A Passage to India

by E. M. Forster

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Part I, Chapter VIII: Summary

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Last Updated April 25, 2023.

After departing the party, Ronny Heaslop discovers Aziz's lost collar stud, which he sees as evidence of the absentminded nature of all Indians. Mrs. Moore declines an invitation to the polo match, and Adela follows suit. Consequently, Heaslop cancels his polo plans, loses his temper, and instructs his mother and Adela to avoid interacting with Indians. Despite the previous decision, Heaslop and Adela end up attending the polo game, leaving Mrs. Moore at the bungalow. At the event, Adela requests a serious conversation, during which she initially refuses to marry Heaslop. They spot a bird, but no one can describe it accurately.

The Nawab Bahadur arrives at the maidan and invites them for a car ride. He falls asleep in the front seat next to the chauffeur, who is then instructed by Heaslop to take an alternate route. Suddenly, an accident occurs, causing the car to crash into a tree. Miss Quested claims that an animal caused the incident, but no one can identify the animal in question.

Miss Derek arrives in the Maharani's car, picking up everyone except the chauffeur. The Nawab praises British India's orderliness, contrasting it with Indian superstition. Heaslop and Adela, having bonded during the crash, decide to marry. Heaslop apologizes for his earlier comments, and after the Nawab exits the car, they return to the bungalow where Adela retracts her prior rejection of Heaslop's proposal. They announce their engagement.

Mrs. Moore considers returning to England. Upon hearing about the accident, she exclaims, "A ghost!" Heaslop continues to rant about "the native" and calls for Krishna, the worker meant to bring his files to the office. Despite his shouting, Krishna doesn't appear.

The Nawab Bahadur, accompanied by others, awaits his car. He recalls an incident nine years prior when he had run over a drunken man, resulting in the man's death. He also speaks of the recent accident and his horror at endangering his guests' lives. Aziz quietly tells Nureddin that Muslims must rid themselves of superstitions.

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Part I, Chapter VII: Summary


Part I, Chapters IX – XI: Summary