A Passage to India by E.M.Forster

apti-emfA Passage to India (1924) is a novel by English author E. M. Forster set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time magazine included the novel in its “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005”. The novel is based on Forster’s experiences in India. E.M.Forster borrowed the book’s title from Walt Whitman’s poem Leaves of Grass.

The story revolves around Dr. Aziz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, A young British schoolmistress, Adela Quested, and her elderly friend, Mrs. Moore,who visit the fictional city of Chandrapore, British India. Adela is to marry Mrs. Moore’s son, Ronny Heaslop, the city magistrate.Meanwhile, Dr. Aziz, a young Indian Muslim physician sees a strange Englishwoman at his favourite mosque, who turns out to be Mrs Moore, and the two chat and part as friends. Mrs Moore relates her experience at the mosque to Ronny Heaslop, her son. Adela, is intrigued, and attends a party held by Mr. Turton, the city tax collector, where she meets Cyril Fielding, headmaster of Chandrapore’s government-run college for Indians. Later on Fielding invites Adela and Mrs. Moore to a tea party with him and a Hindu-Brahmin professor named Narayan Godbole. On Adela’s request, he also extends his invitation to Dr. Aziz. At Fielding’s tea party, Fielding and Aziz become great friends and Aziz promises to take Mrs. Moore and Adela to see the Marabar Caves, a distant cave complex.

Aziz and the women begin to explore the caves. In the first cave, however, Mrs. Moore is overcome with claustrophobia. Later Aziz sees Adela speaking to another young Englishwoman, Miss Derek, who has arrived with Fielding. Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Aziz return to Chandrapore on the train. When the train arrives At the train station, Dr. Aziz is arrested and charged with sexually assaulting Adela in a cave. She reports the alleged incident to the British authorities.The run-up to Aziz’s trial for attempted sexual assault releases the racial tensions between the British and the Indians. The only actual evidence the British have is the field glasses in the possession of Dr. Aziz. Despite this, the British colonists firmly believe that Aziz is guilty however Fielding proclaims his belief in Aziz’s innocence and the Indians, who consider the assault allegation a fraud aimed at ruining their community’s reputation, welcome him. Mrs. Moore is unexpectedly apathetic and irritable. Her experience in the cave seems to have ruined her faith in humanity. Although she curtly professes her belief in Aziz’s innocence, she does nothing to help him. Ronny, alarmed by his mother’s assertion that Aziz is innocent, decides to arrange for her return by ship to England before she can testify to this effect at the trial. Mrs. Moore dies during the voyage. Her absence from India becomes a major issue at the trial, where Aziz’s legal defenders assert that her testimony alone, had it been available, would have proven the accused’s innocence. After a while Adela herself becomes confused and starts to question Aziz’s guilt.

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