A Passage to India



✻ [BOOKS] ✯ A Passage to India By E.M. Forster ❅ – E17streets4all.co.uk When Adela uested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore they uickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced 'Anglo Indian' community Determined to escape the When Adela uested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in A Passage Epub / the Indian town of Chandrapore they uickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced 'Anglo Indian' community Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the 'real India' they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz a cultivated Indian Muslim But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz and the well respected doctor soon finds himself at the centre of a scandal that rouses violent passions among both the British and their Indian subjects A masterful portrait of a society in the grip of imperialism A Passage to India compellingly depicts the fate of individuals caught between the great political and cultural conflicts of the modern world In his introduction Pankaj Mishra outlines Forster's complex engagement with Indian society and culture This edition reproduces the Abinger text and notes and also includes four of Forster's essays on India a chronology and further reading.A Passage to India

Edward Morgan Forster generally published as EM Forster was an novelist A Passage Epub / essayist and short story writer He is known best for his ironic and well plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early th century British society His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his novel Howards End Only connectHe had five.

A Passage to India eBook â A Passage  Epub /
  • Paperback
  • 376 pages
  • A Passage to India
  • E.M. Forster
  • English
  • 15 November 2016
  • 9780141441160

10 thoughts on “A Passage to India

  1. says:

    “Adventures do occur but not punctually Life rarely gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate” Illustrations from the Folio Edition by Ian RibbonsAdela uested and Mrs Moore have journeyed to India with the intention of arranging a marriage between Adela and Mrs Moore’s son Ronny Heaslop He is the British magistrate of the city of Chandrapore He is imperial much so than when Adela knew him in England ”India had developed sides of his character that she had never admired His self complacency his censoriousness his lack of subtlety all grew vivid beneath a tropic sky; he seemed indifferent than of old to what was passing in the minds of his fellows certain that he was right about them or that if he was wrong it didn’t matter” My impression is that Heaslop may have been elevated rather uickly and had no time to develop his own ideas of the way things were in India but simply borrowed the established views of the senior British officials in India In this new role he was reuired to play he is a very different person than the young lad that Adela knew in England She had decided to break off the engagement and then fate intercedes with a near death experience that allows her to see Heaslop in a different light The engagement is back on “Sometimes I think too much fuss is made about marriage Century after century of carnal embracement and we're still no nearer to understanding one another” It is always interesting to listen to people talk about marriage Sometimes people can be too cerebral and talk themselves out of a perfectly acceptable relationship Others give the commitment of marriage the same amount of thought as they do to deciding what they want for lunch Arranged marriages used to work perfectly well simply because they were an alliance usually involving money and future offspring We decided at some point that romance was the elixir that we must desire the most in a relationship Divorce rates have skyrocketed and most people are not any happier than when marriages were arranged for them by their relatives but free will has given people the idea that happiness can be achieved if they can just find that right person It is always better to own your unhappiness or happiness instead of having it decided for you Adela is not very pretty but she does have some money Heaslop seems rather indifferent about the whole arrangement Yes he wants the marriage but for fulfilling a necessary obligation The sooner it is settled the sooner he can move on to other things of importance Adela is trying to decide whether to accept this situation or wait to see if their is a better one on the horizon Dr Aziz meets Mrs Moore by chance in a mosue and though their meeting is rocky in the beginning a friendship uickly blossoms Adela wants to see the real India by well interacting with real Indians A meeting is arranged with Dr Aziz and in the course of their conversations with one another Aziz extends an invitation to take them on a journey to see the Marabar Caves This is one of those invitations that are extended as a courtesy during a party that are never expected to be fulfilled To his horror he discovers a few days later through an intermediary that the women fully expect him to take them to the caves At great expense to himself he arranges this outing Aziz has always been a friend of the British in fact one of his best friends is a British teacher named Cyril Fielding He had arranged for Fielding and another friend to go with them on this journey to provide the much needed cultural bridge between him and the ladies His friends miss the train Disaster looms Aziz is accused of physically assaulting Adela in one of the caves Ridiculous Fielding says Of course he attacked her the British community insists All these brutes desire our women As events unfold it becomes and unclear as to what really happened but even as doubt is raised the Colonialists continue to believe that Aziz is guilty He must be guiltyThis is considered E M Forster’s masterpiece and lands on most top 100 books of all time lists I personally did not enjoy this book as much as I have some of his other books but because of the subject matter of this book and when it was published I fully understand why people look on this novel as his most significant book He was poking a finger in the eye of his own government and their insistence on continuing to try to rule the world with brutality laced with blatant racism I can see the men who returned triumphantly from their postings abroad sitting around their clubs back in London angrily discussing this book I won’t tell you what happened to Adela or what happened to Aziz but tragically there was a realignment of thought for both of them Adela never wanted to see India again Aziz never wanted to see an Englishmanwoman again In fact for the first time he feels at peace with who he is”I am an Indian at last”If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. says:

