Haroun and the Sea of Stories Summary

  • Last updated on March 25, 2021

Haroun and the Sea of stories is a political allegory written by famous British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie. The 300 odd paged tale centres around Haroun, the young son of Rashid, who is also known as the Shah of Blah amongst his critics and as the Ocean of stories amongst his friends. In the course of the narrative Rashid, the master storyteller loses his power to fabricate stories when his wife leaves him and elopes with his neighbour Mr.Sengupta, a lanky cynic, who asks the most disconcerting question of the novel, "whats the point of stories that arent even true?". In time Rashid's wife begins to share this perspective and finally leaves her husband with the rather abrupt conclusion that he was capable of nothing. His wife's departure robs Rashid of his eloquence and his little son Haroun, of the pleasures of a suitably long attention span and thus the story unfolds.

On a tour to the valley of the Dull lake, where Rashid goes to win supporters on behalf of a corrupt politician, Mr. Buttoo, Haroun catches hold of IFF a water genie who claims he had come to dismantle RAshid's story water supply in his bathroom and blackmails him to take him along to the moon KAHANI (where exists the ocean of stories which is the source of Rashid's tales) so that he might fix his fathers sudden lack of words.

once in KAHANI however IFF realizes that a deep rooted evil had drilled into the ocean of stories, eagerly Haroun offers to help. Together Haroun , IFF and BUTT the hoopoe make way to GUP land where lives the GUPPPIES whose only occupation is storytelling. Apparently, however, the air is thick with tragedy and hardly suitable for any stories at all since the GUPPIES precious princess (who amongst other things is a mush-brained large nosed nagging sissy with a horrible voice) has been kidnapped by the GUPPIES ardent enemies, the dangerous CHUPWALAS.

The story then proceeds to see the brave but loquacious GUPPIES fighting a ridiculous war with the dark and graceful but abnormally quite CHUPWALAS, while Haroun almost single handedly deals with the shadow of the dreaded CHUPWALA chief, KHATTAM-SHUD.

The war of course ends with the victory of the GUPPIES, who reward Haroun by granting his wish and restoring his fathers storytelling capabilities.

Haroun and the Sea of stories was written almost as a reaction to a menace that had in recent history chased writer Rushdie from one country to the other. Censorship of the highest order, in the form of a fatwa by Aiyatollah Khomeinni which demanded his life for his apparent disrespect of Islam in his previous novel 'The Satanic Verses', had caused Rushdie to stop and think about the relevance of Stories 'that arent even true'.

in this book Rushdie like Aristotle and Oscar WIlde before him has battled with the age old enemies of literature as a whole, and laid bare the passion that underlies creation and art as a whole.

however unlike his predessecors Rushdie's weapons aren't mere rhetorics but the perspective of a child, namely HAroun, who like the child who dared to declare the emperor naked in the 'Emperor's new clothes', puts forward his logic in a simple rudimentary way.

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