Balram rebels against his master and proves his identity of a ‘subaltern’ which was embedded in the shackles of his deeply conditioned spirit of submission and servitude. He drinks high quality of liquor, wears good clothes and visits to mall to touch the glitterati of the world of ‘light’, and collects money by cheating his master just to experience the enjoyment and satisfaction one can get by sleeping with high profile prostitutes. He wanted to set himself free from this ‘rooster coop’ and come out of his pitiful condition immediately. He overpowers his conscience and joins hand with his ambitious spirit of a psychopath, to kill his master and run away with the money. He becomes an accomplished entrepreneur with his ‘half baked ‘knowledge. As this was the only education he gained from his masters and other people being a driver. But in the end he realized his dreams by grabbing and manipulating the opportunities that came in his way. In the earlier part, when he struggled by fair means, he succeeded only by being a driver of a small car of rich man which by clever manipulation is promoted to the position of chauffeur of the luxury car owned by Mr. Ashok. After sometime he finds out that there is hardly any change in his condition as he was still a servant with no identity. But on being exposed to the city life, he learns corrupt and selfish means to succeed and break his image of a servant. His inner revolt gives birth to a criminal who can go to any extent to fulfill his dreams.
According to Spivak subaltern is the counterpart of the society whose voice and the activities and other expression of power had been muted, whose voice had been snatched away and whose indomitable force had been lost or swept away because in respect of the power of voice, representation and above all the question of identity play a vital part in their survival. Silence, pain and oppression are the fundamental parts of the subaltern classes who always try to fight for their survival but their noiselessness became obstacle for their survival from the daily to daily life. Hence they cannot represent themselves in the society.
Balaram kills his master in order to get a life which is full of gentlemanliness, to get back his long cherished desire be a part of the glamorized world. He is the eyewitness of the rampant corruption of the life of his master Ashok who possesses a degraded moral quality. But in respect of justice he cannot break all the boundaries of cruelty, injustice and humiliation. Everywhere Balaram is the victim of the utter humiliation and exploitation. Balaram does not want to be a ‘rooster’ in a ‘coop’, he does not want to be ‘eaten’ rather desperately wait to be part ‘eaters’. Balaram gradually loses the sense of patience, justice and humanity and chooses the beaten track just to gain materialistic prosperity. Gayatri Spivak remarks, ‘We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect’ (Spivak 1988:282).
The novel reflects the subaltern issues such as social taboos, rigid caste distinction, superstitions, and caste and culture conflict. The old driver of Stork asked Balram: ‘What caste are you?’ (TWT: 56) Similar question is asked by Stork: ‘Halwai….What caste is that, top or bottom?’ (TWT: 62) The instance of class distinction is exposed through the marriage of Ashok and Pinky. Pinky is not a Hindu. Later, due to caste and cultural differences their relationship is snapped. The novelist comments that ‘the greatest thing to come out of this country in ten thousand years of its history is the Rooster Coop’ (TWT: 173). A handful of men in this country have trained the remaining 99.9 per cent– as strong, as talented, as intelligent in every way—to exist in perpetual servitude; a servitude so strong that you can put the key of his emancipation in a man’s hands and he will throw it back at you with a curse. (TWT: 176).
The practice of dowry is another social stigma in Laxamangarh. The marriage of Balram’s cousin-sister Reena pushed the whole family into world of misery and Balram is dropped from the school. Kishan’s marriage also brings huge dowry, Balram says, ‘It was one of the good marriages. We had the boy, and we screwed the girl’s family hard. I remember exactly what we got in dowry…five thousand rupees in cash, all crisp new unsoiled notes fresh from the bank, plus a Hero bicycle, plus a thick gold necklace for Kishan’ (TWT: 51).
Balram’s father dies due to the lack of hospital and medical facilities. Medical services are shown as an object of political mockery and social stigma. The Great Socialist inaugurated Lohia Universal Free Hospital in view of election result. There is no doctor in the hospital, doctor seldom visits the hospital; even the rooms are not safe, Balram says, ‘Cat has tasted blood. A couple of Muslim men had spread a newspaper on the ground and were sitting on it. One of them had an open wound on his leg. He invited us to sit with him and his friend. Kishan and I lowered father onto the newspaper sheets. We waited there …the Muslim men kept adding newspapers to the ground, and the line of diseased eyes, raw wounds, and delirious mouths kept growing’ (TWT:48-49). The novelist has highlighted the subaltern issues as the voice of underclass by exploring the idea about the role of the underclass is important to identify like a Balram as a communist manifesto who pleads strongly for the classless society.