The White Tiger

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The White Tiger Characters

Balram Halwai

Born only with the name “Munna” – Boy – and by the end of the novel known as “Ashok Sharma,” Balram is the novel’s narrator and protagonist. The White Tiger is the story of his… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Ashok

The Stork’s son and Balram’s master. Ashok recently returned from America and has a gentler, milder personality compared to his wealthy and entitled family members. He feels disillusioned by the widespread corruption in… (read full character analysis)


The matriarch of Balram’s family, his grandmother Kusum runs the household according to tough, traditional Indian family values. Primarily concerned with the family’s short-term financial solvency, Kusum removes her young relatives from school prematurely to… (read full character analysis)

Pinky Madam

Ashok’s beautiful, Americanized wife. Pinky is a demanding, critical and cruel mistress to Balram. She is unhappy in India and eager to return to the US, which puts a strain on her marriage to Ashok… (read full character analysis)

Wen Jiabao

The Chinese Premier to whom Balram addresses his letter and narrates his life story. Jiabao is a visiting Chinese official who expresses interest in learning the secrets of Indian entrepreneurship, so he can return to… (read full character analysis)
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Vikram Halwai

Balram’s father is a poor, illiterate rickshaw driver who dies of tuberculosis early in the novel. During his life, he fights to the best of his ability to fulfill his wife’s wish that Balram be… (read full character analysis)

Balram’s Mother

Balram’s mother dies when he is a young boy in Laxmangahr. Though she is a minor figure in the background of his life, Balram recounts that she had great ambitions for him, her favorite son… (read full character analysis)


Kishan is Balram’s older brother who cares for him after their father dies. Though Kishan is an influential, fatherly figure in Balram’s life, Balram laments his brother’s lack of “entrepreneurial spirit”: in other words, his… (read full character analysis)


Balram’s young cousin, who Kusum sends to Delhi for Balram to mentor. Dharam’s arrives at a crucial moment, complicating things just as Balram is devising his plan to murder Ashok and escape with his master’s… (read full character analysis)

The Stork

One of the four animal landlords of Laxmangahr, father of Mr. Ashok and Mukesh Sir. He owns the river outside of Laxmangahr, and taxes any villager who fishes there or boats across it. The bulk… (read full character analysis)

The Mongoose

Ashok’s brother, also referred to as Mukesh Sir. Mukesh Sir suspects that Balram is dishonest from their very first meeting, and disapproves of Ashok’s lenient attitude towards his servant. Unlike Ashok who has recently returned… (read full character analysis)

Ram Persad

The Stork’s “number one” family servant. Though he and Balram sleep in the same bedroom, they despise one another and compete in every aspect of their lives. When Balram first arrives, Ram Persad drives Ashok… (read full character analysis)


Balram’s personal hero from his hometown of Laxmangahr. Balram admires Vijay for his ambition and entrepreneurial spirit: in particular, for his ability to swiftly and completely reinvent his identity in order to rise up in… (read full character analysis)

Great Socialist

The Great Socialist has dominated the political scene in the Darkness for as long as Balram can remember. While the Great Socialist presents himself as a populist leader serving the poor, he and his corrupt… (read full character analysis)


The driver of another wealthy businessman who lives in Ashok’s apartment complex. He has Vitiligo, a common, disfiguring skin disease that primarily afflicts India’s poor. Vitiligo-Lips takes a liking to Balram and attempts to help… (read full character analysis)

Ram Bahadur (the Nepali)

A cruel Nepali servant in The Stork’s household who torments Balram, while helping Ram Persad conceal his Muslim identity from his employers. When Balram discovers Ram Persad’s secret and Ram Bahadur’s role in covering… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
The Wild Boar
One of the four animal landlords who owns all of the fertile agricultural land around Laxmangahr. He is known for grinning predatorily at female villagers, exposing his long, curved teeth. Ashok and Pinky lunch at his house when they return to visit Laxmangahr.
The Buffalo
The greediest of the four animal landlords, known for heavily taxing rickshaw drivers who travel on his roads.
The Raven
One of the four animal landlords, known for sexually abusing shepherds who bring their animals to graze on his land.
Mr. Krishna
Balram’s corrupt schoolteacher, who gives him his name. Mr. Krishna steals the funds intended to pay for school lunches because he never receives his salary.
Ms. Uma
Ashok’s former lover, who he meets again after Pinky Madam’s departure.
A cousin of Balram and Kishan who travels with them to Dhanbad to find work.
The Minister’s Assistant
The corrupt official who convinces Ashok to hire a Ukrainian prostitute
A prostitute Balram hires through Vitiligo-Lips
The Inspector
A school inspector who calls Balram “a white tiger,” establishing Balram’s sense of himself as a special person deserving of greater things.
Muslim Bookseller
A bookseller in Old Delhi.
Mohammad Asif
Balram’s employee at White Tiger Drivers, who hits and kills a cyclist. Balram uses his money to bribe his company out of any legal difficulties.