The White tiger by Aravind Adiga gives us a reality check by focussing on some of the prime loopholes of our country that we all are already aware of but still choose to look the other way. It is a novel that encapsulates the misery of underprivileged people which is the major driving force behind all the gruesome crimes in India in an attempt to overcome their predicament. The novel is brimmed with hard hitting criticism and dark humour which makes it quite captivating and hence an excellent read.
Man Booker prize laureate, Aravind Adiga penned down the phenomenal debut novel entitled The White Tiger in the year 2008 wherein the plot exhibits the drastic change that took place in the life of a menial man named Balram Halwai, who went from rags to riches. He is the protagonist-cum-narrator of the story who writes a letter to the premier of China – Wen Jiabao, elucidating the transfixing story where he unveils how he, a son of village rikshawallah, climbed up the social ladder and evaded the life of servitude which later on led him to the zenith of Indian business culture in Bangalore, rendering him the title of a prosperous entrepreneur(THE WHITE TIGER). Now, how he gained that title is the actual twist of the novel. He attributed his success to his ability to eavesdrop on the right conversation at the right time. He calls himself a bad servant but an excellent listener and he reveals this narrative in the form of letters.
The astounding storyline with noteworthy events intrigues the readers and thus keeps their interest intact. It mirrors the dark reality along with the negative aspects of India unflinchingly, challenging our brain cells to delve in deep into the novel until the end. The book is not going to make you feel proud about being an Indian but it would certainly compel your conscience to contemplate the hard-hitting issues like destitution and depravity that is prevalent in India. It highlights how the corrupt politicians and their propaganda fails to mollify the prime needs of the poor. Not to mention the marginalization,class-conflict, and globalization that goes hand in hand and have equally contributed to undermining the very base of our country. We all are cognizant of these loopholes but still choose to look the other way. These loopholes are satirically delineated throughout the novel by Adiga which is why it truly earned acclaim and the Man Booker Prize.
In his novel, Adiga accentuated two utterly disparate realities that coexist in India, causing clashes by quoting “India is two countries in one: an India of Light, and an India of Darkness.” The constant comparisons between Indian and Chinese economies made Balram write this letter on seven consecutive nights. Through his letters, he wants to divulge this darkness of India to Wen Jiabao. One of the striking quotes from the novel is “The greatest thing to come out of in this country is the Rooster Coop. The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above. They see the organs of their brothers. They know they’re next. Yet they do not try to get out of the coop. The very same thing is done with human beings in this country.”
The narration of the novel is gripping and one will get subsumed in it till the very end. The suspense that it builds in every little scene will keep you guessing and the inquisitiveness escalates with every event. Have you ever imagined how poverty-stricken people live their lives? It’s beyond the spectrum of our imagination and it is rather excruciating to read such intricacies. The bottom line is that the plight of the poor begets them to take up the wrong decision and hence leads them astray. Having said that, it raises one rhetorical question of what causes a person to commit a crime reluctantly. It offers a tale of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality. It is a must-read that has touched upon some imperative issues. Hence, it tickles your bones and takes you on a ride of reality, reflecting some imperative issues. The issues covered up in the novel are quite culpable and well-known to us, yet we fail to fix it for it is deeply embedded in the society and it can’t be altered. Not until we act to bring that wave of change.
Ilma Mujeeb is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Malaika M Khan
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.