"Why talk about the English? Brrrr...!" An Outlook on Aziz's Attempts to "Bridge the Gap"
A Passage To India by E. M. Forster is a rich, postcolonial novel delving into the possibility of sustaining a personal friendship between an English person and an "Indian" person. This topic is being discussed in the beginning of the novel at the home of Hamidullah, "... they were discussing as to whether or no(t) it is possible to be friends with an Englishman. Mahmoud Ali argued that it was not, Hamidullah disagreed, but with so many reservations..." (Forster 7) Aziz, who the novel centers around, has the disposition to just shut them out and ignore them and all will be jolly. Of course, later, we find Aziz does not shut them out and rather allows them to nest in his own self respect, and cause insecurity while trying to befriend them. I will argue that Aziz tries to initiate, and sustain lasting personal relationships with the English, and fails to do so with all three of his subjects, Mrs. Moore, Ms. Quested, and Dr. Fielding; also I will attempt to reveal the novel's latent, transgressive sexuality motivating Dr. Aziz's advances towards Dr. Fielding; and how the relationship attempted with Mrs. Moore was nothing more then the love of the idea of a "perfect" friendship. These theories once presented, will also reveal Forster's own fatalistic attitude towards the age that he lived in and the pessimistic mood that permeates the narrative.
Mrs. Moore and Ms. Quested are new to India, and haven't been inundated with the imperalist attitudes of the Anglo Indians. When Mrs. Moore enters the mosque with her shoes off, Aziz is startled to find that an Englishwoman would observe his muslim customs and when she says that God is here, he is instantly intrigued. Here is a woman with some empathy and sympathy. Azizs subsequent questioning of her begins to show similarities between them and he declares that she is an Oriental. Ms. Quested and Mrs. Moore are looking to see the "real India" and want to meet Indians socially to achieve this goal, which is nonsense because even if these women met 1000 Indians socially they would never capture the spirit of India by meeting people who live in the country. In fact Aziz addresses this issue with Mr. Das, "There is no such person in existence as the general Indian." (Forster 296) However, after Mrs. Moore's encounter with Aziz he is pegged by these two as someone who represents "real India" to them. Which of course, is ironic because Aziz attempts to entertain the ladies in a western fashion, losing himself in hospitality and neglecting his eastern self for the benefit of the English ladies.
Aziz is a young, passionate muslim doctor who only keeps other muslims as his company. He is sensitive, and good looking and seems to genuinely want to explore the possiblities of having English friends after his only exposure being the haughty Anglo Indians. However, I question his sincerity in attaining English friends in an attempt to break the bounds of colonial ideaologies and is merely motivated by the idea of attaining the unattainable. Aziz shows no desire to befriend Hindus, he is a classist himself in his attitudes towards them; "Slack Hindus-- they had no idea of society; I know them very well because of a doctor at the hospital. Such a slack, unpunctual fellow!" (Forster 72) His beliefs about Hindus coincide with how the English "other" Indians. Aziz is certainly mimicing Western attitudes here and is characterized as being, "Touched by Western feeling..." (Forster 57) Aziz's "demonic othering" of Hindus is just him displacing the inadequacies he feels in not being in the ruling class he mimics, onto a "lower" class of people.
We have three relationships that Aziz attempts to cultivate in order to "bridge the gap" between the English and Indian. Aziz certainly finds more success with his method of bridging the gap than Mr. Turton's bridge party. However, Aziz like Mr. Turton does not achieve...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document