A Passage to India
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A Passage to India (1924) is a novel by E. M. Forster set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library.
In this story, a British woman, Adela Quested, joins her fiancée in India where he works for the government. She is befriended by an Indian doctor, Aziz H. Ahmed, who is later accused of attempting to rape her. The accusation takes place after Adela's unidentified traumatic experience while touring a local natural attraction, the Marabar Caves. The ensuing court trial increases the racial tension between the Indians and the British, threatening to tear apart the colonial society of Chandrapore, India and foreshadowing the end of the British Raj.
- PART ONE: MOSQUE
- Description of Chandrapore
- Dr Aziz is called away from Hamidullah's house by Major Callendar; on arrival, he finds Callendar has left; Mrs Callendar and Mrs Lesley take his carriage; he walks to the mosque and meets Mrs Moore; they talk
- Mrs Moore returns to the club and tells Adela Quested and Ronny Heaslop about her encounter; Ronny is bothered by it
- The Collector invites Indians to a Bridge Party
- The Bridge Party
- Dr Panna Lal asks Dr Aziz why he didn't go
- Mr Fielding; Dr Aziz invites Adela Quested and Mrs Moore to the Marabar Caves
- Adela Quested and Ronny Heaslop
- Mr Hamidullah, Dr Panna Lal, Fielding, Rafi Haq, Ram Chand, Syed Mohammed visit Dr Aziz at his home
- The heat
- Fielding visits Aziz at his house; they become friendly
PART TWO: CAVES
- Description of caves
- Fielding and Godbole miss the train
- Mrs Moore and the caves
- Dr Aziz and Miss Quested part ways
- Loss of Miss Quested; arrest of Aziz
- Fielding learns of this; he talks to Mr Turton
- Fielding talks to Mr McBryde
- Fielding talks to Hamidullah, Godbole, Aziz
- The situation is discussed at the Club; Fielding resigns (20)
- Rest of the evening
- Miss Quested starts to have doubts; Mrs Moore is dismissive
- Mrs Moore leaves India
- The trial; Quested withdraws her accusation
- Dr Aziz and Dr Panna Lal
- Fielding talks to Quested; they learn of Mrs Moore's death
- Fielding talks to Aziz
- Death of Mrs Moore; the cult of Esmiss Esmoor
- Last conversation between Fielding and Quested; she leaves India
- Aziz talks to Das
- Aziz no longer trusts Fielding
- Fielding travels back to England
PART THREE: TEMPLE
- Professor Godbole
- Dr Aziz's life while Fielding is gone
- Fielding returns; Aziz realises he never married Adela Quested
- Aziz meets Ralph Moore
- Aziz and Fielding talk about politics and India's future as a nation
Characters in "A Passage to India"
Depending on the particular narrative voice being used, characters are referred to by either their formal surname or their familiar name.
- Dr Aziz
- a Muslim Indian who works as an intern at the English hospital.
- Mrs Moore
- mother of Ronny Heaslop, visiting Chandrapore to oversee her son's engagement.
- Ronny/Mr Heaslop
- English City Magistrate of Chandrapore.
- Cyril/Mr Fielding
- English principal of the Chandrapore high school, middle aged and unmarried.
- Adela/Miss Quested
- young Englishwoman visiting India to possibly marry Ronny Heaslop.
- a Cambridge-educated barrister, he serves as Aziz's best friend.
- Mr Turton
- the English city collector of Chandrapore.
- Professor Narayan Godbole
- an elderly Brahman.
Awards and nominations
- The novel won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1924.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
- 1984: A Passage to India is a feature film directed by David Lean, starring Victor Banerjee, Judy Davis, Art Malik, Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Peggy Ashcroft, Alec Guinness and Nigel Havers.
- 1965: A Passage to India was produced for television in the United Kingdom by the BBC in 1965, as part of their regular Play of the Month strand. The 110-minute adaptation was shown on BBC1 on November 16. The script was an adaptation by John Maynard of the 1960 stage version of the novel by Santha Rama Rau, and the play was directed by Indian director Waris Hussein. Sybil Thorndike starred as Mrs Moore, with Cyril Cusack as Fielding, Virginia McKenna as Adela, Zia Mohyeddin as Aziz and Ronald Hines as Ronnie Heaslop. The play also sees early appearances of Saeed Jaffrey and Doreen Mantle in minor roles. Unlike many BBC productions of the 1960s which have been junked, A Passage to India still exists in the BBC archives, and was repeated on BBC2 in 1992 as part of the Black and White in Colour season of programmes — in spite of the fact that it is in black and white.
- Forster, E.M. Overview and selection from "A Passage to India." The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Twentieth Century (Vol. 2C), 7th Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000: 2131-2141.
- Original 1924 review reprinted by the Guardian
- TIME MAGAZINE: 100 ALL-TIME NOVELS
- The Modern Library 100 Best Novels
- The Literary Encyclopedia
- A Passage to India (1965 television) at the Internet Movie Database