    Make no mistake This to me will always be Forster's magnum opus even though I am yet to even acuaint myself with the synopses of either Howards End or Maurice Maybe it is the handicap of my Indian sentimentality that I cannot remedy on whim to fine tune my capacity for objective assessment But strip away a colonial India from this layered narrative Peel away the British Raj too and the concomitant censure that its historical injustices invite And you will find this to be Forster's unambiguous lucid vision of humanity languishing in a zone of resentful sociocultural synthesis his unhesitant condemnation not merely of racism casteism religion ism and what other noxious vindictive 'ism's we have had throughout the history of our collective existence but of the fatalistic human tendency of rejecting a simple truth in favour of self justifying contrivancesYes there's the much hyped 'crime' analyzed in the broader context of presupposed guilt and innocence There's the issue of race class and privilege factoring into the ensuing judicial process The ripples of the eventual fallout of this mishap disrupt the frail status uo that all parties on either side of the race divide were tacitly maintaining so far and pose crucial existential uestions before people of all communities Then there are hypocritical Englishmen who cannot choose between preserving the sanctity of the Empire's administrative machinery and upholding their own prejudices And hypocritical Indians who righteously accuse the Englishmen of institutionalized hatred while stringently maintaining their own brand of intolerance But greater than the sum of all these thematic veins is the connecting thread of Forster's sure footed measured prose which explores not only the inner lives of the central characters but tries to penetrate the heart of a nation state in the makingThe India depicted here is a foreign country to me a time and a place yet to be demarcated irreversibly along lines of communal identities that are presently dominating our political rhetoric It is of little appeal to the newly arrived umpteenth Englishman but nonetheless presents itself as an amalgamation of unrealized possibilities Not once did my brows knit together in frustration on the discovery of any passage or line even casting a whiff of Forster's bias against the people or the land My senses were stretched taut all the time in an effort to detect any Sure Dr Aziz is a little infantilized and his importance is sometimes reduced to that of a plot device used for manufacturing the central conflict while Adela uested Mrs Moore and Mr Fielding appear before a reader as upright individuals who stand for the truth The other Indian characters seem to be defined by their general pettiness But these imperfect characterizations can be than forgiven in the light of what Forster does accomplish The song of the future must transcend creed There are times when the narrator's voice dissects the drama unfolding against unfamiliar Indian landscapes with a kind of fond exasperation and times when it dissolves into a withering regret for the way the engines of civilization continue to trundle along towards some catastrophic destiny without ever pausing for the purpose of self assessment And it is the profound clarity of Forster's worldviews and his sensitivity and forthrightness in deconstructing the enigma of the 'Orient' that elevates his writing even further Perhaps life is a mystery not a muddle; they could not tell Perhaps the hundred Indias which fuss and suabble so tiresomely are one and the universe they mirror is one It's not the 'handicap of my Indian sentimentality' after all Forster sought to extract the kernel of truth buried underneath layers of artifice and his craft could successfully flesh out the blank spaces between that which can be expressed with ease Those are always worthy enough literary achievements in my eyes

  3. says:

    In a rather ironic piece of narration EM Forster sums up my opinion of this book perfectly “Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate in the hope of justifying their own existence” Indeed this book was so terribly dull Ordinary bland and mundane are all words that spring to mind Nothing happened other than a single piece of melodrama that somehow managed to dominate the book I understand why this book is so widely read and studied From a critical postcolonial perspective there are lots of juicy bits in here to dissect There’s a lot to talk about and I could easily write an essay on it because it raises so many important debates about race and national identity in the wake of colonialism Seeing the true face of India becomes a difficult task because it has become so obscured with foreign influence and prejudicesIndeed the book is fiercely anti imperialist and presents a compelling case for the benefits of an independent India It also highlights the injustices the Indian native faced Colonial rule is never good and the coloniser always thinks his ways are better to the detriment of local culture education and employment He takes over and ruins everything despite how much he naively believes that he is improving the life of those he is oppressing Despite all this the plot has no energy There were perhaps a few chapters no that forty pages or so where the narrative managed to gain some momentum The protagonist was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t do and the bits leading up to his trial were uite engaging When the verdict was eventually reached the rest of the novel dribbled on There was no story left Yet it continued for another hundred pages This meant that for a relatively short book this felt like a really really long book This is a book I SHOULD have liked I was really surprised at my reaction to this This is a book that appeals directly to my interests; yet it just seemed so painfully convoluted and dull I did however really appreciate EM Forster’s prose He is a very skilful writer and a wordsmith his sentences and paragraphs roll into each other perfectly This seems like a generic point though I only make it because the surface level of his writing is so elouent in places It’s just a shame the plot did not carry the same level of mastery It just needed to be tighter and focused to be effective Like Heart of Darkness it occupies an uncertain place in the cannon of English literature; it’s not uite radical enough and prejudice free to be fully anti colonial yet is still demonstrates the need for change It’s a book I could study but never one I could enjoy Although I didn’t like this I will still be trying another one of EM Forster's novels in the future

