Role of Religion in Markandaya’s Nectar in a Sieve and Farah’s Sweet and Sour Milk


The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the role religion plays in the lives of the characters in the Indian Kamala Markandaya’s Nectar in a Sieve and the Somali Nuruddin Farah’s Sweet and Sour Milk. The paper will trace the influence of Hinduism and Islam in the lives of people in post-colonial India and Somalia as depicted in both novels. Markandaya’s Rukmani has no choice to face her endless ordeals except to resort to her vows, and prayers, hoping they would bring her a change of fortune. However, all her attempts prove to be futile. Her offerings to her goddess do give her a temporary feeling of comfort and hope, but they do not make her plants grow, nor do they make the white owners of the tannery or the landlord less cruel. Not unlike Rukmani, Farah’s Qumman and Beydan are victims of their husband, Keynaan, and his political regime, who misinterpret Islam to suit their personal and political goals. While Qumman has no choice but to resort to her faith after her son is murdered by the regime, Beydaan is forced to marry Keynaan, who has caused her husband’s death during a brutal interrogation. In short, the paper will show how religious beliefs are abused by the powerful to dominate and dispossess the powerless, who resort to faith as a refuge to help them bear the oppression, repression, and persecution.

Author Information
Lutfi Yousef Hamadi

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2014
Stream: Literature - Comparative Literature

This paper is part of the LibEuro2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon