This novel of Forster's is widely regarded to be his best, analysing the nature of the relationship between the British colonisers and the Indian people during the time of the British Raj, and also widens this to examine the nature of the relationships between human beings in general. Forster's motto, "only connect", is a key theme in this novel as well as in Howard's End.
Despite this hope of bridging cultural divides, racial tension is most clearly seen in the relationship between Dr. Aziz and Dr. Fielding. The relationship is seen as not being strong enough to avoid misunderstandings and racial tensions. This is a theme that runs through the whole novel, and even when the British colonisers attempt to bridge the gap, they often commit terrible faux pas. For example, Adela asks Dr. Aziz how many wives he has. When the Turtons throw a bridge party, it only serves to reinforce the divide between the Indians and colonisers. Turton, after Dr Aziz's arrest, says to Fielding: "I have never known anything but disaster to result when English people and Indians attempt to be intimate socially."