  4. says:

    A Passage to India seems a bolder statement on Colonialism and racism than ever The Indians are thoughtful and droll speaking about the trouble making friends with Englishmen who become less personable the longer they are in India The British seem to a man all about keeping the Indian down of holding the colony by force The writing is beautiful I just finished EL Doctorow's The March which errs on the purplish side at times There's no such overwriting here Even when one reads slowly the prose constantly surprises And this is my second or third reading too Few books I have found can sustain such interest over the years Lolita Madame Bovary Germinal they are rare This time through I find myself astonished by Forster's skill at under describing his characters This techniue adds to the fleeting lighter than air aspect of the writing He'd much rather talk about a gesture say or the layout of a house But the characters are left very flat if not without description altogether We must go by their voices Under description of this sort was highly recommended by El Leonard too in his day He was another master of it Part Two opens with the story of the developing geology the India Venturing into the Marabar Caves whose substance is hundreds of millions of years old is to enter the primordial It is to be shown something ancient far outside the mental and emotional scope of homo sapiens who are no older than 100000 years and probably closer to 50000 Forster's fascination here is with the numinous Adela and Mrs Moore have since their arrival talked of nothing than seeing the real India In her uest for this passage to India Adela enters the caves with little knowledge of their history and there finds herself face to face with the numinous But in its most primitive essence which of course includes the erotic and just like that her heretofore admirable open mindedness is overwhelmed by the true otherness of India Overwhelmed by fear she makes an egregious category mistake—a reductio ad absurdum—that upends the lives of all the main characters An unwarranted charge of attempted rape is lodged against Dr AzizAziz's arrest reminded of the US's current epidemic of frightened white cops shooting unarmed black men These events are euitable only to the extent that both are examples of raw racism run amok Aziz however will get a trial and be acuitted Our shooting victims will never get that even posthumously as we have seen The novel is a big nail in the coffin of the Old India Hands My God how Forster must have been hated for writing it How dare he besmirch their generations of service in keeping the Indian down It's a very brave book Forster indicts his nation in 1924 twenty three years before Partition All the insipid reasons for being in India are trotted out and shown to be lies Britain was not in India to pass down a legacy of democratic administration that was an unexpected and lucky outcome It doesn't matter what Niall Ferguson says about the benevolence of the so called Raj in Empire The Rise and Demise of the British World Order This was commercial exploitation at its basest That the British left slightly fewer corpses in their wake than King Leopold of Belgium did in the Congo is not an argument in their favorOne final note on this Folio Society edition It's a beautiful book on acid free paper with sewn signatures wonderful to handle Even turning the pages is a joy But the illustrations by Glynn Boyd Harte are wretched and annoying The book is best unadorned

  5. says:

