Friday, April 30, 2010

An alternative view of India is presented in The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2008, through a serious of letters written by the protagonist, Balram Halwai and addressing to the premier of People's Republic of China (PRC), Wen Jiabao.

On hearing the radio announcing the premier's upcoming visit to Bangalore, Balram felt the urge to write down his own experience as a true entrepreneur in India because he knew that the premier might miss the truth under the diplomatic veneer. A "half-baked" Indian from the Darkness, Balram's story revealed the harsh living conditions of the poor and how social injustices kept them from escaping the "coop". What it takes for Balram to escape was not something glory that will be included in the government brochure.
Mr. Premier,


Neither you nor I speak English, but there are some things that can be said only in English.

My ex-employer the late Mr. Ashok's ex-wife, Pinky Madam, taught me one of these things; and at 11:32 p.m. today, which was about ten minutes ago, when the lady on All India Radio announced, "Premier Jiabao is coming to Bangalore next week," I said that thing at once.

In fact, each time when great men like you visit our country I say it. Not that I have anything against great men. In my way, sir, I consider myself one of your kind. But whenever I see our prime minister and his distinguished sidekicks drive to the airport in black cars and get out and do namastes before you in front of a TV camera and tell you about how moral and saintly India is, I have to say that thing in English.


You hope to learn how to make a few Chinese entrepreneurs, that's why you're visiting. That made me feel good. But then it hit me that in keeping with international protocol, the prime minister and foreign minister of my country will meet you at the airport with garlands, small take-home sandalwood statues of Gandhi, and a booklet full of information about India's past, present, and future.

That's when I had to say that thing in English, sir. Out loud.


...the phrase in English that I learned from my ex-employer the late Mr. Ashok's ex-wife Pinky Madam is:

What a fucking joke.
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