E.M Forster has made a genuine attempt to reconcile the racial differentiation in A Passage to India. By doing so the author presents his serious concern for unity and collectiveness. Human society can be happier only by understanding between religions and nations. Forster believes truly in unity in diversity and he has tried to present this in the novel. This is one of the reasons that A Passage to India is thought to be a very important novel which projects vital issues like patriotism, nationalism and internationalism. It seems that Inter racial and lucid understanding of universal brotherhood is the motto behind writing this novel. It leads to the understanding of the world. The influence of the First World War can be found in the novel. The novel presents a “secret understanding of the heart”1. One of the most important messages of connecting heart can be felt through the words like “only connect”2.The prospects of love and harmony is thrashed through wars, cruelty and communal violence. We keep on talking about secularism but we will be surprised to know how far we are from each other. A man is not connected to another because of so many social and political reasons. Nations are independent but our independence is captivated and lost. We are politically independent but socially captivated. Cyril Fielding is one the most important characters in the novel. He believes that- “A globe of men who are trying to reach one another and can best do so by the help of good will, plus culture and intelligence”3. This is most liberal view of Fielding. He is a man who believes in liberal humanism. He represents the educated class of the people. He has a clean heart and a clear understanding. He remains always in the company of native friends and keeps on blaming the native English people for the miseries of Indians. He blames the ‘English side’ for the crisis of Dr. Aziz. He is not scared to declare that Dr.Aziz is guiltless. He is attracted by the readers because he is devoted towards justice. He believes in the idea of an egalitarian society. He has a clear conscience which adds perfection in his personality. He has a true understanding of religion that no religion teaches us to develop gap and enmity between one individual and the other. This is one of the reasons that he is successful in establishing healthy relationship with his friends who are Indian. The first section of the novel which is called ‘Mosque’ brings up the chances of communication. This section of the novel symbolically stands for affection and friendship. Characters like Mrs.Moore, Fielding, Adela are aware that love acts like a pillar in establishing good relationships between a man and his society. Mutual respect and love can bridge little misunderstandings of life. These qualities are necessary to develop universal brotherhood. Mrs Moore is a character who watches life emotionally and she has a compassionate heart. E.M.Forster has repeatedly asserted the claims of unity and brotherhood through her. She is successful in generating new social ethos in Chandrapore because she is sympathetic towards the natives. When Dr. Aziz tells her that shoes should be wear off before entering the mosque then Adela Quested remarks- “That makes no difference. God is here”4. This is actually a belief in monotheism which is praiseworthy. This kind of belief is also god gifted and thus it pleases even the almighty. Mrs Moore believes that God is omnipresent even in the mosque. It is not a common behavior of an English woman but it is actually a trust that all religions are equal because all human beings have been equally created. It is actually a democratic thought and it is one of the reasons that she asks Rony Heaslop, her son to ‘behave pleasantly’ in India. She says that- “God has put us on the earth to love our neighbors and to show it, and he is omnipresent, even in India”5. It is faith in God as well as India which keeps her goodness alive. She again remarks that-“the desire to behave pleasantly satisfies God….Good will, and more good will, and even more good will”6. With this kind of generous attitude and religious tolerance a possible utopia can be established. Mrs Moore has that kind of understanding that she creates positivity even in negative environment. Dr.Aziz is the character who dominates mainly in the section called ‘Mosque’. He is hospitable, passionate and impulsive Indian Muslim. He opens up the chances of a healthy relationship with English women in the beginning of the novel and so he has invited them to the Marabar caves. He is a Muslim but he respects other religions also. Aziz values friendship and Babur a lot because Babur never in his life did betray his friends. Thus, friendship for Aziz is like a universal religion. In temperament he is similar to Mrs Moore and Adela Quested. In the mosque he experiences solace and happiness but suddenly he is moved by an imagination that his own tomb has Persian inscription. It can be felt by the following lines-
“But those who have secretly understood my heart-
They will approach and visit the grave where I lie.”7
Dr. Aziz calls Fielding as his friend and true brother because he also believes in an egalitarian society. He shows the photograph of his dead wife to Fielding and tells him that all men are like his brother. He never studied other characters through a lens of criticism but he always felt respect for them. This is one of the reasons that he weeps like a child when Mrs. Moore dies on her way to England. Adela Quested has a desire to see the real India. Symbolically she stands for equality and fraternity. Rony Heaslop’s inhuman behavior with the natives shocks Adela and makes her decision to break off their engagement. She is very bold in nature outwardly but mild inwardly yet she is firm and confident. Her true concern for unity is revealed when she speaks that-
“ there will have to be something universal in this country or how else are barriers to be broken down?”
She is courageous enough to break the boundaries of creed and nationality. Thus, she is a true savior of humanity. Religious segments of Hinduism can be felt through characters like professor Godbole. He dominates ‘Temple’ which is the third section of the novel. He is also respectful towards other religions. He is not very effective in creating a bond between the English and the Muslims because he is slow and inefficient like Adela Quested and Mrs. Moore. The third section of the novel attempts to reconcile the gap between creeds and nations. Thus, this section of the novel is very important. All the dark clouds of misunderstandings are cleared in this section. Aziz and Fielding are reconciled in this section. Their friendship is like a yolk of the East and the West.
- Forster E.M, A Passage to India (Ludhiana: Kalyani, 1983),p.17.
- Malcom Bradbury,ed., E.M Forster: A Passage to India( Macmillan, 1970),p.15.