Rukmani’s Relationship With the Land in Nectar in a Sieve
Rukmani exhibits her true character of compassion, perseverance, and adaptability to changing circumstances each time problems faced her. One characteristic of Rukmani that she demonstrated for the duration on Nectar in a Sieve is that she is a compassionate person.
In each case, Rukmani gets stronger because of her devotion to truth, and at the same time she exhibits the Hindu belief that truth transcends all other moral values. Fertility is so precious to Rukmani that she takes risks to pursue it. When she is pregnant with Ira, she encounters a cobra in her pumpkin vine, and though it might have killed her and does induce early labor, she does not stop raising vegetables for fear of snakes. Her vegetables are a source of both food and beauty to Rukmani, and she compares their rounded shapes to fertile young women. She conquers her fear of a foreign doctor to seek treatment for barrenness, risking Nathan’s disapproval. Because of Kunthi’s blackmail, the risk extends to losing Nathan’s love and support, without which she feels she cannot live. Ira’s miseries also stem from infertility, and she loses her husband to another woman because she cannot give him sons. The fertility of the land is paramount, for when the land does not produce, the family starves. Images of grains of rice, sprouting paddy, and the harvest represent life itself.