa>.
  2. Aujla, Teena. “East, West (by Salman Rushdie). ” Peak. 23 Oct. 2008 <http://www. peak. sfu. ca/the-peak/96-2/issue2/east. html>.
  3. Wallia, C. J. S. “IndiaStar- A Literary Magazine. ” Indiastar. 23 Oct. 2008 <http://www. indiastar. com/eastwest. htm>.
  4. “Star Trek. ” Wikipedia. 23 Oct. 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 23 Oct. 2008 <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/star_trek>.
  5. “Wikipedia. ” Indira Gandhi assassination. 20 Oct. 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 23 Oct. 2008 <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/assassination_of_indira_gandhi>.
  6. Rushdie, Salman. EAST,WEST. London: Vintage, 1995. 149-71.

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Rushdie's novel "East". (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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