Thursday, February 7, 2013

Corruption in India & Adiga's The White Tiger

The following is from this Monday's BBC article "India court charges Suresh Kalmadi with corruption:"
A court in India has charged the chief of Delhi's 2010 Commonwealth Games, Suresh Kalmadi, with corruption. Mr Kalmadi and nine others have been charged with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy. He denies the charges and has pleaded not guilty. The case will be heard at a fast-track court in Delhi. Estimated to be worth $16.5m (£10m) in funds lost to the exchequer, the case is one of several corruption scandals to have rocked India's government.
A hilarious novel that discusses corruption in India is Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger:
In this darkly comic début novel set in India, Balram, a chauffeur, murders his employer, justifying his crime as the act of a "social entrepreneur." In a series of letters to the Premier of China, in anticipation of the leader’s upcoming visit to Balram’s homeland, the chauffeur recounts his transformation from an honest, hardworking boy growing up in "the Darkness"—those areas of rural India where education and electricity are equally scarce, and where villagers banter about local elections "like eunuchs discussing the Kama Sutra"—to a determined killer. He places the blame for his rage squarely on the avarice of the Indian élite, among whom bribes are commonplace, and who perpetuate a system in which many are sacrificed to the whims of a few.
(The above book review is from The New Yorker. I can't find the original New Yorker page it comes from, but here is the Amazon page I found it on.)

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