Nectar in a Sieve Part One, Chapters 12-17: Questions and Answers

Kamala Markandaya

Part One, Chapters 12-17: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why do Arjun and Thambi leave their jobs at the tannery?

2. What is the cause of the failure of the rice crop, and what happens as a result?

3. What is Rukmani’s reaction when she finds out about Nathan’s infidelity to her with Kunthi?

4. Why is Raja murdered?

5. What does Ira do to try to save Kuti from starving to death?

Answers
1. Arjun and Thambi feel that their tannery wages are unfair, and they attempt to lead a workers’ strike against the tannery. When the strike fails, Arjun and Thambi are left without work. They have no means to rent more land to farm, and their parents’ farm will not support all of them, so the two sons travel to Ceylon to work as laborers.

2. An extended drought kills the crop. Since Rukmani and Nathan completely depended on the crop for their livelihood, they are left with nothing to eat and with no means by which to purchase any goods.

3. Rukmani briefly feels anger and betrayal when she finds out that Nathan is the father of Kunthi’s sons, but she is quick to forgive him and instead blames Kunthi for tempting her husband, calling her “evil and powerful.”

4. Raja, out of desperation for food, attempted to steal a skin from the tannery in order to sell it. The guards who caught him beat him to death.

5. Ira secretly prostitutes herself in the town during the night to earn money.