The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Aravind Adiga, a native of Chennai, is an Indian author holding dual citizenship of India and Australia. He has studied in Columbia University, New York, and Oxford University in London, and started his writing career as a journalist. Adiga is the fourth Indian author to win the Booker Prize for The White Tiger.


Inherently, book deals with the serious issue of the vicious cycle of poverty on one hand, but makes a mockery of middle class in India on the other .The middle class who is fighting its own battle but is an oppressor of servants, like a tyrant ruler. It might make people introspect (especially those with domestic help in their house), “Am I that bad and selfish. What is my fault if I am little more fortunate than a poor loitering on the road?” But certainly, like a true Indian, people can think and feel better by giving the onus to their previous birth’s karma.


He is a good writer. The witty humour and explanation of plots takes you on a journey of life in a metro and an Indian village. The art of criticising the loop holes in Indian society in a clever manner is what keeps you engaged throughout the book, and raises problems in the Indian system


It is a good read, no doubt, but it doesn’t bring out a good image of India on the international front, when India is one of the fastest growing economies. It brings out a picture of India which is corrupt, hollow, and dishonest, and its people who are the victims of age old practices, which is true undoubtedly in certain cases. But it questions the behind the scene activities of the making of a successful individual in India, which is not true for everyone.


Balram, the protagonist of story, belongs to the darkness where there are misfortunes at the bottom of the pyramid. A frustrated follower and victim of the Indian family system, bound in the shackles of conservative Indian culture, where there is no money to feed oneself, but to splurge on weddings, keeping family mortgaged as bonded labour . With fire, frustration and passion, he moves to the city where he gets rid of that system and finds little respite serving his master; but then again, the more one has, the more one desires. And in this lure of having more, his desires to be one among the elite classes and move upwards on Abraham Maslow’s Need Hierarchy pyramid. He banks upon the opportunity and then this young aspiring Indian entrepreneur reaches in the middle of the pyramid, learning from the system and his masters. After all, it has been said that entrepreneurs are born, not made.


It would have been better if the author would have thrown light on another Indian, another white tiger who has become successful following the right means and hard work. Otherwise, with the present situation of India, and this latest Satyam fiasco, it can really question the credibility of Indians and the Indian system. In other words, to put an analogy if the author has talked about Satyam, then he should also have mentioned Infosys (I sincerely pray no such revelations come out as of Satyam).


Perhaps the author will come out with Part 2 of The White Tiger; after all, we Indians are not that bad. Because at present, it presents a half baked, bird eye view of India, which can be renamed “Movements along the Pyramid” Or “The Dark Side”. This, “The White Tiger” portrays India as a land of The Black Sheep.


Khushboo Luthra



[Image source:]