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A Passage to India - Double Vision

by Ramlal Agarwal
(Jalna, Maharashtra, India)

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The principal figure in the celebrations is Prof Godbole. The occasion lifts him to a state in which self and society become immaterial. He forgets himself and is lost in singing and dancing in extreme devotion to Lord Krishna. While returning home, he hears Dr. Aziz calling him, but without stopping, answers that he is at the state Guest House. Dr. Aziz could make out that Prof. Godbole was referring to Fielding, who was at Mau on an inspection tour of the local school and had married Stella, the daughter of Mrs. Moore. Dr. Aziz was at Mau because he had resigned from his post at Chandrapur and joined the service of the Raja of Mau. Fielding calls him to treat his brother-in-law, Ralph, who was suffering from an attack of bees. The two friends meet and the fact disillusions Aziz that Fielding had not married Adela but Stella.

Before leaving Mau, Fielding arranges one last ride with Aziz in the jungles of Mau. Both are happy riding together and open up. Aziz produces a letter he wants to send to Adela in which he thanks her for her fine behavior two years back and says that he would teach his children to speak of her with the greatest respect. He takes out the letter and adds "For my own part I shall henceforth connect you with the name that is very sacred in my mind - Mrs. Moore." Aziz also confesses that he had been disgracefully hasty thinking that he meant to get hold of his money: as bad a mistake as the caves.

They are friends again, but socially they have no meeting place. When the conversation veers around social issues, they differ from each other, and the atmosphere gets vitiated and rancorous. Fielding wants to get details of Krishna's birth. Aziz says, "it is useless discussing Hindus with me and counters why was he so curious about Krishna. Fielding says that his wife Stella and her brother Ronny liked Hinduism. The conversation then shifted to politics. Lately, Fielding had thrown his lot with Anglo-India by marrying a countrywoman and was gaining some of its limitations. Like Mrs. Moore, he suffers from double vision and unexpectedly says "The British Empire could not be abolished because it was rude. Aziz retorts" very well, and we have no use for you.” “Fielding says,” away from us, Indians go to seed at once and cited examples of Godbole's King Emperor school and how away from us Indians forget their medicine and resort to charms, and how their poets merely talk of freedom to their women without meaning to do so.” This rattles Aziz and he loses his cool and blurts out" Clear out you fellows, double quick— I say. We shall drive every blasted Englishman into the sea, and then you and I shall be friends. Fielding asked, “why can't we be friends now? It is what I want. It is what you want. But the horses did not want it, and other symbols of Indian civilization did not want it. All of them said in a hundred voices "No, not yet and the sky said," No, not there.”

Notwithstanding the pessimistic ending of A Passage to India, the novel is a celebration of personnel relations. Mrs. Moore and Adela carve a niche in the heart of Dr. Aziz and Fielding does not give in to all sorts of sneering and distrust and keeps riding with Aziz.


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