Monday, August 3, 2009

The White Tiger – A Total Disillusionment

Now I know after reading the prestigious Man Booker Award winning ‘The White Tiger’ as to why ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ bagged so many Oscar Awards. Precisely, the Western world seem to have a high fascination about India and Indian people together with the heaps of garbage, poverty, illiteracy, corruption, violence and so many evil things there. Aravind Adiga, the Author of the book, has proved himself to be successful in fulfilling their expectations to the reasonable extent in ‘The White Tiger.’

The book tells the story of a poor man called Balram Halwai born in a village; that is the dark heart of India. Being deprived of proper education, to earn money he has to do a few jobs right from wiping tables in a hotel to drive the car of a landlord. He gets monthly salary but he is not satisfied. He wants to become rich and successful in life. For that ultimately he decides to break the ‘Rooster Coop’ and murders his owner, snatches away his bag full of rupee notes and flies away from Delhi to Bangalore. There he becomes a successful entrepreneur and in this way he achieves his ambition. That’s all !

Features of the book can be narrated as under ;
1. Simple language (though not smooth flowing).
2. Realistic descriptions (though sometime tend to vulgarity and weirdness).
3. Unusual philosophy.
4. Verbosity & Repetition.
5. One Sided and Negative Approach through out the book.

Objections :
1. The Author divides this county in to two parts; namely, Dark World and White World.
In other words, he believes that people of this country are living either in slums and
huts or in lavish flats and bungalows. He, however, forgets the middle class; the one
being always crushed between the both, also exists. So in fact, there are three worlds
instead of two in this country (and might also be in each and every country in the
world).

2. The hero of the book ‘breaks the Rooster Coop’ by slitting his owner’s throat and
snatching his money bag. Coincidently, the person whom he kills is the only person
who is very kind, understanding and sympathetic to him. What the Author wants to
indicate from this ? This is the only way to break the so-called coop ? And if at all you
want to kill, kill a kind hearted person ?

3. The Author indicates that no entrepreneur in India is having a clean past. This
statement is not only disgusting, but straight away its an insult to all those thousands of
Indian entrepreneurs who have come up with a great degree of dedication, knowledge
and tremendous efforts.

4. The Author doesn’t see a single good thing in India. There must be millions of people
in this country who are hardworking, honest, kind, co-operative and still successful.
But the Author refuses to accept this. He doesn’t see all the benefits of the biggest
democracy in the world which he himself is enjoying every day too. He doesn’t
remember that the son of a boatman could become the President of India and Sam
Pitroda was a boy from nomadic tribes. He probably doesn’t know meaning of the
prisons flooded with criminals. He perhaps doesn’t hear or read about how big shots
and politicians are even made behind bars as a result of petitions filed by commoners.
It seems, he doesn’t recognize efforts and sacrifice being done by the great social
workers in all respects. He doesn’t realize, how the corruption is sizably reduced by
introducing Online R.O.C. compliance, Online Income Tax and Vat Returns & Self
Assessments and so many other things. That doesn’t mean that everything is smooth
sailing in India, but still there happen to be so many good things which we experience
in our day to day life and we hope to happen a few things in years to come. But the
Author doesn’t want to acknowledge this. This should be regarded as a total
ungratefulness.

To conclude, the Book (and also the Booker) is nothing but an unfortunate total disillusionment.

44 comments:

Subhashree said...

I totally Agree with you. Its a fact that the Poverty and corruption in India seems to be the favorite theme of writers and Film makers who wants to make it big in the Western World. We can understand Slum Dog Millionaire, because the Director / producer is not an Indian. However it is unfortunate that even Indian Writers should write such a Book.

Bee said...

I pretty much agree with everything you have written about this book.

I was also disappointed to read it. I feel it does not deserve the
man booker prize.

But ours is a free country and everyone has the right to express their thoughts. ;-)

Arun said...

I do not totally agree with you on the 'ungreatfulness' part of the writer - the writer I believe has brought out the perspectives of a one-off enterpreneur from rashes. This definitely will not be perspective shared by his own brither Kishan in the story nor his fellow driver RamPershad. The success of a writer is in bringing out well the perspectives of the narrator (Balram) with his logic which i believe her was immesely succesful.

One interesting point which you brought out was the fashion for poverty stories from India by authors/film makers foreign to the land. This is true in the case of Arvind too who is a emigrant to Australia!! May be the old India perceptions as a 'land of poverty of witch craft' still excites the western crowd especially when coupled with a rags to riches hero.

Dina said...

Anyway, fashion or not: There are thousands of incredible poor people in India, its not an image, its reality, even if the middleclass tries badly to forget that and looks in a brightly coloured mirror. In the western world exits a lot of books begin critical with western society and it is accepted and discussed. I think indians should be able handle some critics more intelligent than just hiding behind some proud attitudes...
Thats one point.
The other one is: its a fictitious character, an abstract person, an idea of a man struggling with poverty. How can poverty create such characters? Thats quite interesting...

Charles said...

This criticism of the book does not seem to come from a person who reads literature passionately. Instead, it reeks of nationalist pride, offended that a native son has dared to air soiled linen where the British can see it. Rather than worry what Westerners want to see or not want to see, why not actually deal with the book. The very naive assumption behind much of the criticism is the confusion of the narrator's voice with that of the author. I am certain that if you queried Aravind Adiga, he would agree that there is a middle class and that not all successful entrepreneurs are corrupt (but he does point out the increasing gap in wealth, and talks of his novel as a warning rather than as a documentary). The point is that he has created a character who is oppressed by terrible poverty, and the book is told from the character's view.

HARSHAD SARPOTDAR said...

A sensible person would not opt to be patriotic while criticizing a book.
I myself have also been condemning evil things in the country through my writings.
However, reality does not mean just evil things !
This book attracted attention of many after it bagged Man Booker Award. Hence, the question to be asked is whether the book really deserves it.

myname said...

Not a good novel.
It is just 'OK' type book.

At the end of novel, a cab driver done some accident and this white tiger JUST given money for their family.What is the importance of LIFE in his perspective.I too understand that ,that accident is a mistake but he never felt shame about it nor he taken preventive actions.
The same white tiger left his brother (and rest of family) to DEATH.
Many things like this..

patil said...

Adiga provides westerners the bleak side of India which they always seek in India bags Booker to him. It is a sign of white artist in black skin only would get recognition as britishers did in India

雪糕 said...

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Ameya said...

Your criticism is entirely superficial, and reveals how you, like most of other Indians, have failed to grasp the black satire of the book. The Western Civilisation may have a certain fascination with the dark side of India, but let me remind you that that is the real India and urban population are happily ignorant about it because of the cocoons of reality they've spun about themselves. You are probably one of the middle class idealist who believes in the so called good side of our country's people. Time to wake up.

請客 said...

thanks................................................

Alistair said...

This is very illuminating book, different from the optimistic BRIC and mystical Beatles perspectives that many in the UK have. Please don't have an offended nationalist reaction, but square up to part of the truth of India, a country which is admiringly entrepreneurial but which is also held back by rural poverty and (still) the caste system. I think Mahatma Gandhi would have praised this book.

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