The narrative of The White Tiger takes the curious form of a one-sided correspondence between Balram Halwai, Bangalore-based entrepreneur, and the Premier of China.
Halwai tells the premier that the future belongs to the “yellow man and the brown man now that our erstwhile master, the white-skinned man, has wasted himself through buggery, mobile phone usage, and drug abuse.” At first he comes across as a bit of a buffoon, but through his riffs on politics, religion and Indian society we begin to see much more complex character. It does not take us long to learn that as well as being an entrepreneur, he is also a murderer.
Halwai is a “Half-Baked Indian”, once a promising student, who had his schooling cut short at a young age when he was sent to break charcoals in a tea shop. He gains his knowledge where and when he can: from the half-understood conversations in English of his passengers; or the torn page of an old textbook used to wrap a greasy samosa.