Colonialism and Imperialism in Nectar in a Sieve

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Imperialism in Nectar in a Sieve

The characters in the book Nectar in a Sieve had to deal with Western imperialism and they had to adapt to the changing ideas associated with Western imperialism. Throughout the book Rukmani had to struggle with her beliefs and how to cope with these changes. From the beginning Rukmani coped with these changes, from culture to her way of life, until the end of the book where even then her life was not through being changed.

In the first instance Rukmani had to deal with a husband that was several castes below her. Usually if the woman was below the man she could probably do the work that he does, being used to the labor that is. Yet in Rukmani’s instance the man was below her, which meant that she was not used to hard labor. “A man is indeed fortunate if he does not marry above him, for if he does he gets a wife who is no help . . . what patience indeed my husband must have had” (14). Rukmani was fortunate to marry a kind husband, and though she had no farming experience, she became quit good at it, and made profit from her vegetable goods.

At first, traditional urban life continued as it always had, but then Western imperialistic ideas began to come into their midst. It started when a tannery was established in their small village town, then white men begin building, and prostitution became a menace to their lifestyles. The tannery had been a source for income during difficult times when famine struck their livelihood. After awhile Western imperialistic ideas began to manifest themselves in her sons lives, as when they became aware of the idea of union type strikes. This occurred when the white owners were cheating them of their proper earnings. “Then one day they di...

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...s. People who live in rural communities often get lost and taken advantage of in big cities, but sometimes they do manage to survive. In the case of technology and medicine the natives of the land are always suspicious and unsure if these new ideas are safe.

Rukmani’s move to the city was a bad idea, because she had no idea if her son could even afford to take care of them. They should have stayed in the small town, especially since her husband was sickly and this move would, and did, kill him at the end of the book. Eventually Rukmani had to move back to her small town because of his death.

Western imperialism had a negative impact on non-Western cultures at first. Nevertheless, later when the rural communities accepted Western ideas they began to adapt to them. Overall most non-western communities prospered, and grew into industrialized lands.

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