In "The Postmaster" by Tagore, what is the relationship between the postmaster and Ratan?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between the postmaster and Ratan is an emotionally imbalanced one.

The postmaster’s needs are met in his relationship with Ratan.  He finds a companion even though he is isolated from others. He finds someone who helps him pass the time in Ulapur.  When he is with Ratan, the postmaster is able to relive the joys of his family and his past life in Calcutta. At the same time, the postmaster benefits from Ratan’s loyalty towards him.  She waits on him with extreme devotion, taking care of him when he falls ill and never leaving the front of his home.  It is clear that the postmaster's needs are sufficiently met in this relationship.  Ratan selflessly gave the postmaster whatever she could.

When the postmaster tells Ratan he is leaving, it is the only time she insists on reciprocity.  She asks to be a part of his life in Calcutta. The dismissiveness in his response reflects how her needs were a distant second to his in their relationship. He received what he needed at the time, and now he no longer requires her because he is going “home.”   Tagore illustrates a relationship where two desperate people who met in one particular moment needed one another at that instant. In this relationship, one person’s needs were met, while the other's remained unfulfilled despite giving so much. Contrasting the postmaster’s content ending with Ratan’s pathetic state of “wandering about the post office in a flood of tears” shows the relationship’s emotional imbalance.