عنوان مقاله [English]
A Passage to India, written by E. M. Forster, is not just as a passage among races, classes, religions and political ideas, but it is also a connection among human beings within the two Lands: lands of East and West. Forster endeavours to offer a humane and civilized solution to get these two lands together, but how? The present study tries to shed light on the text and with resort to a qualitative and hermeneutic approach discover the themes and symbols presented in the text to unveil the mystery lodged in the mind of the writer. The solution to this reconciliation is not so mysterious or unachievable, but it is already present in different forms and colors in Indian culture. The narration, symbols, and themes of the work are all together doing their best to show that proximity of religions is feasible and despite difficulties of living in the Universe, the human race is in search of a more lasting home. And that proximity of religions is achievable provided that each respects the other.
Passage to India, written by E. M. Forster in 1926, is not just as a passage among races, classes, religions and political ideas, but it is also a connection among human beings within two lands: Land of East and Land of West. Forster endeavours to offer a humane and civilized solution to get these two lands together, but how? The solution to this reconciliation is not so mysterious or unachievable, but it is already present in different forms and colours in Indian culture. The narration, symbols, and themes of the work are all together doing their best to show that proximity of religions is feasible and that despite difficulties of living in the Universe, the human race is in search of a more lasting home. Added to that, they indicate proximity of religions is achievable provided that each sticks to his own convictions and respect the canons of others.
The present study tries to shed light on the text by employing a qualitative and hermeneutic approach to discover the themes and symbols presented in the text to unveil the mystery lodged in the mind of the writer. To fulfil this, the researcher has adopted methods leading to the perception, understanding, and interpretation of the text per se. Forster does not render his text by oriental viewpoints but by employing realistic elements mingled with modernist components, though orientalism is hidden one way or another in the text.
The word “passage” carries different layers of meaning. It denotes, of course, the physical passage of Europeans to India, the move from the familiar to the Unknown. The word also connotes “rites of passage”, a move from a simple to a more sophisticated form of existence and finally getting to a self-discovery. The title of the novel has been taken from Walt Whitman’s poem, A Passage to India, celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal. A Passage to India, as a product of 1920s and modernism, is highly structured to create patterns, repetitions and rhythms with a three-part structure of ‘Mosque’, ‘Cave’, and ‘Temple’. The novel gives its readers a short description of Chandapore, a city along the Ganges River, whose local section is as filthy and undescriptive as one can imagine, whereas the section belonging to the English seems beautiful and fertile. The story opens up and ends by posing the question of whether it is possible for an Englishman and an Indian to ever be friends, at least within the context of British colonialism. To accomplish this, the novel falls into three sections with three symbolic representations as follows: Part One: Cold Weather, Muslim ‘Mosque’; Part Two: Hot Weather, Christian ‘Caves’; and Part Three: Rains, Hindu ‘Temple’. Mosque refers to the mosque where Dr Aziz meets Mrs Moore. It provides the space for religious hope and aspiration in the Indian spring. The second section moves to the caves. If the moon was a dominant motif in the first section, it is the sun in the second section on disillusion and racial division in the Indian summer. These caves are ‘extraordinary’ and are like nothing else in the world. They allude to Christianity. Darkness rather than emptiness dominates the caves; nothing is visible. Only when a visitor strikes a match, does the cave spring to life signifying consumption of love. Miss Adela Quested hears a loud echo, which causes her such confusion that the innocent Dr Aziz is arrested for assaulting her; still, the writer leaves the source of the echo unexplained in order to break with the realist conventions and adopts the ambiguity typical of modernism (Lewis, 2014: 69). The final section starts after a time space of two years inside the temple. A religious celebration is taking place during India’s rainy season signifying spiritual and emotional cleansing. The dominant mood here is reconciliation and forgiveness at the height of the rainy season. For Aziz and his friends, ‘Mosque’ is an embodiment of religious aspiration and human intimacy, and retreat for Muslims, a place for reconciliation for all faiths.
E.M. Forster is a modernist writer and his well-known work of A Passage to India is a product of 1920s. The symbols used are not ambiguous but containing different layers of meaning. The writer tries to juxtapose three different religions together and acts his own presentence in the role of Mr Fielding to show how it is possible to get these religions closer through abiding by their own conventions and respecting one another. A Passage to India symbolizes the failure of human beings in the twentieth century to communicate not only among different races, classes, and genders, but also among their own race. The novel is in fact concerned with the difficulty of living in the Universe, whereas the human race is in quest of a more lasting home. However, it shows that proximity of religions is feasible if each respects the other. Mrs Moore’s representation of ‘love’ and ‘faith’ and her death on her way back by sea to England close to Arabia prove this claim; and for the local Indians, the memory of Mrs Moore lives on in a ‘mythologized’ form, always respecting Islam.
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