A Passage to India was published in 1924—that is, 23 years before Britain finally ceded colonial control of the Indian subcontinent and created India and Pakistan. Independence was not then considered inevitable.
As the novel ends, Fielding and Aziz have gone on a ride together. Although they are arguing constantly, they keep saying they do not want to spoil the ride. Fielding often accuses Aziz of being impractical or romantic, as he totally dismisses the idea of Indian self-governance. At one point, when Aziz raises the idea of driving the British out, Fielding sarcastically suggests that he is proposing it become the colony of a different ruler. Fielding asks,
Who do you want instead of the English? The Japanese?
Aziz at first goes along with the "joke," saying that he wants the Afghans, his own ancestors. As they continue arguing in this vein, Aziz finally loses his patience as "Fielding mocked again." In a rage, Aziz shouts at Fielding, as a representative of all the English:
Clear out, you fellows, double quick, I say. We may hate one another, but we hate you most. . . . if it's fifty-five hundred years, we shall get rid of you, yes, we shall drive every blasted Englishman into the sea, and then . . . you and I shall be friends.
As the men embrace, Fielding reveals how totally incapable he is of understanding:
Why can't we be friends now? . . . It's what I want. It's what you want.
Forster's final sentences, in which he portrays all the elements of the natural and built environment saying "No," confirm how very wrong Fielding's assumptions are.