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India Re-located' in Arvind Adiga's The White Tiger


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The White Tiger, Adiga-2008, Literary Article

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India Re-located' in Arvind Adiga's The White Tiger

  1. 1. 36 RESEARCH ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION International Indexed & Refferred Research Journal, August 2012, ISSN 0975-3486, RNI-RAJBAL 2009/30097:VoL III*ISSUE-35 Research Paper-English August, 2012 Introduction: The White Tiger is an unflattering portrait of present day India as a society of servitude and ram- pant corruption. Poverty of rural Bihar, and the evil of the feudal landlords are shown mythically as an attempt to temper the society with the vision of justice against the brutal injustice at large in a vein of what writers like Balzac, or Dickens did in the 19th century (Guardian).Thestory,awittyparableofIndia'schang- ing society, was the author's writing back and striking at the false notion of a modern transformed India. Unglamorous portrait of India was taken as an insult and indignity, but the author made it clear that "what I am trying to do -is not an attack on the country; it's about the greater process of self- examination"(Guardian). India has canvassed much of its socio-economic progress to the world, but the dark side of the story is unfolded laying bare all the trappings of gimmick and falsity at the dawn of the 21st century in its actual socio-political context in which the story affects the prime character the way he is a product of the soil and turns out to be a white tiger. The Dichotomy: The apparently didactic story exposes the stern reality and takes the glamour off the 'India shin- ning' even though the author never envisioned it as a counter narrative. He divides India as 'India of Dark- ness' and 'India of Light. It contains some of the very astute observations about class divide and disempowerment in India. The protagonist narrates his stories to the Chinese Premier, on the eve of his visit to India who was to witness the magic of IT entrepreneurship in Bangalore. Narre explains, "What keeps the millions of poor Indians work in servitude? How stable is such system? All these questions are answered through Balaram Halwai" (57). 'India Re-located' in Arvind Adiga's The White Tiger * Prakash Bhadury * 232, Panchwati Enclave, Meerut. A B S T R A C T The White Tiger (2008) exploresthe protagonist Munna's journey between an 'India of Light' and an 'India of Darkness' while the country is rising as a modern global economy. Narrated through epistolary form, Munna highlights the "Great Socialist's fall of values , social and political corruption, oppression of lower classes against 'Gandhian' values and his striving to come out as an entrepreneur, though in an corrupt way. Here, the protagonist is the White Tiger, a rare creature that comes once in a generationas asurprise and change.Adiga, here,isinpermanent argument withthe world he hasinherited andhas attempted to relocate India in a political and economic context. All the corruptions go before the big photograph of Gandhi. The author makes a sharp contrast of Gandhian value and present day corruption. Gandhi advocated non-violence, honesty and austere life, but Vivekananda made it clear that a race can not progress in empty stomach. Hence, the contrast is to show di- rectly that the race is in serious trouble .The Northern belt along the Ganges is the "Dark India" which ex- poses rampant corruption. The Ganges has turned as 'black river, and materially it is full of filth. Gandhi is doubly assassinated as the poor people in dark India work in a degradingly low work condition. They are the "human spiders (WT 51). Balaram, having under- stood this rival myth, breaks the shackle of child labourers via a servant of humiliation, to a chauffeur for his village's wealthiest man before making a giant leap (Outlook). India Relocated: The story unfolds and unearths the corrup- tion, the class divide, the vicious political system and Balaram comes out in the light as the White Tiger-"a rare creature that comes once in a generation" (Narre 56).For an Indian it's one of the most unpalatable thing that a Halwai caste could rise so high in the societal ladder. "This is a shameful and dislocating thing for and Indian to do", says Adiga in the Guard- ian interview. It's a dark book as Balaram compro- mises with wrong to cross over to the bright side. The issue of means and ends what Gandhi preached and practised throughout his life jolts every- one-is this the country heading to? An utterly bleak landscape is kept hidden under the camouflaged lamp of bright progress. Adiga himself gave a life line to this question in the Outlook magazine: "The book is an attempt to relocate India in a political and eco- nomic context" (21).The life and economic progress in big cities like Bangalore is not real India. The
  2. 2. 37RESEARCH ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION International Indexed & Refferred Research Journal, August 2012, ISSN 0975-3486, RNI-RAJBAL 2009/30097:VoL III*ISSUE-35 "India of Light" represents huge economic activity through technology and entrepreneurship. Where as, India lives in villages and all the city glamour are due to the disintegration of village life. This may well allude to Mulk Raj Anand's ground breaking novel, Untouchable (1935) in Which Bakha, the protago- nist, 'bore the brunt of societal prejudice of untouch- ability' (Hindu). Conclusion: The story is seen by many as a pessimistic book on India's future, and the United States has taken it as a very optimistic book. The author has felt that "We've got to get beyond that as Indians and take 1 Adiga,Arvind, The White Tige. New Delhi: Harper Collins p,2008. Print 2 Narre, Veena. "India as reflected inArvindAdiga's novel TheWhite 3 Tiger".Rock PebblesMagazine.13.1 (2009):55-58.print. 4 n.p.Web.11nov'11. 5 Rev. ofTheWhiteTiger.The Hindu.02 Nov.2008.n.p.Web.9Jan'12. 6 Suri, Sanjay. "ArvindAdiga'stheWhiteTiger".Outlook.27th Nov 7 2008:23-25.print. responsibility for what is holding us back"(Guardian). The corruption in social and political level, lack of basic amenities, degrading work-condition, servitude, and irregular growth leading to the wide chasm be- tween the rich and the poor are the seamy sides of the story of the "India of Light". Adiga has deconstructed the society in which people at the periphery push to the centre and the center is pushed to the periphery. Munna, a peripheral man, is re-incarnated as a white tiger, though politically incorrect way, to claim for the center what alarms us at the need of social overhaul- ing. Here, lies the author's merit of relocating India. R E F E R E N C E