The White Tiger: Book Review

Recent years have seen emergence of many young authors but the name of Aravind Aravind Adiga is quite distinguishable. Aravind Adiga’s name shot into fame as his book ‘The White Tiger’ was adjudged as the winner of prestigious ‘Man booker prize’. The book is a meticulous depiction of the ever-widening rich and poor rift which has been time and again highlighted but never got the attention it deserves. The book blatantly demystifies the true face of today’s resurgent India. Aravind Adiga has researched assiduously in constructing a story that leaves some grave questions in the reader’s mind.

This is a debut novel of Aravind Adiga who is a freelance journalist. Born in Madras he grew up in Mangalore before his parents immigrated to Sydney, Australia. After completing his studies at Magdalen College in Oxford he began his journalistic career as a financial journalist, interning at the Financial Times. Later he was hired by TIME, where he remained a South Asia correspondent for three years before going freelance. This was during his freelance period that he wrote ‘The White Tiger’.

The White Tiger is a rag to riches story of a normal Indian who nicknames himself the White Tiger and has become a successful entrepreneur. He has made his own destiny in a country whose economic growth has been outstanding due to technological upswing in recent years. But this rag to riches story is not unlike other ones in which protagonist works hard relentlessly day and night to achieve his goals, but is the one in which he taken the shortest path of crime and corruption. Protagonist is the narrator itself and the book is in fact a letter written to the Chinese Premier explaining him about ‘entrepreneurs’ of who are absent in China. He sits in his 150 sq feet office and shamelessly elucidates how he has murdered his previous master whom he also considers his mentor. This might seem hideous on a protagonist’s part but as the story unfolds the picture becomes more and more clear.

The White Tiger was born in some utterly impoverished Indian rural area where development and democracy are still part of oblivion. The world where he is born is not the India illuminated with the bright lamps of development and democracy but lies deep in the dark dungeons of corruption, inequality and poverty. His brief time at local school earns him his nick name ‘The White Tiger’ and real name’ Balram Hawai’ before he is pulled out of school into child labour so that he can help his family make both ends meet. His India is devoid of any fundamental right, with no medical facilities, and it’s a place where elections are openly rigged and brutal atrocities of landlords are dominant. Throughout the narrative he calls his village as a world of darkness and he becomes more and more determined to escape out of the dark as he helplessly watches his father die of tuberculosis in his arms. His desire to learn makes him to eavesdrop and gradually he manages to become a driver, and incidentally he finds work in the home of his vicious land lord. Luck, lands him out of the darkness into illuminated city of Delhi.