Discuss how different characters represent different attitudes to India in A Passage to India.
Ans. Ronny Heaslop, the city Magistrate at Chandrapore, Cyril
Fielding, the principal of the government college, and Mrs. Moore,
Ronny’s mother belongs to England. They have come to India with
different missions and they represent three different attitudes to
Ronny Heaslop represents what Forster describes as the “public
school” type. Being a civil servant under British rule, and not
being much of an intellectual, Ronny adapts the opinions, mores, and
judgments of his peers. Most of his actions are determined by a
desire to conform to the desires of the English Colony. Ronny is
comparatively a newcomer to India when we first see him, and he is
content to ape his superior’s attitudes toward the natives. Too unsure
of himself to risk consequences beyond his control, Ronny has
restricted his intercourse with the natives to that which is necessary
for the performance of his job. He takes his work seriously and feels
that it is not necessary for him to behave pleasantly towards the
natives, only to rule them. He is self-satisfied, complacent, with no
trace of humanitarianism. Ronny is a brilliant example of evil
designed English bureaucrat. His attitude to the Indians is quite clear
when he says, “we’re out here to do justice and keep the peace We
are not pleasant in India, and we don’t intend to be pleasant. We’ve
something more important to do”.
Mr. Cyril Fielding is already a mature personality by the time he
reaches India to take up his job as the principal of the govt. College at
the city of Chandrapore. He does not feel the need to stick closely to
his countrymen. His main concern is education to which he devotes
most Of his energy. He is well-liked by his pupils, and he cares little
that those at the club do not approve of his ways. A good-tempered
intelligent fellow, Fielding is happiest in the give-and-take of
conversation. He feels that the world is inhabited by men trying to
reach one another and that with the help of goodwill, intelligence
and culture, they will be successful. He has no racial prejudices, am
he finds it convenient and pleasant to associate with the Indians.
Fielding’s ability to act upon reason rather than emotion further
alienates him from the English ‘herd’ following Aziz’s arrest. Liking
and trusting Aziz, Fielding is loyal to him, and he is confident that the
accusation against Aziz has been a mistake. During the trial, he takes
sides with the Indians against the British.
Mrs. Moore is a simple, kindly old woman. She stands apart trot’!
the British officialdom at the beginning of the book, refusing their notions as the last word on India and comes closer to
understanding India than anyone else. She is basically a religious
person and sees God in the mosque and patiently explains to her son
that God is everywhere, even in India watching to see how. they ave
in loving their neighbors. She grows away from
Christianity and closer to Hinduism and through her possibly accept it. Mrs. Moore knows whether or not she likes
people, and for this Aziz calls her an Oriental. Her sympathy and
understanding win his heart and she is forevermore his dearest
friend. She considers Aziz charming and good, and she deeply desires
his happiness. She also declares that Aziz is innocent of Adela’s
accusation, but she refuses to testify for him. However, the
invocation of her name “Esmiss Esmoore” at the trial helps to bring
Adela to see the truth of Aziz’s innocence. Again Fielding’s use Of her
name helps Aziz decide not to press for damages from Adela.
Thus the three different characters, Ronny Heaslop, Fielding, and
Mrs. Moore is Forster’s immortal creations, representing three
different attitudes to India.
A Passage to India A Passage to India A Passage to India A Passage to India A Passage to India A Passage to India A Passage to India A Passage to India