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A Passage to India by E. M .Forster is one of the books on the Time Magazine’s 100 Best English language novels from 1923 to 2005. Set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Independence Movement in the 1920s, it narrates the growing racial tension between native Indians and the British who are largely ignorant and prejudiced about the country they have colonized.
The story revolves around the Indian Muslim doctor Aziz, his English head master friend Fielding, an elderly lady Mrs Moore and young Adela Quested who comes from England to look for a groom. Adela is all set to marry Mrs Moore’s son Ronny, the city magistrate at Chandrapore, when disaster strikes. While exploring the Marabar caves, an incident occurs and Adela accuses Aziz of molesting her. Aziz is eventually exonerated from the crime, but the scandal violently affects both the British and their Indian subjects.
A Passage to India, begins and ends with a question – can the English and Indian races be friends and, at the end of the novel, the answer appears to be no, “No, not yet”. The imbalance in the political and social structures of colonialism was not conducive to true friendship.
A true classic that showcases imperialism and the great political turmoil in Britain’s ‘Jewel in the Crown.’