A Passage to India

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A Passage to India Part 3, Chapter 34 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Aziz leaves the palace and runs into Godbole on the street. The Professor is still dancing in religious joy, but he manages to relay the news that Fielding may be at the European guest house. Fielding’s visit is an official one, as he is on a tour inspecting English education in the more remote regions of India. He has married, and Aziz assumes that Adela is his wife. Aziz doesn’t like thinking of Fielding, “because it disturbed his life.”
We learn that Aziz and Fielding’s friendship has completely fallen apart, and the two men no longer speak. Fielding also appears to have become more of a typical English official, with a greater investment in the colonial system. Aziz has let his suspicions about Adela harden into firm belief.
Themes
Colonialism Theme Icon
“Muddles” and Mysteries Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
Aziz instead thinks happily about Professor Godbole, who initially got Aziz his job in Mau, and is the reason he has stayed. Aziz still has no “religious curiosity” about Hinduism, but he is very fond of Godbole now. He likes living in Mau, where the tensions are between Brahman Hindus and non-Brahman Hindus, instead of between Muslims and English. But Hinduism is just as divided as everything else in India, even though it seems so unified to outsiders. The Muslim Aziz is accepted by the community because he is so respectful.
Forster gives more background information about Aziz’s current life. He respects Hindus now and works among them with pleasure and curiosity. Once again the ideal of unity is incomplete and imperfect, as even Hinduism itself is divided into factions, but Aziz is relieved that all the divisions are at least among Indians, and the English are barely involved.
Themes
Colonialism Theme Icon
“Muddles” and Mysteries Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
Aziz officially works under a Hindu doctor, though he is basically the chief doctor of the Rajah’s court. Aziz has been permanently scarred by his experiences with the English, and so he originally fled to Mau to avoid them, choosing escape instead of joining committees and protesting British rule. He feels that Fielding has truly betrayed him, and they no longer speak—Fielding’s letters from Europe seemed “cold” to Aziz, and then he got the news (through Hamidullah and Mahmoud Ali) that Fielding was marrying “someone you know,” which Aziz assumes is Adela.
Aziz seems to be the one mostly at fault for his broken friendship with Fielding, as he has allowed his active imagination and suspicion to get the better of him. Aziz has convinced himself that Fielding betrayed him and married Adela based entirely on the perceived mood in his letters, and Aziz has not even bothered to check for the truth.
Themes
Colonialism Theme Icon
“Muddles” and Mysteries Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Since then Aziz has thrown away all of Fielding’s letters, and he feels that this is the end of a “foolish experiment.” He sometimes feels dissatisfied, remembering their old friendship and the sacrifices Fielding once made for him, but in general Aziz avoids thinking about Fielding, hates the English, and feels like a true Indian at last.
This “experiment” was that which the novel explores in its entirety: the question of whether an Englishman and an Indian can be true friends. Aziz has found comfort in totally rejecting the British, even if that includes Fielding as well.
Themes
Colonialism Theme Icon
“Muddles” and Mysteries Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
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Aziz is happy in Mao, living with his children now and writing poetry. His poems generally focus on Indian women and the need to abolish the purdah, arguing that all women are necessary for India to unite and drive out the English, because “there cannot be a motherland without new homes.” Aziz is still dogged by his past trial, however, as Colonel Maggs, a local English political agent, has orders to keep an eye on him as a suspected criminal.
Aziz has taken Hamidullah’s suggestion about Indian women as a poetic subject. Aziz has tried to completely avoid the English, but he still cannot escape the effects of Adela’s accusation. The English continue to plague him (although now less directly) and consider him guilty.
Themes
Colonialism Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
That night Aziz arrives home and finds a note from Fielding (passed on by Godbole) saying that Fielding, his wife, and his wife’s brother have arrived. Fielding mentions some incidents of his journey, but to Aziz the note seems similar to those all English guests seem to send: requests for special treatment and questions about schedules and advice. Aziz tears up the note, thinking angrily of Adela still trying to see “native life.” He worries that Fielding might linger for a few days because flooding has blocked many roads.
Fielding now seems to have become a stereotypical Anglo-Indian official, demanding special treatment and writing detachedly to Aziz, and so we see that Aziz is not the only one at fault for their lost friendship. Aziz is still clearly very bitter about the Marabar incident, and has not let go of his suffering. Aziz, who was once so excited to spend time with Fielding, now worries that he will be forced to.
Themes
Colonialism Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Division vs. Unity Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon