A Passage to India

by E. M. Forster

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Part III, Chapter XXXVI: Summary

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Last Updated March 22, 2023.

The palace buzzes with activity, even though the usual dramatic performance about Krishna's legend won't occur. Instead, the festival fosters an environment of love and peace. This is a stark contrast to Mau's typical atmosphere of suspicion and selfishness, which Aziz finds hard to grasp.

In the evening, Aziz recalls the ointment he promised to deliver to the Guest House and sets off. Along the way, he spots the procession and nearly runs into Professor Godbole, who has known for over a year that Fielding married Heaslop's sister. Godbole kindly requests Aziz not to be upset with him for not sharing this information earlier. As the Sweeper's band arrives, Aziz grows bored and continues his journey, passing by the Mau tank and eventually reaching the European Guest House.

While there, Aziz discovers two letters on a piano. The first is from Heaslop to Fielding, apologizing for his past behavior and mentioning a "son and heir." The second, from Miss Quested to Mrs. Fielding, discusses an irredeemable debt. Soon after, the sound of State guns and a rocket indicate the prisoner's release, and Aziz and Ralph step onto the porch to converse.

Although they agree that their nations cannot be friends, Ralph reveals that Mrs. Moore had mentioned Aziz in her letters and loved him. Aziz is grateful but unsure why. He suggests they go boating and finds the oars. As lightning flashes, they spot an image of a king under a canopy, which Aziz identifies as the Rajah's deceased father.

Ralph requests to get closer, and Aziz complies. The chant of Radhakrishna shifts, and Aziz thinks he hears the "syllables of salvation" from his Chandrapore trial. They approach the Krishna palanquin, and Godbole waves at them. Just as an image of Krishna's birthplace is about to be submerged in the water, English voices shout, and the two boats collide. The servitor's tray and the two letters are lost as the boats capsize.

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Part III, Chapters XXXIV – XXXV: Summary


Part III, Chapter XXXVII: Summary