    Adela uested a plain looking young affable and naive English school teacher travels to distant India in the early 1920's accompanied by the elderly kind Mrs Moore maybe her future mother in law a widow twice and see the real country important to decide if she will marry Mrs Moore's son the magistrate of the unimportant city of Chandrapore disillusioned Ronny Heaslop he dislikes Indians nowConditions are very uneasy in India the natives hate the British rulers and seek independence and in turn the conuerors despise what they perceive as an inferior local race besides the Hindu and Muslim populations are always ready to riot against their enemies foreign and domestic the tense volatile situation needs the strong hand of the British army to keep peace but for how long ? Mrs Moore like her female companion Adela wants to see and feel India experience its atmosphere no matter how alien breathe in the romantic flavors customs and particularly the strange exotic mysterious and nevertheless engaging people of this dangerous but fascinating nation Warned not to go alone the old lady does visits a mosue and hears a voice in the dark telling her to take off her shoes she had by Dr Aziz a young Indian Muslim physician ignorant foreigners in the past had shown disrespect unexpectedly they later become great friends the two so completely different Cyril Fielding the head of the modest local college is the only British man to show any sympathy for the poor native people he hates how they are treated the Indians especially the English women who do not hide their contempt Yet can friendships develop and last between the Indian and the British in the colonial era such as the emotional Dr Aziz and the calm MrFielding ? There is not much to see in the unattractive dirty city no spectacular monuments or building nothing the Ganges River flows leisurely by not causing any impact mostly ignored by the population it isn't sacred here occasionally a dead body is spotted not devoured by the crocodiles as it floats down to the oceanIn the local British Club no Indian members of course they gossip drink play cards and the highlight tennis when the notorious weather permits scorching heat waves that crush the spirit and monsoon rains pouring ceaselessly down causing widespread devastating flooding Still twenty miles away in the Marabar Hills are countless caves to explore nobody knows what makes them exciting though the areas only attraction a tour is organized and led by DrAziz composed also of MrsMoore Miss uested MrFielding and prominent Indians both Hindu and Muslims yet plans are not facts they do not go accordingly a disaster ensues which will effect many people lives are changedA very interesting exploration of India during an uniue period in its history even today is still relevant to her destination as a rising superpower both economically and militarilyYes things change

  6. says:

    In a novel with the line “a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent” it is no surprise that the centre of this cloud of writing is the idea of the difficulty or the possible impossibility of communication and direct connection between peopleInstead understanding has to be intuitive and incommunicable Mrs Moore knows nothing has happened but can’t convince her son how she knows or how Professor Godbole knows about her and the wasp is unclear and if we don’t like telepathy as an answer then we are best off not asking the uestion just as we are best off not asking what if anything happened in the Marabar caves Miss uested experienced something but even EM Forster screwed up the draft versions that attempted to give her point of view as that something occurred A clear statement would run counter to the intuitive direction of this novel Nothing can make sense in the unreality of our group think some alternative means of perception something view spoiler or Moore then again the name could be meant to suggest Moor as though admittedly through marriage she has a non British outlook to start with hide spoiler

  7. says:

    THIS IS AN ANTICOLONIAL NOVEL BUTForster deals blows right and left in this novel and modern readers will grimace when they read the intricately exposed racism of the British in India the lofty British ladies learning just enough Urdu to be able to give instructions to the servants; but alas some of the generalisations about Indians will jar as the narrator throws out stuff like Like most Orientals Aziz overrated hospitality mistaking it for intimacy and not seeing that it is tainted with the sense of possessionOr What they the Indians said and what they felt were except in the case of affection seldom the same They had numerous mental conventions and when these were flouted they found it very difficult to function or Suspicion in the Oriental is a sort of malignant tumour a mental malady that makes him self conscious and unfriendly suddenly; he trusts and mistrusts at the same time in a way the Westerner cannot comprehend That doesn’t sound very nice to me I had thought that Mr Forster was a nice man Well he was a nice man This book was published in 1924 and is brilliantly anti colonialist but even progressive minds could not help generalising about The OrientalTHE MYSTIC EASTPart of the opposition displayed between western colonialists and Indian subjects is expressed as the English demanding facts and figures and making religion a department of the Colonial Office “God who saves the King will surely support the police” versus continual suffocating Indian religious fervency both Islamic and Hindu This cliché had caterpillar legs it was very strong 40 years later when the Beatles set up a tax avoidance scheme called Apple and then immediately left for Rishikesh to meditate on ineffability with the Maharishi But the insistence on the hardnosed versus the floaty mystical twistical can be irritating and possibly strike the reader as crypto racist Forster himself seems to participate in this Mystic East schtick Here is the narrator waxing not so much lyrical as borderline incomprehensible All over the city and over much of India the same retreat on the part of humanity was beginning into cellars up hills under trees April herald of horrors is at hand The sun was returning to his kingdom with power but without beauty – that was the sinister feature If only there had been beauty His cruelty would have been tolerable then Through excess of light he failed to triumph he also; in his yellowy white overflow not only matter but brightness itself lay drowned He was not the unattainable friend either of men or birds or other suns he was not the eternal promise the never withdrawn suggestion that haunts our consciousness; he was merely a creature like the rest and so debarred from glory TUMESCENCEDETUMESCENCEThe action of the plot turns into a big courtroom drama This is the second classic in a row that I read with a John Grisham tendency the other one was The Brothers Karamazov The case collapses in dramatic fashion and after that comes a lot of ruefulness and bumbling and personal bitterness but not too much happens There is maybe seventy pages of deflation I could imagine that some reader might be a trifle impatient with that ON THE OTHER HANDYou have to love zingers like A friendliness as of dwarfs shaking hands was in the air And a crafty observation like There is always trouble when two people do not think of sex at the same momentHa ha EM so true

