Vol. 4, Issue 6 (2018)
Symbols in the novels of Kamala Markandaya
Author(s): V Sathish, Dr. J Ranjith Kumar
Abstract: This paper aims to deal with symbols in the novels of Kamala Markandaya. She published Nectar in a Sieve, her first novel, in 1954, to wide critical acclaim. In the United States, it was chosen as a Book of the Month Club Main Selection, and in 1955, the American Library Association named it a Notable Book. Remarkably, Markandaya was the only woman in a group of mid-century Indians writing in English, a group that included Mulk Raj Anand, R. K. Narayan, Raja Rao, and Khushwant Singh. Despite her success, Markandaya remained an intensely private writer who revealed little about her personal influences. She was so private, in fact, that she used a pen name—she was born Kamala Purnaiya. However, we can gain insight into her work by evaluating the religious, political, and social contexts in which she lived and wrote. Raised in India as a Hindu-Brahmin, Markandaya addresses a fundamental question of Hindu belief in her work. Human beings have free will and can choose their own actions to produce joy or misery for themselves and others. Suffering is a form of purification. The soul’s highest goal is liberation, and truth transcends all other moral values. Such Hindu beliefs are central to Nectar in a Sieve.