A Passage to India

by E. M. Forster

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Part I, Chapters IX – XI: Summary

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Last Updated March 22, 2023.

Aziz is bedridden and unwell, daydreaming about dancing girls and intimacy. Visitors, including Hamidullah, Syed Mohammed, Mr. Haq, and Rafi, arrive to express their sympathy. Rafi proposes that Aziz and Professor Godbole fell sick after having tea with Fielding and later insists that Godbole has cholera. Syed Mohammed and the others disdainfully blame Hindus for spreading disease. Dr. Panna Lal comes with Ram Chand to briefly examine Aziz. The group inquires about Godbole's condition, which leads to a quarrel between the Hindus and Muslims present.

Fielding arrives, and the mood becomes lighter with friendly banter. The conversation shifts to religion, and Fielding admits he doesn't believe in God. When asked why England rules India, he struggles to provide a solid answer, only stating that he personally needed a job. The Indians find this response perplexing. The group debates whether India possesses a spiritual nature.

In this scene, the focus expands to include the larger context, with humans playing only a small part. The intense heat and impending adverse weather are highlighted, and the sun is portrayed as formidable yet sinister.

After the other visitors depart, Fielding remains, as no one has brought his horse. Aziz invites him to view a photograph of his deceased wife, which moves and honors Fielding. Aziz emphasizes the need for kindness in India.

The two men discuss women, marriage, and family. Aziz proposes that Fielding marry Miss Quested, but Fielding reveals she is engaged to Mr. Heaslop. Aziz cautions Fielding about his statements based on prior conversations with others. When Fielding requests his horse, Aziz admits to instructing the servant not to bring it. In the end, Aziz perceives Fielding as impulsive but is pleased to consider him a friend.

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Part I, Chapter VIII: Summary

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Part II, Chapters XII – XIV: Summary