Unveiling Literary Insights on Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh

Patent-PublishedIn a remarkable achievement, Dr Soni Wadhwa, Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature and Languages at SRM University-AP, and Ms Jintu Alias, a PhD Scholar, have made a significant contribution to the field of postcolonial studies with their paper titled “The rise (in the fall) of Cochin: Provincializing metropolitan spatiality in Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh.”

The paper, published in the highly esteemed Journal of Postcolonial Writing offering a fresh perspective on Salman Rushdie’s acclaimed novel, “The Moor’s Last Sigh.” Through their insightful analysis, Dr Wadhwa and Alias challenge the conventional notions of metropolitan spatiality and provide a nuanced understanding of the provincial city of Cochin.

Dr Soni Wadhwa and Jintu Alias, a promising PhD Scholar, have meticulously analysed Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh, shedding light on the complex dynamics of metropolitan spatiality and the rise and fall of Cochin within the narrative.

Their research explores Rushdie’s portrayal of Cochin, challenging traditional notions of metropolitan spaces and offering a fresh perspective on the provincial nation of such spatialities. This groundbreaking analysis delves deep into the layers of cultural, historical, and socio-political contexts within Rushdie’s work, showcasing the authors’ keen insights and critical thinking.

The publication of this paper highlights the invaluable contributions of our faculty and scholars in the field of literature and postcolonial studies. It is a testament to the rigorous academic environment and the commitment to excellence fostered at SRM University-AP.

We extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Soni Wadhwa and  Jintu Alias for their remarkable achievement. Their dedication to research and passion for exploring the nuances of literature continue to inspire us all.

Explanation of the Research in Layperson’s Terms

Bombay/Mumbai is a great city widely celebrated in literature, especially for its cosmopolitanism. Salman Rushdie’s novel The Moor’s Last Sigh has been read by various critics for the richness of the portrayal of Mumbai. In their research, PhD scholar Jintu Alias and her PhD supervisor Dr Soni Wadhwa have analysed the representation of Cochin in the novel. Regarding their research they say, “For very long, Cochin’s presence has been eclipsed by that of Mumbai. But there is more to the novel than Bombay’s history. Like any art or literature, this novel is open to multiple interpretations. Our study is focused on the depiction of space in postcolonial literature with a focus on the island city Cochin in Kerala. When we immersed ourselves into the novel, we found that its charm is irresistible. Rushdie primarily opened a new city for other writers to explore. This novel was followed by several more novels that took an even closer look at the history of Cochin (now Kochi).”


Indian fiction and critical engagements with it have a metropolitan bias. The preference for representations of big cities such as Mumbai in fiction means that non-metropolitan (“provincial”) spaces in India face neglect, literary and otherwise. This article argues for provincialising Indian fiction by exploring non-metropolitan locations as imagined in works of fiction to unpack alternative spatiality. The example offered is Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh. In most readings of the novel, Bombay (along with Moorish Spain) is highlighted as a metropolitan model for India. Cochin does not figure in these readings, which are passed over as if just a random background or setting for the characters to be launched into Mumbai. This article addresses Cochin’s marginalisation by investigating how the island city offers a provincial, alternative, non-metropolitan theorisation of spatialities in Indian fiction. The larger objective is to make space for similarly marginalised non-European locales in the discourse of cosmopolitanism.

Social Implications

  1. We hope that with this interpretation of the novel from the point of view of Cochin and its history and cosmopolitanism, smaller cities in India get more attention from literary critics.
  2. We also hope that our research excites further studies and creative writing on other aspects of cultural traditions practised in smaller cities in India. There are many more themes and historical and geographical settings to explore in Indian literature!

Future Research

In continuation of our method of reading different Kochi texts, we will engage with more novels in the future. Our previous reading of another Kochi novel was published in Modern Jewish Studies in September 2023. We look forward to strengthening this body of work in the future.

About This Collaboration

PhD scholar Ms Jintu Alias and Assistant Professor Dr Soni Wadhwa have been working on this area of the Kochi novel since May 2021. This has been an exciting spatiality project in the context of Indian literature.


Alias, J., & Wadhwa, S. (2024). The rise (in the fall) of Cochin: Provincializing metropolitan spatiality in Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449855.2024.2307408

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