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White Tiger

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Aravind Adiga

Not So Shining..

ARAVIND ADIGA’S DEBUTANT NOVEL HAS BEEN HOGGING THE LIMELIGHT FOR REASONS OTHER THAN WINNING THE WORLD’S MOST  COVETED RECOGNITION ,THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE FOR THE YEAR 2008. THE NOVEL “ THE WHITE TIGER “ HAS TORN DOWN THE MASK FROM THE SO CALLED SHINING FACE OF INDIA AND EXPOSED THE DEEPLY SCARRED AND POVERTY STRICKEN FACE OF THE UNSUNG MASSES .

ADIGA’S PORTRAYAL OF INDIA HAS RUFFLED A FEW FEATHERS OF THOSE INDIANS WHO HAD BEEN BASKING IN THE GLORY OF INDIA’S RISING SENSEX AND INCREASING INCOME FROM ABROAD .IT IS NOT JUST A CONTENT , BUT ALSO HIS STYLE OF PRESENTATION THAT COMES AS A SURPRISE. THE ENTIRE NOVEL IS IN THE FORM OF A  LETTER  ADDRESSED TO THE CHINESE PREMIERE WEN JIABAO FROM AN INDIAN ENTREPRENEUR BASED IN BANGLORE .

‘THE WHITE TIGER ‘ HAS DEPICTED THE  CONDITION OF THE POOR AND THE POLITICIAN WHO FEED UPON THEIR HELPLESSNESS  TO FILL THEIR OWN POCKETS .IT HAS REVEALED TO THE WORLD THAT IT IS THE SWEET OF THE POOR THAT GLISTEN IN THE INDIAN SUN AND FOREIGNERS MISTAKE IT FOR GLITTER .(ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD.)

THE  PROTAGONIST OF THE NOVEL BALRAM HALWAI IS BORN IN A POOR FAMILY IN BIHAR  BUT WITH AN INNATE AMBITION TO BE HIGH AND MIGHTY LIKE THE LAND LANDLORDS IN THE VILLAGE .THE PROTAGONIST FEEL THE NEED TO FLEE THE VILLAGE AND LOOK FOR A LIVING IN THE CITY WHEN HE COMES ACROSS THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO HAVE LIVED THEIR LIVES IN VILLAGE SHATTERED AN MEANINGLESS .HE OFTEN COMPARES HIS VILLAGE AND SACRED RIVER GANGA WITH DARKNESS .THIS WAS THE MAJOR FACTOR AROUSING THE PATRIOTIC OR RATHER INFLAMMABLE PASSION OF THE INDIAN INTELLIGENTSIA AND THE EVER VIGILANT MEDIA . BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT ONE CAN ONLY SEE WHAT ONE WANT TO SEE .THE AUTHOR SPEAKS OF DARKNESS BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IS PRESENT IN THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT .(FREE EDUCATION AND CONTENTED LIVES IN BIHAR.)

WHEN THE PROTAGONIST MOVES TO DELHI TO MAKE HIS FORTUNE THE BOOK SLOWLY START REVEALED THE TRUE COLORS OF  INDIA’S NATIONAL CAPITAL .DELHI APPEARS STYLISH AND ELEGANT TO OTHERS (READ FOREIGN INVESTORS ) BECAUSE IT HAS SUCCESSFULLY CAMOUFLAGED THE THAT PLAQUES THE CITY , BEHIND THE CONCRETE JUNGLE,IN THE INSIGNIFICANT  SLUMS.

THE BOOK IS LIKE A TYPICAL ADOOR GOPALAKRISHNAN MOVIE ,JUST DEPICTION OF LIFE ,NO BACKGROUND SCORE ,NO LARGER THAN LIFE DRAMA , NOTHING AT ALL.’THE WHITE TIGER’ UNFOLDS MORE LIKE A CHEMISTRY TEXT BOOK .IT SPEAKS ABOUT THE INEQUALITY BETWEEN THE RICH AND THE POOR .OUR SPEAKER POLITICIANS FORMULATE LAWS AND POLICIES THAT CATALYZE THE EARNING CAPACITY OF THE RICH , MAKING THEM RICHER AND THE POOR POORER .

NO MATTER WHAT INCENTIVES ARE ANNOUNCED FOR THE POOR ,IT NEVER REACHES THEM BECAUSE THE MIDDLEMEN AND THE POLITICIANS FORM AN ELABORATE NETWORK BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE COMMON MASSES .

THE PROTAGONIST ‘S MASTER ASHOK AND HIS WIFE PINKY ARE CLASSIC EXAMPLES OF INDIA ‘S CITY –DWELLING ELITE .THEY NEITHER KNOW NOR CARE ABOUT THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO ARE IN THEIR SERVICE .THEIR HOPES AND BELIEFS ECHO THE SPIRIT OF MODERN INDIA ,WHERE THE TIME TESTED VALUES OF TRUTH AND SELFLESS SERVICE TO THE COUNTRY (READ PATRIOTISM) ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION .

THERE NOVEL PROCEEDS AT A SNAIL,S PACE EVEN THOUGH THE EVENTS ARE NARRATED BY THE PROTAGONIST IN A SPAN OF 3 – 4 DAYS .THE COLD BLOODED MURDER OF ASHOK BY HIS NEW DRIVER ,BALRAM HALWAR , DOES NOTHING TO EVOKE A SENSE OF FEAR OR INSTILL A CHILL IN THE SPINE .

THE BOOK CAN SERVE AS A WINDOW TO THE WORLD ABOUT THE TRUTH BEHIND ‘INCREDIBLE’ INDIA .HOW IT MANAGED TO KNOCK THE ’ THE SOCK OFF ’ THE JUDGES AT THE BOOKER EVENT IS STILL A MYSTERY TO COME .WELL ,ONE CAN ALWAYS VIEW A GLASS AS HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY .ADIGA CHOSE THE LATTER AND MAY BE THE JUDGES SAW THE FORMER IN HIS BOOK .

INDIA IS A NATION OBSESSED WITH CRICKET AND PRODUCES SURPRISING RESULTS EVERYTHING IT OWES , LIKE IN CRICKET SOMETIMES IT WINS AN UNEXPECTED MATCH AND SOMETIMES LOSES AN EASY MATCH .(GOT THE ANALOGY BETWEEN INDIA AN DCICKET ?) INDIA ‘S 6 DECADE LONG ATTEMPT IN ALLEVIATING POVERTY HAS NOT JUST FAILED , BUT ALSO PRODUCED STUNNING RESULTS IN INCREASING THE NUMBER OF INDIAN MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES .

EVEN THOUGH ‘THE WHITE TIGER ‘ (ARAVIND ADIGA ) ,LACKS THE OF ‘ INHERITANCE OF LOSS “ , IT SUCCESSFULLY REVEALS THE SECRET OF SUCCESS IN LIFE :

‘ ANYONE WITH A KILLER INSTINCT ,CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN .’

AND NOW A WORD OF CAUTION ,THIS BOOK IS ONLY FOR THOSE WHO SEEK INSPIRATION FOR SUCCESS.THOSE BOOKWORMS WHO NEED TO KEEP THE MID NIGHT OIL BURNING SHOULD LOOK ELSEWHERE .

Reviwed by

Amrita Nair

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Posted by on June 18, 2009 in Prize winning reviews

 

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