Discuss the portrayal of colonisation in A Passage to India.
The main aim of the book is to show what a damaging effect colonisation has on both coloniser and colonised. The English appear generally cold and unbending towards the Indians, and behave with haughty superiority towards them. Of course there are notable exceptions like Fielding, and the two newly-arrived ladies, Adela and Mrs Moore, but even their relations with the Indians turn out to be less than straightforward. They attempt to form genuine connections with them, only for all sorts of social and cultural misunderstandings and barriers to get in the way – culminating in the trial of an innocent Indian man, Aziz.
Forster shows that many of the English out in India may actually be nice enough individuals in themselves, but unfortunately, when they are around Indians, the race-mentality kicks in and they generally become insufferable. Some of the English display racist prejudice of the worst kind, for instance Mrs Callendar with her notorious comment that: ‘Why, the kindest thing...
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