Course Hero Logo
Question

Read the excerpt from E. M. Forster's famous novel 'A Passage to...

Read the excerpt from E. M. Forster's famous novel 'A Passage to India' and answer the questions that follow:

'A Passage to India'

Abandoning his bicycle, which fell before a servant could catch it, the young man sprang up on to the verandah. He was all animation. "Hamidullah, Hamidullah! am I late?" he cried.

"Do not apologize," said his host. "You are always late."

"Kindly answer my question. Am I late? Has Mahmoud Ali eaten all the food? If so I go elsewhere. Mr. Mahmoud Ali, how are you?"

 

"Thank you, Dr. Aziz, I am dying."

 

"Dying before your dinner? Oh, poor Malimoud Ali!"

 

"Hamidullah here is actually dead. He passed away just as you rode up on your bike."

"Yes, that is so," said the other. "Imagine us both as addressing you from another and a happier World."

 

"Does there happen to be such a thing as a hookah in that happier world of yours?"

"Aziz, don't chatter. We are having a very sad talk."

 

The hookah had been packed too tight, as was usual in his friend's house, and bubbled sulkily. He coaxed it. Yielding at last, the tobacco jetted up into his lungs and nostrils, driving out the smoke of burning cow dung that had filled them as he rode through the bazaar. It was delicious. He lay in a trance, sensuous but healthy, through which the talk of the two others did not seem particularly sad they were discussing as to whether or no it is possible to be friends with an Englishman. Mahmoud Ali argued that it was not, Hamidullah disagreed, but with so many reservations that there was no friction between them. Delicious indeed to lie on the broad verandah with the moon rising in front and the servants preparing dinner behind, and no trouble happening.

 

"Well, look at my own experience this morning."

 

"I only contend that it is possible in England ," replied Hamidullah, who had been to that country long ago, before the big rush, and had received a cordial welcome at Cambridge.

 

"It is impossible here. Aziz! The red-nosed boy has again insulted me in Court. I do not blame him. He was told that he ought to insult me. Until lately he was quite a nice boy, but the others have got hold of him."

"Yes, they have no chance here, that is my point. They come out intending to be gentlemen, and are told it will not do. Look at Lesley, look at Blakiston, now it is your red-nosed boy, and Fielding will go next. Why, I remember when Turton came out first. It was in another part of the Province. You fellows will not believe me, but I have driven with Turton in his carriage Turton! Oh yes, we were once quite intimate. He has shown me his stamp collection."

 

"He would expect you to steal it now. Turton! But a red-nosed boy will be far worse than Turton!"

"I do not think so. They all become exactly the same, not worse, not better. I give any Englishman two years, be he Turton or Burton. It is only the difference of a letter. And I give any English Woman six months. All are exactly alike. Do you not agree with me?"

 

"I do not," replied Mahmoud Ali, entering into the bitter fun, and feeling both pain and amusement at each word that was uttered. "For my own part I find such profound differences among our rulers. Red- nose mumbles, Turton talks distinctly, Mrs. Turton takes bribes Mrs. Red-nose does not and cannot, because so far there is no Mrs. Red-nose."

 

"Bribes?"

 

"Did you not know that when they were lent to Central India over a Canal Scheme, some Rajah or other gave her a sewing machine in solid gold so that the water should run through his state?"

 

"And does it?

 

"No, that is where Mrs. Turton is so skillful. When we poor blacks take bribes, we perform what we are bribed to perform, and the law discovers us in consequence. The English take and do nothing. I admire them."

 

"We all admire them. Aziz, please pass me the hookah."

 

"Oh, not yet hookah is so jolly now."

 

"You are a very selfish boy." He raised his voice suddenly, and shouted for dinner. Servants shouted back that it was ready. They meant that they wished it was ready, and were so understood, for nobody moved. Then Hamidullah continued, but with a changed manner and evident emotion.

Respond to the questions given below:

1.      How does this text represent the conflict of ideology between the colonized and the colonizers? (5)

1.      Explain how this literary excerpt contains the characteristics of Postcolonial literature. (5)

Answer & Explanation

Unlock full access to Course Hero

Explore over 16 million step-by-step answers from our library

Get answer

Our verified expert tutors typically answer within 15-30 minutes.

Recently Asked Questions
Explore recently asked questions from the same subject