Pi explains the political climate of the time – the 1970s were a bad period in India, when Mrs. Gandhi suspended all constitutional rights to avoid being expelled from office. Pi was not affected by the political troubles at first, as his world consisted of the zoo’s daily routines, but soon Pi’s father came to worry about the zoo’s future.
Martel places the Patels in the political climate of the Emergency, but this mostly serves as a plot device to inspire the family’s cross-Pacific move. Pi continues to live in his contemplative world of animals and religion.
Eventually Pi’s parents decided that the zoo could not remain profitable in such a political climate, and they grew outraged at the government’s actions, which destroyed their hope for the “New India.” Finally they decided to move the family to Canada, which seemed an inherently foreign place to Pi and Ravi.
Pi has now become one of those animals being displaced from his “territory,” and he will experience all the chaos that comes with such a shift. In Pi’s world zoos are delicate things that cannot survive heavy-handed governments.