The Difficulty of English- Indian Friendship in "A Passage to India"

1582 Words Mar 12th, 2007 7 Pages
In his "A Passage to India", Forster explores the possibility of English-Indian Friendship. He begins and ends by posing the question of whether it is possible for an Englishman and an Indian to ever be friends, at least within the context of British colonialism.

Thus, as soon as the novel opens, the reader is introduced to an argument, between Mahmoud Ali, Hamidullah, and, Aziz raising this English-Indian-friendship question. The argument is quite significant because it sets the tone of the novel and introduces the different Indian attitudes towards the issue. For instance, Mahmoud Ali, who has known the English only in India, claims that such friendship is impossible. Educated at Cambridge, Hamidullah says that it is possible to have
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A pause in the wrong place, an intonation misunderstood, and a whole conversation went awry." On the one hand, Aziz imagination betrays him, and his suspicion hardens into grudge: "Suspicion in the Oriental is a sort of a malignant tumour, a mental malady, that makes him self-conscious and unfriendly suddenly Aziz was seized by it, and his fancy built a satanic castle, of which the foundation had been laid when Fielding and he talked at Dilkusha under the stars." On the other hand, Fielding suffers from an English literalism and rationalism that blind him to Azizs true feelings and make him too stilted to reach out to Aziz. He, for instance, criticizes Aziz, referring to his vindictiveness towards Adela, for never having his emotions in proportion to their objects, where Aziz replies saying: "Is emotion a sack of potatoes, so much the pound, to be measured out? Am I a machine? I shall be told I can use up my emotions by using them, next." Furthermore, their Indian and English communities pull them apart through their mutual stereotyping.

Thus, Forster uses Fielding to examine a fluid conception of race, in which belonging to a particular culture does not necessitate supporting its race. Forster employs Fielding to embody his liberal-humanistic views: "The world, he believed, is a globe of men who are trying to reach one another and can best do so by the help of goodwill plus culture and intelligence." At the beginning of the

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