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Female Protagonist in the Novels of Kamala Markandaya Nector in Sieve, A Silence of Desire, Two Virgins

Monika Gupta


  1. Research Scholar, Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur, U.P.INDIA


This paper focuses on the portrayal of female protagonist in the above mentioned novels of Kamala Markandaya. Most of the Indian writers in English literature mainly focused on a man’s world, where the presence of women characters was only accidental. Kamala Markandaya has portrayed female protagonist in her novels. In many of her novels, she has presented the life style   of women, poverty, exploitation and degradation. ‘Nectar in a Sieve’ is Markandaya’s first novel. Rukmani is the protagonist of this novel. Through the character of Rukmani, Markandaya reveals the life trials and travels of women.   Hunger, poverty, and degradation are the main theme of this novel. Nectar in a Sieve presents a realistic picture of the society of India. In her novel ‘A Silence of Desire’, Markandaya has presented the clash between tradition and modernity within the family of Dandekar, who is the protagonist of the novel. Sarojini is wife of Dandekar. The entire action of the novel revolves around the character Sarojini. Sarojini is a good wife and a good mother. She is devoted to her husband and her children. Her novel ‘Two Virgins’ is the story of two sisters, Lalitha and Saroja. Lalitha is a beautiful girl. She was attracted to city life. She does not like to live in the village while her younger sister, Saroja is a simple village girl. She is thoroughly traditional. She is a role model for young girls. Through the characters of Lalitha and Saroja, Markandaya has portrayed East-West culture in this novel.   

              Kamala Markandaya has presented a realistic picture of society in her novels. She has portrayed afflicted women as well as awakened women in her novels. Her women are not inferior to her male counterparts in any way. Her female protagonists like; Rukmani, Saroja, Lalitha, Ira, and Sarojini are seeking self-fulfillment and recognition through self-expression without losing their personalities.  

Kamla Markandaya, Protagonist, Virgins