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Seminar Paper
On
INDIAN SOCIAL STRUCTURE AS PERCEIVED BY KAMALA MARKANDAYA’S NECTAR IN A SIEVE In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of
Bachelor of Arts (HONS.) in English

Submitted By: Submitted to: K.ARPITHA DR. SMITA MISHRA A0706111023 (LECTURER)

AMITY INSTITUTE OF ENGLISH STUDIES AND RESEARCH AMITY UNIVERSITY UTTAR PRADESH

INDIAN SOCIAL STRUCTURE AS PERCEIVED BY KAMALA MARKANDAYA’S NECTAR IN A SIEVE Kamala Markandaya is one of the most outstanding and eminent Indo-Anglian novelists. Kamala Purnaiya was born in 1924 in Chimakurti, a small southern village in India, Kamala Markandaya learned traditional Hindu culture and values. She was raised Brahman. Between the years of 1940-1947, Markandaya was a student at the University of Madras, where she studied history. While studying at the University, she worked as a journalist, writing short fiction stories. In 1948 Markandaya decided to further pursue her dream of becoming a writer by moving to London, where she met her husband Bertrand Taylor, a native Englishman. In her lifetime, Kamala Markandaya published ten novels, all dealing with post-colonial themes in modern India. She is most famous for her novel Nectar in a Sieve, which was her third novel written, but the first novel published. Some of her other novels include: A Silence of Desire, Some Inner Fury, A Handful of Rice, Possession, The Coffer Dams, The Nowhere Man, Two Virgins, Pleasure City, and The Golden Honeycomb. Markandaya’s best-known work, Nectar in a Sieve, is a heart wrenching tale that depicts the hardships and joys of a woman’s life in rural India. The title comes from the poem “work without hope” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The novel presents a true picture of rural and urban India. The story follows the life of a girl, Rukumani, throughout her whole life and all that she witnesses growing up in a changing India. Rukumani marries at thirteen to a man she has never met before and moves far from her family to the country. There she has many children whom she and her husband struggle to feed when drought strikes and numerous crop cycles are destroyed. Rukumani witnesses the impact that post-colonial influences have on India when a tannery is built in their village and changes their life drastically. Rukumani watches her children struggle to survive on what little food they have and her infant baby eventually dies of starvation. Her daughter, rejected by her husband for being unable to bear a child, resorts to prostitution to help supplement the family. Finally, Rukumani and her husband leave their village for the city, only to find more depravity and hardship. The problems of rural India and the tragic predicament of Indian peasants have been depicted with moving realism. It focuses effectively on the theme of hunger. Social problems such as poverty , beggary, lack of family planning, crime , unemployment, prostitution, the zamindari system, caste , industrialization, class and class conflict, superstitious ,dowry system, low status of women, evils of the marriage all these things are portrayed in Kamala Markandaya novel. Indian social structure in Nectar in a sieve

Social structure includes caste system, marriage, family, women, men, patriarchal setup, birth, death etc. Kamala Markandaya has subtitled the novel as A Novel of Rural India to disclose the very characteristics of rural India through the life of countless Indian villagers living in dire poverty, hunger and exploitation. Through the life and experiences of Rukumani, Kamala Markandaya brings out the fact that the life in the rural India is difficult and exploitative in nature. There are several traditional values that are handed down to an Indian...
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