Rushdie’s version of The Prince and the Pauper becomes a cartwheeling parable about the fate of modern India. At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the date on which India proclaimed itself independent from Great Britain, 1,001 children are born with supernatural powers. Two are switched at birth, the illegitimate son of a poor Hindu woman and the offspring of wealthy Muslims. Rushdie follows them through 30 years of partition, violence and Indira Gandhi’s iron-fisted rule. The personal is the political here with a vengeance, as history becomes farce, becomes legend becomes memory becomes history again.