The White Tiger

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Pinky Madam Character Analysis

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. After killing a young child in a hit- and-run accident, Pinky, because she is rich, is able to evade any legal complications and flies back to America and abruptly ends her marriage.

Pinky Madam Quotes in The White Tiger

The The White Tiger quotes below are all either spoken by Pinky Madam or refer to Pinky Madam. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Self-Made Man Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Free Press edition of The White Tiger published in 2008.
Chapter 4: The Fourth Night Quotes

“We’re driving past Ghandi, after just having given a bribe to a minister. It’s a fucking joke, isn’t it.”

Related Characters: Mr. Ashok (speaker), Pinky Madam
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

Ashok makes this comment after a day of being chauffeured by Balram around Delhi. He is horrified of the irony of passing a famous Ghandi statue after a day spent buying off officials.

This line speaks to the deeply paradoxical nature of Delhi society: Though on the outside it may be covered in monuments that affirm moral integrity, on the inside it is a morass of political corruption. Thus what Gandhi, who is considered the father of the Indian state, stands for is not only being ignored, but also actively betrayed under the nose of his very statue. Ashok’s frustration is motivated in part by a historical critique—on the inability of India to follow Ghandi’s moral principles—and in part by disgust at the mere thought of what his family has done.

Yet if Ashok’s comment casts him as deeply corrupt, the very fact that he speaks this line reveals a more ethical disposition. Certainly, many characters engage in similar behaviors, but few like Ashok hold themselves accountable for these behaviors—or even see them to be negative. But by noting the symbolic mismatch of the Ghandi statue and the day’s acts, Ashkok reveals a capacity to notice these behaviors—and to find them lacking. Thus he, like Balram, is both a witness and agent of corruption: partially redeemed for their observational powers but also condemned for perpetuating the broken system.

Ashok's moral concerns also mark him in two other ways: first, they make him a more sympathetic character, so Balram's eventual murder of him is thus harder to justify. Second, though, in the context of the "jungle" of Indian portrayed in the novel, they mark him as weak, as someone who might be murder-able.


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Pinky Madam Character Timeline in The White Tiger

The timeline below shows where the character Pinky Madam appears in The White Tiger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The First Night
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
Morality and Indian Society Theme Icon
...returns to the village years later with his wealthy master Mr. Ashok and his mistress Pinky Madam, he finally gets the courage to visit the fort alone. He looks out over... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Second Night
Education Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...feel a sense of loyalty and closeness to the murdered Ashok and his former wife, Pinky Madam. He attributes many of his best ideas to Ashok and his family, explaining that... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Fifth Night
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...upcoming incarceration, the Stork asks him to massage his feet. They sit in silence until Pinky Madam enters the room and reminds them to tell Balram that he is free: through... (full context)
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
A few days later, Pinky Madam wakes Balram early in the morning and has him drive her to the airport.... (full context)
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The Mongoose arrives in Delhi to help Ashok through his separation from Pinky, and also bearing a letter to Balram from Kusum Granny. Ashok and the Mongoose read... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Sixth Morning
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
...him, made him capable of murder and rebellion, only after the city corrupted Ashok. After Pinky's departure, Ashok begins going out to bars and clubs at night. As his driver on... (full context)
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...the books, just to feel the “electricity” of knowledge they give off. He mulls over Pinky Madam’s parting gift to him of 4700 rupees, and concludes that this money represented just... (full context)