A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
A Fine Balance is the second novel by Rohinton Mistry. Set in Bombay, India between 1975 and 1984 during the turmoil of The Emergency, a period of expanded government power and crackdowns on civil liberties, the book concerns four characters from varied backgrounds – Dina Dalal, Ishvar Darji, his nephew Omprakash Darji and the young student Maneck Kohlah – who come together and develop a bond.
The book exposes the changes in Indian society from independence in 1947 to the Emergency called by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Mistry was generally critical of Gandhi in the book. Gandhi, however, is never referred to by name by any of the characters, and is instead called simply “the Prime Minister”. The characters, from diverse backgrounds, are brought together by economic forces changing India.