When politics is a practice of power that rules lives with a cluster of perceptions and practices, Mistry’s A Fine Balance is a novel that acts as a great force fearlessly displaying life’s rich variousness and barren viciousness, proving that power is abused and the strong grind the weak as Frank Norris remarks in The Responsibilities of Novelists. Aware of India’s social and political life, and closely linked with its background, Mistry’s fiction brilliantly captures the crowded, throbbing life of India as Mistry looks beyond the beauty of ‘Incredible India’ capturing corruption, politically motivated schemes, political decisions, layman’s sufferings, issues of casteism, dominance of Zamindars, and inhuman treatment of untouchable minorities.
Presenting an authentic portrait of contemporary India during the Emergency era imposed by Indira Gandhi, India in the novel is bound with its timeless chain of caste exploitation, male chauvinism, linguistic strives and communal disharmony. Further the tyranny of the power - hungry politicians over the poor – hungry citizens is unveiled as Mistry depicts the humiliating condition of people living in Jhopadpattis, deaths on railway tracks, demolition of shacks on the pretext of beautification, deaths in police custody, lathi charges and murders in the pretext of enforcing Family Planning.
As the story unfolds, A Fine Balance sets the private arena and the public orbit interacting to reveal that the two are linked since the individual and the family cannot escape th...
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... to remind yourself of who you are. Then you can go forward, without fear of losing yourself in this ever-changing world” (594-95). Although in this novel the characters’ lives appear to have lost their importance, and the balance between hope and despair has almost tipped, the age-old question has been well asked. If it continues to be asked, then perhaps the significance of the individual and the necessity of spiritual balance will never be fully lost.
Kumar, Gajendra. Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance- A Slice of Middle Class Life. New Delhi:
Swarup and Sons, 2001.
Mistry, Rohinton. A Fine Balance. New Delhi: Rupa, 1996. Print.
Bhatnagar, Vinita P. “A Reading of A Fine Balance.” The Fiction of Rohinton Mistry, Critical
Norris, Frank. Responsibilities of the novelist and other literary essays London: Grant Richards, 1903 (25-33)
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