where did you read this before, “behind every great fortune, there is a crime’

i guess i read it in Godfather. somehow, i have reason’s to believe that the entire story outline for Adiga’s white tiger came from this.

“white tiger’ or Balram Halwai, is a servant, philosoper, entrepreneur, murderer. The novel moves in a series of letters writen at a period of 7days to the chinese premier, Wen Jiabao. In a course of letters he makes a self confession of how Balram Halwai, becomes a successful entrepreneur, after murdering and running away with his master’s money.

At many places i found myself in the uncomfortable couch, because some truth’s are worse when we hear about them. very convincingly Adiga, puts his dagger into the hearts of the reader and makes you face a lot of questions about the debauchery and wickedness in the social system of india.

Never before, have anyone made such shocking confessions in a series of letters.  You enter into your uncomfortable zone from the very start when the protagonist, Balram Halwai, makes a mockery over the belief system in India where every thing has to be done with the blessings of God.

But which God, from the series of 360000004 Gods worshiped in India?? The questioning over the social systems in India is done with a whiplash of words that are very strong, abusive and make you shocked. even Mahathma Gandhi, is not pardoned from the language.

Balram halwai, becomes the voice of the million outcasts. The entire scenario, puts light on the other India, which many of us have seen, but dont really want to accept. There is stiff attack on caste and communal abuse, Reservations and the politricks to get into power. The corruption that runs deep root in the viens of India is also sharply portrayed. the character in a point blames his master for making him corrupt. because when the master gets corrupted, how can the driver stay innocent?

Very unconvincingly, Balram murders his master, where there is no other motive other than to change his fate. He escapes with the money and has no justifications, other than the fact that his master was a part of a corrupt system and had he not done that  he would always end up being a part of the rooster coop, and remain a driver.

“Balram’s violent bid for freedom is shocking. What, we’re left to ask, does it make him — just another thug in India’s urban jungle or a revolutionary and idealist ?

Again the most interesting part i liked in the book was the use of the quote by an urdu poet, “you were looking for the keys for years, but the door was always open”

so, does this book really has the solution we are looking for. No, this is no Rags to riches story. I personally, ended out with the rather unconvinced.

ofcourse, this book is rather about a contempory India, but it somewhere here and there leaves certain loose ends.

On the first place, the act of murdering the boss, so that he could move ahead is at any point not acceptable. Adiga, in the mean time at lot of places tries to proove that the master was shady, corrupted, but still he was his master and ofcourse trusted him. Also, the protagonist in the book, is aware of the fact that if he get away with the money, their men will hunt down his family and kill them one by one. still he comits the act and in an act of doing penance the murderer turned entrepreneur  prays for all his member in temple from time to time. He corruppts the police and other’s so as to get his business move smoothly and yet tries to make a romise that sooner or later he will built a school where children will be taught how to become like him, the white tiger.

on no stage does the character raises his voice to be the change in the society.  As if he is convinced with the fact that no one can make a difference in the system

Also, unconvincing, is the explanation for why he wants to write letter to Mr. wen jiabo. There are occasional reference to indo-chinese relationships, but still again it is not very convincing. finally, there is not just one India. there is corruption, and still India is unique in its on ways. “Adiga’s message isn’t subtle or novel, but Balram’s appealingly sardonic voice and acute observations of the social order are both winning and unsettling.

Finally, Adiga, a jounalist and debutant author is very promising figure, a name that will go far beyond what he acheived with the man booker prize of 2o08. With the education from oxford and columbia, the author has still managed to enter into  being the mouth piece of the protagonist, whose parents didnt even bother to give him a name.

This book is a shocking revelation!! it wont give you the flavour of the exotic India, or the promises of India shinig campaign, but it does make you face some exuberant realities.

thank you for reading, take care

God bless…