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Essay on The Nightmare

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The Nightmare

Dreams are often visions of the conscience that hold the most truth. In the novel, Cracking India, by Bapsi Sidhwa, the narrator Lenny, has a reoccurring nightmare that contains much truth about the state of India. In Lenny’s nightmare,
Children lie in a warehouse. Mother and Ayah move about solicitously. The atmosphere is businesslike and relaxed.
Godmother sits by my bed smiling indulgently as men in uniforms quietly slice off a child’s arm here, a leg there.
She strokes my head as they dismember me. I feel no pain.
Only an abysmal sense of loss- and a chilling horror that no one is concerned by what’s happening (Sidhwa 31).

Lenny’s childhood nightmare is symbolic of the condition of India prior to
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The Indians’ adoption of the British culture enables the British to remain in India and this submissiveness is shown through the metaphor of the warehouse in Lenny’s dream. Gandhi also suggests that “we keep the English in India for our base interest. We like their commerce; they please us by their subtle methods and get what they want from us” (Gandhi 216). Their subtle methods and efficient ways are described in Lenny’s nightmare as the businesslike and relaxed atmosphere. Gandhi’s point is proven in Cracking India when Colonel Bharucha suggests to a group of people that they should stop buying British salt. Dr. Manek Mody, an upper-class citizen, immediately objects because he prospers from the British presence in India and sees no reason to stop buying their salt. Dr. Mody’s failure to look past his personal profit is precisely the chilling lack of concern about the holistic well-being of India that Lenny is referring to in the description of her nightmare. Gandhi suggests that the solution to the problem of achieving Home Rule lies in getting to the root of the matter. He proposes that “if an excess of food has caused me indigestion, I shall certainly not avoid it by blaming water” (Gandhi 215). In Lenny’s nightmare, the description of the British officers dismembering the children’s limbs is obviously disturbing. However, the underlying image of the children helplessly lying there while their supposed
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