Rukmani Imperialism

459 Words2 Pages
For hundreds of years, white European men have claimed the top level of the social hierarchy, demeaning anyone else not like them. White superiority is apparent in the novel Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya, as well as during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when Great Britain imperialized India. Rukmani, the poor Indian farmer woman, who Nectar in a Sieve revolves around, has very limited contact with the British men who are imperializing her village, but she often converses with Kenny, a British doctor who has helped out Rukmani multiple times. Rukmani and Kenny’s relationship reflects a very strained social dynamic between the British and the Indians, due to the British people’s lack of respect for the Indians. After a long period of absence from India,…show more content…
‘What concern is that of yours?’” (106). Rukmani is asking Kenny a respectful, genuine question, to which she expects a respectful, genuine answer. Instead, Kenny essentially tells Rukmani to mind her own business and does so quite “roughly”. Rukmani has just told Kenny Literally every major detail of her life since their last meeting, and in response, Kenny refrains from telling her the smallest detail of his life. This reflects the British and Indian social dynamic because Rukmani is speaking to Kenny, who represents the British imperialists, with the utmost respect, while he is treating Rukmani, who is representative of the Indian people as a whole, like garbage. Kenny thinks nothing of tossing her feelings aside and telling her to leave him alone, showing his total lack of respect for her and the rest of the Indian people. This concept of a lack of respect, as well as white superiority is also apparent when the British actually imperialized India in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The British, as well as other European countries believed in a concept called Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is a theory that only the fittest humans survive, just like
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