Are the English justified in feeling superior to natives? Explain with reference to A Passage to India.
Indians in A Passage to India. [NU. 2003]
Comment on the Anglo-Indian’s attitude towards
Ans. E.M. Forster’s visits India in 1912-13 and in 1921 provided him with the knowledge and experience of the country and the people that were to form the basis of A Passage to India. While living in India and acting as the private secretary to the Rajah of Dewas State Senior, he had opportunities of seeing the Anglo-Indian bureaum belonging the British Imperial Services, like the I.C.S., LP.S. and I.M.S. These services could not be imagined without the evil of the glamour of self-assumed bureaucratic pose of dignity. Divested of it an official belonging to this cadre of services was not regarded a success. They were directly under the control of the British Secretary of State of India and they were supposed to be above all Law. An I.C.S. officer, often called as Burra Sahib, when a Collector, in charge of a district was regarded as a demi-god, who embodied in him all the authority and power, almost a person with super-human powers.
The attitude of the Anglo-Indians towards the natives of India is very mean. From the very beginning of the novel we mark the English consider themselves to be superior to the Indians in all respects. So there is a wide gulf separating the Indians from the British. Chandrapore is two towns, the native section and the British Civil Station. Forster notes the contrast: “The Civil Station shares nothing with the city except the overarching sky”.
The English always look down upon the Indians as belonging to an inferior race. This may be traced in the ill-treatment done to Aziz by his English boss, the Civil Surgeon, Mr. Callendar.
The episode of the ‘Bridge Party’ at the British also gives evidence to the rude behaviour of the Anglo-Indians to the natives. The party is meant to bridge the gulf between the Britishers and the Indians but in fact, it is a total failure, because the English are not interested in showing courtesies and talking to the Indians, whom they have invited. Ronny is a brilliant example of evil designed bureaucrat. His attitude to the Indian is quite clear when he says, “we’re out here to do justice and keep the peace. We are not pleasant in India, and we don’t intend to be pleasant. We’ve something more important to do”.
The incidents of Aziz’s arrest and trial expose the Britishers’ malevolence and vindictive attitude towards the Indians. Aziz is arrested on a false charge of having tried to molest Miss Adela Quested in one of the Marabar Caves. After this incident Mr. Turton the district Collector opines that the English cannot be intimate with the Indians socially. Mr. McBryde the superintendent of Police believes that all the natives of India are criminals at heart.
Thus A Passage to India records the narrow mind and ill-will of the Britishers to the natives of India.
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