The White Tiger of India

Ready for another Slumdog Millionaire? After Vikas Swarup’s Q & A was made into Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle, it’s the turn of Aravind Adiga’s Man Booker Prize winner The White Tiger. The book’s rights have been acquired by Revolutionary Road producer John Hart’s newly formed Smuggler Films.

I read through an interview with Aravind Adiga, and found some of his thoughts on the book’s development quite interesting. Some excerpts:

[The book] came out of my experience of coming back to India. I grew up in the south; but I returned to the north (Delhi), after having lived in Australia, and studied English literature at Columbia University in New York and Oxford University.

As a correspondent for Time, I traveled a lot in places I hadn’t seen before, like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar. The book is a record of a discovery of a new side of India.

The first thing that came to mind that I had forgotten was the servant-master relationship, the class system in India. Especially in north India, even today, a middle-class person is well off and can have three, four servants, a driver, a gardener, someone to take care of the children.

The other thing that struck me is the disparity in income. The rich are so rich. The Indian economy is booming but the money was not really getting down to the poor and the difference in the world between the rich and the poor was phenomenal.

And this led to the question why there was so little crime in India compared to that in New York, South Africa and Latin America, where poverty is the leading cause of [the high rates of] crime. In India, even if there is a phenomenal disparity in wealth there is very little crime due to poverty. The novel began as a kind of an experiment.

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