How does E.M. Forster portray the English in India in
his novel Passage to India?
Comment on the Raj in India in A Passage to
Ans. The situation of the British Raj in India gave Forster an
excellent opportunity to make certain points about the difficult
relations of man with his fellows, and about the incomprehensible
universe in which we live. The fact that the Britis•.h and the Indians
are of different races, as well as, more important, fact that one
nation has rather arbitrarily assumed control over the ocher’ enabled
Forster easily and realistically to outline his central idea? as about •
human isolation and lack of connection. E.M. Forster‘s A pass: age to
India is regarded as a piece of anti-imperialist propaganda: a polemic
against the British rule in India.
Forster’s condemnation of the British rule in India rests on a
deep humanist belief in the sanctity of personal relationship’. Forster
was pained to see that the close personal relationship that ought to have
existed between the Indians and the British rulers was corrupted by
the imperial rule due to its cruel division of humanity into the rulers
and the ruled, white and colored. We see in the very first chapter Of
the novel that Chandrapore is two towns, the English Civil Station
and the native section, the one having nothing to do with the other:
the Civil Station “shares nothing with the city except the overarching
sky”. This division in the landscape is symptomatic of the wide gulf
that separates the rulers from the ruled. The ruling Anglo-Indian
think of their rule as a burden nobly borne by them in order to.
civilize the native barbarians.
Again the Anglo-Indians are fearful of the primitive Indians and
that is why they always feel the need of sticking together, of keeping
in step with others in order not to fall behind the herd. This herd-
the feeling is visible at the ‘Bridge Party’, arranged in honor of the new
comers, Mrs. Moore, and Adela Quested, and again at the court
during the trial of Dr. Aziz.
Forster in his novel highlights the corruptions and bribery of the
British bureaucrats in India. On coming to India, they imbibed many
of the faults of the Indians. Bribery was an infectious disease in India
and many of the English high officials succumbed to it. And the wives
of the British bureaucrats also take bribes in a true Indian fashion as
exemplified by Mrs. Turton. An Indian serving in an office was,
sometimes, harassed and humiliated by his British boss as we see in
the case of Major Callendar and Dr. Aziz. Dr. Aziz had been asked by
Major Callendar to come to his house but the Major had left for the
club without waiting for him. When Dr. Aziz reached the Major’s
bungalow, he was further humiliated by Mrs. Callendar who drove off
in his tonga without taking his permission.
To sum up, Forster’s attitude to the British Raj in India is that
the English do not care to understand the true nature of India and
and that is why their rule is unsuccessful.
Raj in India Raj in India Raj in India Raj in India