A Passage to India

by E. M. Forster

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Part III, Chapters XXXIV – XXXV: Summary

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Last Updated on March 22, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 443

Dr. Aziz departs from the palace the following morning to head back to his home. He encounters Godbole, but the devotee signals that he does not wish to be interrupted. Distractedly, Godbole informs Aziz that "he" has arrived at the European Guest House. Aziz deduces that this refers to Fielding, who is visiting on official business and is now married. Aziz mistakenly believes that Fielding's wife is Miss Quested.

While in Chandrapore, Aziz had received a letter from Fielding announcing his upcoming marriage. Aziz had given the letter to Mahmoud Ali to respond and had disregarded any subsequent correspondence.

Aziz resides in Mau with a woman and his children. He is accepted in this Hindu state but has an adversary in Colonel Maggs, a British Political Agent from the Criminal Investigation Department. However, the Viceroy's policy has shifted, and British influence carries less weight; the Rajah declines to dismiss Aziz.

Aziz rips up the note in which Fielding says he is arriving with his wife, her brother, and asks for assistance in providing for the State Guest House and adhering to court etiquette. Aziz wants to evade meeting the visitors.

After the Krishna celebration, Aziz brings his children to visit an Islamic saint's shrine. Numerous bees' nests are present in the Shrine of the Head, but the children remain unharmed. Aziz and his children continue their visit to a small mosque and an abandoned fort, where they encounter a group of prisoners. During the Krishna procession later that evening, the boys inquire which prisoner will be pardoned. One prisoner asks about the Rajah's wellbeing. Aziz claims it is always improving, though the Rajah passed away after the ceremony. To avoid dampening the festivities, the death is kept secret.

The children spot Fielding and his brother-in-law below. When the two Englishmen enter the shrine, they are assaulted by bees and quickly flee. Aziz's mood brightens. He advises the stung brother-in-law to distance himself and lie in a pool of water. Rain starts to fall. Aziz removes some stingers from the man's wrists, speaking harshly to him.

Fielding addresses Aziz in a hostile manner, questioning why his letters went unanswered. The rain intensifies, and Fielding insists Aziz join them in their carriage. Fielding complains about the lack of hospitality at the Guest House and expresses their desire to see the torchlight procession that night.

Upon reaching the carriage, Aziz exclaims, "Jump in, Mr. Quested...." Fielding responds, "Who on earth is Mr. Quested?" Aziz's error is exposed, and he turns pale. Fielding's demeanor is simultaneously amicable, biting, and derisive. Aziz's embarrassment transforms into fury, and he proclaims that he wants nothing to do with the English.

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Part III, Chapter XXXIII: Summary


Part III, Chapter XXXVI: Summary