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vijay raj

vijay raj


December 25, 2011

A Criticism on Booker prize winning author Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger

Aravind Adiga deals with the social structure and relationships, process of social change or the lack of it, and various ills affecting our society. The novel provides samples of gross malpractices in India democracy and society. It is a social criticism focusing on on the poverty and misery of India, and its religio-socio-political conflicts, presented through humour and irony.


            The present critique explores Adiga’s sociological insight as he deals, in fictional disguise, with the social structure. Liberty and equality are two major boons of democracy which aims at the, establishment of an egalitarian society. These two vital aspects of human life are instrumental to sustainable development and Enlightenment. But unfortunately there are innumerable evil forces that destroy human liberty and equality. The evil force, which we call ‘corruption’, exists in countless forms. India is 62 year old democracy. Ridding itself of centuries of imperial captivity and foreign rule, the Indian nation aspired for radical change under democracy. But it could not achive its aspiration. The overall main theme of the novel is the contrast between India’s rise as a modern global economy and the working class people who live in crushing rural poverty. Other themses touched on include corruption endemic to Indian society and politics, familial loyality versus Independence, religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims, the experience of returning to India after living in America, globalization, and the tensions between India and china as superpower countries in Asia.


            It has been foretold that because of a the massive population that is working for the technology industry, china and India will become the next super power countries in the world. Both countries have bountiful and strong technology markets and rely on outsourcing which has led to the creation of many international technology business in both countries. Balram believes this prediction to be true. There are also other similarities between china and India that do not lie in the world of business. Both countries have massive economic disparities, in which they are many rich people but also many poor people. As well in both countries, there is also a “Darkness” where many impoverished people struggle to escape into “light”, where

the wealthy live in the lap of luxury. The poor people serve the rich with an honest attitude, while the poor remain poor, their hardwork taken for granted.


            Globalization in India, according to Balram is successful due to the fact that international companies outsource their information, media, and products for production in India. Balram claims that outsourcing is the key to future economic success as international business profit quite well in India, especially if they are in the technology field. Some examples of these business that Balram mentions ae Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and yahoo.


            There is some discussion of Hindusm in this novel and it plays a number of roles throughout the story. Balram takes a disadvantage of the limited knowledge of rural beliefs of the upper classes by making up signs of respect for various objects or buildings like a sacred temple, statue, or tree. Balram doesn’t take his religion too seriously and often Pokes fun at it, especially at the number of gods Hinduism has, which he quotes as 36,000,004. ‘Religion plays a major role in an Indian’s life as it symbolizes tradition and honour. This is revealed through the marriage of Ashok and Pinky Madam as Ashok’s father did not approve of their union because she wasn’t a Hindu.


There is also some debate on the tensions between Hindus and Muslims. According to what is depicted in this novel, thre is not much love for Muslims in India. For instance Balram is able to get the other driver of Ashok’s family. Ram persad, fired because persad is a Muslim in hiding, However, Balram does feel sorry for persad and feels some remorse for his actions. Balram himself bears no grudges against Muslims. Infact, he even respects them and says that they are good people. He makes plenty of references to the “four greatest poets who have ever lived” who are all Muslims, and agrees with the meanings he finds in their poetry.


            Balram’s journey from darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral, brilliantly irreverent, deeply endering and altogether unforgettable. We can’t hear Balram Halwal’s voice, because the authorseems to have no access to it. The novel has its share of anger at the injustices of the new, globalised India, and it’s good to hear this among the growing chorus of celebratory voices. But

its central character comes across as a cardboard cut out. The paradox is that for many of this novel’s readers, this lack of verisimilitude will not matter because for them India is and will remain an exotic place. Adiga’s message isn’t subtle or novel, but Balram’s appealingly sardonic voice and acute observations of the social oder are both winning and unsettling.


            The novel is a social commentary and a study of injustice and power in the form of class struggle in India; it depicts the antihero Balram representing the downtrodden sectious of the Indian society juxtaposed against the rich. It focuses on the wider relations in society-political, economical and legal. This novel is totally a mirror of Indian society to us. It tells us that India is not shining and despite its claims of a booming economy, it is still “near-heart of darkness”, which it has been since time immemorial.


            Balram is the conscience of the lower class their anger, frustration protest and revenge and readiness to adopt a new moral code of conduct to succeed in life. Murder of Ashok by Balram is the reaction of deep-rooted frustration of lower class experiencing the polarities between the upper calss and the lower class. Apart from these, pollution, hectic routine of life, harmful effect of mobile, impact of city culture, create new territories of Darkness in India. India is shown as an emerging entrepreneurial power in the world. Advancement in the field of science and techynology, space, transportation, hotel industry, tourism, real estate, expansion of cities mall culture, industries and outsourcing, etc., characarterize the image of India. But all these developmental activities depend on the labor of the lower class with distinct identity.

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