Picture of Indian Tragedies and Identity Crisis
In Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger
In an interview with BBC, after winning the prestigious Man Booker Prize, Adiga said that The White Tiger is the account of a poor man in today’s India, one of the many hundreds of millions who belong to the boundless Indian underclass. Truly said and brilliantly explained in this novel. But Adiga has not only presented one of these identity less millions of poor Indians but he has also pictured obscurity of India. The white tiger is cloudily hilarious and savagely virulent story. Adiga has won the circumspection of thousands of Indian readers primarily for its lifelike and existing picture of some of the major sagacious realities about India. Therefore the book as whole presents the coarse obscure and unclad facts about India.
Bribery, Corruption, Classism and an eye of hatred for the low class people – all these tragedies of Indian fate is well depicted and presented in this novel. “ The main theme of the novel is the contrast between India's rise as a modern global economy and its working class people who live in crushing poverty”. (The Telegraph, 09 August 2008). We are acquainted with the poverty of rural areas and the catastrophe of feudal landlords. Everyone has to pay some amount of pennies to these landlords if they want to graze their cattle, grow anything, use the government roads and of course water, the most essential expedient. The author in a sharp voice presents the nauseous destiny and tenebrous visage of India through a series of letters addressed by an entrepreneur who is the protagonist of the novel itself. While unrolling his existence of enterprise and endeavor, he is mainly concerned with portraying a lifelike sketch of his village and metro cities, facing the harsh and rude side of it, overcoming it and rising from that position to new heights.
The India that Balram presents is not one of seasons, divinity and saris. The picture of Ganges that he presents to the Chinese premier is really pathetic:
“No! - Mr. Jiabao, I urge you not to dip in the Ganga, unless you want your mouth full feces, straw, soggy parts of human bodies, buffalo carrion and seven kinds of industrial acids.”(The White Tiger15)
In the book the protagonist has no name initially, and so he is called as Munna. Why he has not given any name, again presents the harsh truth of rural India. He grew up in a family too poor even to give him a proper name, and so he is asked by his school teacher for a proper name:
"Munna? That's not a real name."
He was right: it just means "boy."
"That's all I've got, sir," I said.
It was true. I'd never been given a name.
"Didn't your mother name you?"
"She's very ill, sir. She lies in bed and spews blood. She's got no time to name me."
"And your father?"
"He's a rickshaw-puller, sir. He's got no time to name me."
"Don't you have a granny? Aunts? Uncles?"
"They've got no time either."
The teacher turned aside and spat—a jet of red paan splashed the ground of the classroom. He
licked his lips.
"Well, it's up to me, then, isn't it?" He passed his hand through his hair and said, "We'll call you…Ram. Wait—don't we have a Ram in this class? I don't want any confusion. It'll be Balram.
You know who Balram was, don't you?"
"He was the sidekick of the god Krishna. Know what my name is?"
He laughed. "Krishna."( The White Tiger 13, 14)
And then he gives a striking picture of the buffalo that always stands outside his house as a vital part of the family:
“All day long, the women fed her and fed her fresh grass; feeding her was the main thing in their lives. All their hopes were concentrated in her fatness, sir. If she gave enough milk, the women could sell some of it, and there...
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