‘The White Tiger’ by Aravind Adiga [Free PDF]
The White Tiger is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It was first published in 2008 and won the Man Booker Prize for the same year. The novel studies the contrast between India’s rise as a modern global economy and the main character, who comes from crushing rural poverty.
Balram Halwai is the White Tiger: the smartest boy in his village in the “Darkness” of rural India. The son of a rickshaw-puller, Balram’s family is too poor to allow him to finish school, and instead he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. However, Balram gets his break when a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. As he drives his master to shopping malls and call centres, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, while knowing that he will never be able to gain access to that world. As Balram broods over his situation, he realizes that there is only one way he can become part of this glamorous new India.
The novel takes the form of a series of letters written late at night by Balram to Wen Jiabao, the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. In the letters, Balram describes his rise from lowly origins to his current position as an entrepreneur in Bangalore, as well as his views on India’s caste system and its political corruption.
Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974 and was raised partly in Australia. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities. A former correspondent in India for TIME magazine, his articles have also appeared in publications like The Financial Times, The Independent, and The Sunday Times. He lives in Mumbai.
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