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racismThis book tends to underline the "racism" that the English have towards...

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mariaisabella... | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 4:32 AM via web

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racism

This book tends to underline the "racism" that the English have towards the Indians. Do you think there is also a strong "racism" from the Indians to the British? Would you consider it justified?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 13, 2008 at 7:19 AM (Answer #2)

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Any conquered people will feel bitterness and resentment toward the conquerers.  This is true as far back into history as you can go--the Saxons disliked the Normans, the black slaves feared and hated the white southern plantation owners in the US, the Indians disliked and distrusted the British. 

While the British tend to have a consdescending attitude, much of the misunderstanding in this novel is due to a lack of complete education and understanding of the culture.  The Indians did not fully understand the Brits and their culture, and the opposite is also true.  Because of this, mistakes in ettiquette are made and feelings are hurt even more--sometimes without the offending party's knowledge. 

It is common is Asia for people to tell you they will meet you somewhere and then not show up.  To them, it is rude to say "No" to a friend.  So, they say "yes" and ditch you.  In the West, the opposite is true.  If you can't go, tell me, but don't leave me hanging. 

Cultural differences like this make up much of the mistakes and disasters in A Passage to India--take the cave situation for instance.  The change in Aziz is also relative to this theory as he was at the beginning of the novel perhaps the most open to friendly relations with the British and ends up being very bitter toward them.

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philblack | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 11:14 PM (Answer #3)

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i believe that their is some racism from the indians towards the british but just not to the same degree. the british are alot more volatile with their dislike for the indians but i'm sure if it was the other way around the british would be treated just as poorly

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felipez | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 11:15 PM (Answer #4)

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Any conquered people will feel bitterness and resentment toward the conquerers.  This is true as far back into history as you can go--the Saxons disliked the Normans, the black slaves feared and hated the white southern plantation owners in the US, the Indians disliked and distrusted the British. 

While the British tend to have a consdescending attitude, much of the misunderstanding in this novel is due to a lack of complete education and understanding of the culture.  The Indians did not fully understand the Brits and their culture, and the opposite is also true.  Because of this, mistakes in ettiquette are made and feelings are hurt even more--sometimes without the offending party's knowledge. 

It is common is Asia for people to tell you they will meet you somewhere and then not show up.  To them, it is rude to say "No" to a friend.  So, they say "yes" and ditch you.  In the West, the opposite is true.  If you can't go, tell me, but don't leave me hanging. 

Cultural differences like this make up much of the mistakes and disasters in A Passage to India--take the cave situation for instance.  The change in Aziz is also relative to this theory as he was at the beginning of the novel perhaps the most open to friendly relations with the British and ends up being very bitter toward them.

If I might be allowed to differ, or mayhaps extrapolate on Amy's extremely interesting point of view, I would disagree in the part referring to offending the opposing party, and the one towards the bitterness of all conquerors.

The cultural conflict in the book do arise from the English's complete ignorance of the Indian culture and society. It is not the Indian's duty to change their whole society and way of thinking upon their being conquered by another people. But it is the British's duty to try to comprehend their way of thinking, not merely as a requirement in the terms of morality but in a more pragmatism point of view, it would very likely help towards more public satisfaction and less chances of rebellion in the diverse provinces of the Empire.

 Also, if I recall correctly the Italians welcomed their French Conqueros under Napoleon as bringers of freedom.

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maddabea | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 11:21 PM (Answer #5)

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We believe that there is a form of racism from the indians to the british because the indians feel inferior to the British and used for their own interests. For example, since the first chapters Aziz demonstrates not to be flexible with the presence of the british in India, however he still respects them and shows it by always being available considering his job.  

Aziz is much more respectful with the British than the other Indians, therefore "A Passage to India" gives the reader two different perspectives: on one side there are the indians like Aziz who still respect the British no matter what, while on the other the indians who feel inferior and therefore don't respect the British.

Maddalena & Beatrice 

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yeos | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 11:21 PM (Answer #6)

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I think it's a different form of racism, which cannot be defined as such; the indians tend to avoid the english and see them in bad light, however there is no notion of the Indians seeing themselves superior... they accept the fact that they are superior in certain cases and they are even submissive at times. Racism is the idea where a certain race sees themselves superior than another race - Indians obviously don't see themselves superior. I think the question is closer to a form of racial segregation rather than racism...

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dubetzd | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 11:30 PM (Answer #7)

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I would have to agree with felipez's post. Since India was a British colony, the British believed that they could neglect the Indian people's feelings just because the British felt that they were superior to the Indians. I think that this is the basis as to why the British treat the Indians the way they do in the book. 

What exactly does "mayhaps" mean? I think felipez is just trying to act all philosopher-like. =O

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jonssonn | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 13, 2008 at 11:36 PM (Answer #8)

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yes, i think it is completely justified thatt the indians are racsm agains the british also because when the trial happened, aziz was completely innoccent with adela. 

i also think it is justified because the british are actually turists in india, and therefore, they have the right to be racist 

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