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I highlighted India's brutal injustices: Adiga
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October 16, 2008 19:07 IST

Aravind Adiga, winner of this year's Man Booker Prize for his debut novel The White Tiger says his novel highlights the brutal injustices of changing India, which is on the verge of inheriting the world from the West.

Adiga's novel is creating ripples in India for its defiantly unglamorous portrait of the country's economic miracle.

Refuting that the novel was an attack on the growth story of the country, Adiga said writers like him should highlight the brutal aspects of India.

Aravind Adiga speaks on The White Tiger

"At a time when India is going through great changes and, with China, is likely to inherit the world from the West, it is important that writers like me try to highlight the brutal.injustices of society," he said, adding that the criticism by writers like Flaubert, Balzac and Dickens of in the 19th century helped England [Images] and France [Images] become better societies.

"That's what I'm trying to do -- it's not an attack on the country, it's about the greater process of self-examination," the writer told The Gaurdian.

According to the writer, the challenges that are holding India back are corruption, lack of health services for the poor and the presumption that the family is always the repository of good.

"In India, there has never been strong central political control, which is probably why the family is still so important. If you're rude to your mother in India, it's a crime as bad as stealing would be here," he said.

"But the family ties get broken or at least stretched when anonymous cities like Bangalore draw people from the villages," the author said.

"These really are the new tensions of India, but Indians don't think about them. The middle classes think of themselves still as victims of colonial rule. But there is no point any more in someone like me thinking of myself as a victim of a colonial oppressor.

"India and China are too powerful to be controlled by the West any more. We've got to get beyond that as Indians and take responsibility for what is holding us back," Adiga said.

When asked about his reason behind writing a novel about the experiences of the Indian poor, the Chennai-born writer said, "I don't think a novelist should just write about his own experience. Yes, I am the son of a doctor, yes, I had a rigorous formal education, but for me the challenge as a novelist is to write about people who aren't anything like me."

"This is the reality for a lot of Indians and it's important that it gets written about, rather than just hearing about the five per cent of people in my country who are doing well," the writer said.

Adiga conceived the idea of the novel while travelling in India while working for Time magazine. "I spent a lot of time hanging around stations and talking to rickshaw pullers and their intelligence impressed me.

"...they are witty, acerbic, verbally skilled and utterly without illusions about their rulers," he said.

Buy Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger on

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