Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Indian Village and the Power Structures:A Scrutiny of "The White Tiger".

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Village appears in “The White Tiger” as a space for implementing the paraphernalia of power, by the power structures. Power, and rule, both as ideological and restrictive forms are acting upon the village. More prominent in it is of course the restrictive apparatus, not as police or judiciary but as the landlords and their laws. The ideological apparatus finds not as much prominence as the restrictive apparatus, as the protagonist, who being the measure for interaction between the reader and the village, questions the ideological apparatus and traditional shoulder-stoop philosophies, on the way of his existential saga. But he fails to win over the restrictive apparatus most of the times, during his times in the village and later.

The protagonist, Balram Halwai, moves from his village to town, in the process of his growth. Even though, toward the end, we can see him as a holder of power, we cannot find him coming back to his village or confronting any of those involved in the power transactions in the village. Also, the village memories leave him in a rather disturbing thought, about his parents’ and family’s security. From this we can understand that the village as the subject of power, still remains in the consciousness of Balram Halwai.

As I said early, it is through the protagonist’s vision, that we are being exposed to the village. Therefore, we can assume that Aravind Adiga, in his novel, “The White Tiger”, wants to convey that the village is the subject of an autonomous power structure. These autonomous power structures, the landlords, retain their power by the successful interactions with cultural, political, economic, and social environments.

The inability of the villager to fight back and to win his ends is often related to his innocence. The villagers in the novel are presented as innocent, passive bearers of the exertion of power. In other words, it is this obedience, to a neocolonial power, that bestows on them the title of being innocent. Here, innocence becomes an inclination, subordination, inability, and a silent obligation towards those who rule them, only because they are the ones being ruled. And thus it becomes a crime.

Balram has the persona of an enlightened man, who questions the power structures. Thus the character of Balram is made to identify as one out of the innocent folk. He is the one who makes his end win.

Still toward the end the novel, as mentioned early, the protagonist remains co-axial with the inability of breaking the influence of the power structures, like an ordinary villager. This can be perceived as a discourse where the neocolonial centers of power remain unchanged and the village becomes a neocolonial prototype of passive obedience.

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