“The White Tiger” is dark and raw

The White Tiger is dark and raw

Jasmyne McAlpine

The White Tiger is the story of Balram, the son of a rickshaw puller, who lives in a small Indian village. He finds the destitution of his family reclusive and decides to break free from it. He is constantly on the lookout for opportunities that could alleviate his poverty. He learns how to drive and manages a driver’s job with the landlord of his village. Lady Luck smiles upon him when the Balram is asked to accompany the landlord’s son to Delhi as his driver. In Delhi, Balram learns the ways of the urban society. A keen observer and a fast learner, Balram realizes very soon that a little dishonesty can bring him enough money for a secure future. So he robs and murders his employer, runs away to Bangalore with his loot and starts his own business there. Years later is seen as an influential member of Bangalore power circle successfully steering his career from one height to another.

The book is set in present-day India. The White Tiger brings to contrast the disparity between progressive Indian cities and regressive Indian villages. It depicts the different faces of urban and rural corruption, brings to light various cultural stigmas associated with caste and religion, and is able to pinpoint multiple other societal malaise.

The book is written in the form of letters written by Balram to a Chinese ambassador. The life-guiding principles of Balram are disputed through a course of incidents and never seems didactic. The book is fast-paced and offers a whole lot of virulent criticism of India. The humor is dark. The language is raw.