I completed reading of the new book which won Booker Prize for 2008 - The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga.
I had ordered this book online with Landmark, Chennai and the book was delivered in 3 days which is fantastic... I did not have to walk into a book store, browse or search for the book. It was delivered to me on my hand!
The opening of the book is itself makes the book a page turner. This is about a story of a man from the low-strata of society in India. The views expressed are from his viewpoint about India, the rich and famous, the politics and the system. The language of the book is very simple, easy to understand, no made-up twists or turns. Arvind Adiga brings you the picture of a village in interior India (most of urban population in India, including me do not have any idea of this interior India), the lives they live, joint family system, village heads, local politics and the boy who has seen it all. The protagonist is seen as writing letters to the Chinese president summing up things that has happened in his life and how he is in the present situation.
Shashi Tharoor's 'India From Midnight to the Millenium' is also a similar book (I have not read this book fully.. though) but the view of India is from a upper middle class or upper class citizen who lives in USA but has seen changes in India. When you compare this book with The White Tiger you seem to feel both are correct. The system in which we live in has not changed for more than hundred years and will continue to be so for the next hundred years. The lower caste or lower strata of Indians will continue to stuggle and the rich will become richer. In spite of the system there has been several developments like the economic growth, infrastructure development, global companies having India strategy, market stability and many other things.
People say there is too much of history in India and we as Indians cling to history, brought up listening stories from our Grandma/Grandpa's. In the 'n' number of stories that you might have heard the value or the core thing that you learn is honesty, integrity and sprituality. On the contrary the actual world is full of dirt... it's a clash between the ideology you have learnt as a kid and practical world. Almost all succumb to the practical world to survive and even if someone thinks that he can follow the rules as per his heart he cannot do it in his/this lifetime.
I recommend you to read this book The White Tiger to enhance your knowledge on India, the other side of India or true India.