  8. says:

    ‘The past the infinite greatness of the past’ thrilled Walt Whitman in ‘A Passage to India’ A uarter of a century later Forster borrowed Whitman's title but with a very different mood in mind In place of the American's wild eyed certainties Forster gives us echoes and confusion; instead of epic uests of the soul there is only an eternal impasse of personal and cultural misunderstandingAnimals and birds are half seen unidentified; the landscape is a featureless blur; motives are illogical and rest on miscommunication All human language in the final analysis amounts to nothing than the dull ou boum thrown back from the Malabar caves during the fateful expedition at the heart of the novel ‘If one had spoken vileness in that place or uoted lofty poetry the comment would have been the same – “ou boum”’Will Self once recommend as an exercise reducing a novel to a single word he suggested in the case of The Naked Lunch for instance that it would be ‘insect’ For A Passage to India that keyword would be ‘muddle’ – a term that recurs gradually shedding its cosiness and accreting a sense of existential indistinctness a kind of cosmic flou that renders good intentions indeed all human endeavour futile ‘I like mysteries’ says Mrs Moore the novel's moral core ‘but I rather dislike muddles’ Elsewhere Forster talks with something like dread of a ‘spiritual muddledom’ for which ‘no high sounding words can be found’The plot of this book is at times heart poundingly dramatic but Forster is careful to make sure that even this is founded on doubt and indecision In fact what one thinks of as ‘the plot’ of A Passage to India is a storyline that arises reaches its climax and is resolved entirely within the second of the book's three acts What then you might ask is the point of parts one and three? Well among other things they prevent the plot from seeming too tidy – there is always something before the beginning something after the end to frustrate neat conclusions ‘Adventures do occur’ he says ‘but not punctually’ Life isn't tidy – it's a muddleBritish India is a perfect setting for this kind of exploration not only does it play host to numerous individual confusions it is itself as it were the political embodiment of such a confusion One of the wonderful things about this book is that the obvious hypocrisy and conflict between the English and the Indians is not left to stand alone as a heavy handed message but is echoed by similar divisions between Muslim and Hindu man and woman young and old devotee and atheist Still it is the gulf of understanding between the British rulers and their Indian subjects that provides the most interesting material for Forster's bitter social comedy Most of the Brits are deliciously dislikable couching their racism in patriotic slogans droning through the national anthem every evening at the Club and – like one of the wives – learning only enough of the language to speak to the servants ‘so she knew none of the politer forms and of the verbs only the imperative mood’The heroes of this book are those that try to reach across this divide or to challenge the assumptions of their own side‘Your sentiments are those of a god’ she said uietly but it was his manner rather than his sentiments that annoyed herTrying to recover his temper he said ‘India likes gods’‘And Englishmen like posing as gods’These attempts don't work and the reason they don't work is that cultural or racial divides are – the book suggests – only a special case of that ‘spiritual muddledom’ that is a universal constant Still the worldview isn't as bleak as it might seem That famous ‘not yet’ in the book's closing lines is a lot hopeful than a ‘no’ and if we're prevented from coming together by our tangled and violent past that also raises the possibility that a better future can be laid down by the present we choose to enact now every day with each other ‘For what is the present after all’ as Walt Whitman asked ‘but a growth out of the past?’

  9. says:

    I read A Passage To India for my Completist Book Club on Goodreads This is a book that I may have never even heard of if it was not for that group For those who are curious it is a club that chooses books from must read lists to read each month Because of this club I have been able to find some interesting some challenging and sadly even some boring books that I cannot figure out why they are must reads But whatever the case I am always glad to be a part of the group because it has really expanded my reading horizonsIn the case of A Passage To India I can see why it is a classic It is a tale of British Imperial rule in India and how people on both sides British and Indian handle all the tensions and issues this causes Also the main Indian character is not Hindu but Muslim and there is a lot about being Muslim in a country where that is not the main religion It is all very relatable to modern day issuesI have been going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars Some of the parts were very riveting but others left me wanting I think it was about 5050 But I am going to go with 4 stars because the message and the historical significance of this story solidify it as a classicFunny thing I was planning to go 3 stars when I started writing this review but I talked myself into 4 stars

  10. says:

    So easy going and then whamuentin Tarantino could learn a lot from E M Forster He'd learn that there's no need to pile on the menace in the early stages The shock when it comes is much effective if the readerviewer has been led into thinking all is ordinary and relatively safe Forster is a master story teller and a true philosopher as well

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *