A Passage to India

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A Passage to India


A Passage to India is one of the remarkable and significant novels of E. M Forster who is super genius, realistic, humanist, philosopher and poetic writer in the history of English literature. In the expression of philosophy and poetry Forster utilizes symbolic materials. The novel is remarkable for its all pervading symbolism. The title suggests a link of India. India stands for the whole universe. The parts of the novel Mosque, Cave, and Temple which coincide not only with cool, hot and rainy seasons but also with Muslim, British and Hindu racial communities. The other notable examples of Forster’s symbolic method in the novel are the bee, the wasp, the stone, the sun, the moon light etc. Even some of the characters are also symbolic. Dr. Aziz represents emotionality, while Fielding intellectuality. Professor Godbole is the very symbol of reconciliation. Finally Forster appears as a great symbolist. His passage to India is a work of a great symbolic significance.

Biography Sketch Of E. M. Forster


Edward Morgan Forster was born at 8. Malcombe place Dorset Square. On January 1. 1879. 1 us Fattier a London architect was associated with the reformist and evangelical Chapham Sect. Edward Morgan Forster might have inherited some of his father’s talent. When Edward Morgan Forster was only’ two years old, his father died in 1880. At that time Forster brought up entirely by three women; his great aunt Marianne, his witty maternal grandmother, Louisa Whichelo and his mother, Alice Clara Forster. Forster’s great aunt Marianne left to him a legacy of 8,000 pounds which facilitated his education at Cambridge. This gift made ‘his career as a written possible’. Young Forster attended Tonbridge School which he heated because he suffered from the cruelty of his classmates, and then began to study at king’s college, Cambridge in 1 897 which he becomes under the influence of Sir Frazer. However, Forster visited India in 1921, 1921 and 1945. During World War I Forster was engaged in civilian war work in Alexandria. He returned to London after the war as a journalist. In 1921 he went to India to work as secretary to the Maharaja of Dewas State Senior. Since 1946 Forster has lived as an Honoree. Fellow of king is collage in Cambridge. Numerous honors have come to E. M. Forster including membership in the order of companionship of honors by Queen Elizabeth 11. In 1969 he was awarded the prestigious Order of Merit. This great star died in 1970.

Works of E. M. Forster

After gaining fame as a novelist Forster spent his 46 years publishing mainly short stories and nonfiction. E. M. Forster novels are only in live in numbers. His best novels are:

· Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905),

· A Room With a view (1908),

· The longest Journey (1907).

· Howdars End (1910),


· A Passage to India (1924).

After graduation lie began to write short stories. A collection of short stories are; the celestial Omnibus was published in 1971. His other best short stories Tile Eternal Movement was published in 1928. A binger Harvest is a collection of reprints of reviews and articles (1936). During World War II he broad cast many essays over the BBC. He was written a pageant play (England’s Pleasant Land), a film (Diary For Timothy), Three biographies (Gold Worthy’ Lower Dickinson in 1934. Marianne Thornton in 1956 and Desmond McCarthy in 1952). His collection of Histories are A history and A guide (1922), Pharos and Pharillion (1923) and Notes on Egypt (in the pamphlet, the government of Egypt), a libretto for Benjamin Brittan’s Opera, Billy Budd (with Eric Crozier) and numerous essays including aspect of novel (1927), Two cheers for Democracy and The Hill of Debi are rich source of autobiography. After EM Forster death in 1970 Maurice and Tile life to come both dealing primarily with homosexual subjects were finally published. Finally the most singular fact in Forster’s life as an author is that, having written five world famous successful novels. He produced biographies, essays and histories and miscellaneous writings.

Historical Background of E. M. Forster

The age of F. M. Forster roughly spans the period from the death of Queen Victoria in 1 879 to the year 1 970. E. M. Forster was nit as idle reflection of his age but a keen interpreter of it. He had a vast experience of travel and of tile world. He grouped what was important thought of his age and did grapple with it. New ideas and new inventions. both for good and for ill, have transformed mankind. In fifty years, a whole new world, intellectual and physical, moral and aesthetic, political, social and economical has emerged.

We get one of factors the political life. It shattered the dream of security and progress that had soothed Englishmen since waterloo (1815). The dominant political faith of Victorian period was an imperial nationalism and the alleged duty of an Englishmen was to assume the whiles man’s burden.

The Boer war gave a rude shock of the complacent life and thinking of England. Ii revealed that the era of imperialism was coming to an ends. Arid its coming was heralded by the Boer the war ill South Africa, through which Britain blundered to what was hoped to be as era of peace and good will, other nations promptly made such hope a vain sitting in the wind German demanded her larger “place to tile East”.

France enlarged her huge empire in Africa and indo— China. Even the united States, aroused by an easy triumph in tile Spanish War, started on an imperialistic adventure by taking control of the Philippines, thus an implacable enemy of Japan. However, when the war came in August 1914. the poet greeted it as patriots sure of their cause

‘TS Eliot’s Waste land appeared as I 922. Two years later then tile waste land appeared Forster’s A Passage to India.

The age of Forster is remarkable for the growth of’ democracy, nationalism and socialism. Socialism had great influence on the English life and thought class feeling became dominant. It age also tile age of industrialism. Industrialism had posed a number of problems of society the Guild socialist league was founded in 1915 which avoided all dangers of revolution. Bertrand Russell was one of the members of it. The age of Forster’s the attitude of mind is conditioned by the cumulative effect at all these factors mentioned above. In tile age of Forster’s there fore the scientists were the chief intellectual whereas in the earlier day’s theologians and Philosophers had the popular imagination, science was performing wander. Competition was considered the force which would usher in an era material prosperity. Imperial had its outstanding in Kipling, who with drum and trumpet called upon England to ‘take up the white man’s burden” by dominating all “lesser breeds without the law”.

Another important factor is the social reform. Social reform had its advocates by tile core, not in censorious essays only, following the example Carlyle, but also in fiction, in verse and especially in drama. Tile postmodern dramas dealt with the absurdity of human existence and reveal the “nothingness” or “meaningless” of human efforts. One unexpected literary features of the age was the enthusiasm for stage plays that rolled like tide over tile whole English speaking world.

The twenty century is dominated by novels. the novels involved to an art thrill in this period. It becomes realistic and dealt with social problem with a view in educating the readers. Influenced by Psychology tile novelist dealt with tile inner problems of tile characters rather than their outer problems. Instead of simple, chronological normative technique the ‘stream of consciousness’ or “The use of the interior” monologue” was accepted as a main weapon of the novelists.

However, in the twentieth century tile novel shifted its interest form realistic problems to entertaining subjects. Nearly all successful novelists Joseph Conrad (1957-1924), Thomas Hardy (1882-1942). David Herbert Lawrence (1888-1930), Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), E. M. Forster (1879-1970), William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965). William Gerald Golding (1911—1994). These novelists wrote plays also and most. of them used the stage as an instrument of social reform. ‘These novelists convey symbolic effect with amazing immediacy and actuality and with a strategy powerful simplicity.

Text Introduction

A Passage to India was divided by E. M. ‘Forster into three parts. The first part “Mosque” begins with what is essentially a description of the city of Chandrapore. The physical separations of the city into sections, plus the separation of earth and sky, are indicative of a separation of deeper significance that exists between the Indian and English sectors.

This novel deals with human relationships, and the theme which determines its plot-line is introduced in this section: “Is it possible for the Indian and the Englishman to be friends?” To show both sides of this question, the reader is first introduced to Dr. Aziz, and his friends. Aziz is a Moslem doctor who practices at the government hospital in Chandrapore under the supervision of Major Callendar. Among Aziz’s friends are Hamidullah, an Indian barrister who has lived in England; Nawab Bahadur, an influential landowner and Mahmoud Ali. In the opening chapters these men are shown discussing the English officials who govern under the British Raj in India.

Among the English faction, who also discuss the Anglo-Indian relationship, are Mr. Turton, the Collector; Major Callendear, the English doctor; Mr. McBryde, the police magistrate; and Ronny Heaslop, the city magistrate and the latest official to assume duties, in Chandrapore.

Between these groups or outside them, are Cyril Fielding, the English principal of the government school, whose allegiance belong to neither group; Mrs. Moore, mother of Ronny Heaslop, whe has come to India as chaperone to Miss Adela Quested, Ronny’ intended fiancée: Professor Godbole, a Hindu who is separated from the Moslems by his religion and from the English by his religion and nationality; and the English missionaries, Mr. Graysford and Mr. Sorley, who share none of the arrogance of English officialdom as they attempt to convert the Indians to Christianity.

The story opens with Aziz’s arrival at Hamidullah’s house, where he is to spend a social evening with his friends. Their conversation centers upon the indignities that the Indian must suffer at the hands of the English officials and their wives. Young Ronny Heaslop, whom they dub the “red-nosed boy’ is a particular object of ridicule.

Aziz is summoned to the house of his superior, Major Callendar. He is late in arriving and when he arrives, he finds the major gone Two English women pre-empt his tonga and on The walk back to his house be encounters Mrs. Moore at he mosque. The old lady endears herself to Aziz by her innate understanding of him and of Moslem custom; he calls her an Oriental.

Later, at the English club, Adela Quested expresses her desire to see the “real India” and is advised by a passerby to “try seeing Indians.” To humor her Mr. Turton offers to give a “Bridge Party.” a garden party ostensibly designed to bridge the distance between the English and the Indian, and to give Adela and Mrs. Moore opportunity to meet socially some of the upper class Indians.

At Mrs. Moore’s cottage that night Ronny and mother discuss her encounter with Aziz at the mosque. Runny shows his unmistakable prejudice and Mrs. Moore is appalled at his inhumane attitude. On her way to bed, exhibits a sympathetic response a wasp, one of the least of Indian creatures.

On the outskirts of the town Mr. Sorley, the younger and more liberal of the two English missionaries while willing to accept that there may well be a heaven for mammals, cannot himself to admit the lowly wasp.

The garden party given by the Turtons only serves to show more clearly the division of peoples, as each group keeps to itself. Cyril Fielding, who mingles freely with the Indians, is impressed by the friendliness of Mrs. Moore arid Adela and invites them to tea at his home. They are also invited for a Thursday morning visit—which never materializes to the home of the Bhattacharya’s, a Hindu couple.

That evening in a discussion with Ronny, Mrs. Moore is again applied by her son, and quotes to him from the Bible, reminding him that God is love and expects man to love his neighbor (though she herself has found Him less satisfying in India than ever before Ronny humors her, reminding himself that she is old.

At tea at fielding’s house. Mrs. Moore and Adela visit pleasantly with Aziz and Professor Godbole, enigmatic Hindu associate of Mr. Fielding. The kindness of Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested prompts Aziz to invite them on an outing to the Marabar Caves, which they accept. Ronny Heaslop arrives at Fieldings’s cottage to take his mother and Adela to a game of polo; his discourtesy to Aziz and his arrogant demeanor toward all Indians causes Adela and Ronny to quarrel, and Adela tells Runny she cannot marry him.

Later the young people go for a ride with Nawab Bahadur, and when the automobile is involved in an accident with an unidentified animal on a back road, they are drawn together once more and announce their engagement, Mrs. Moore accepts the news calmly, but when told of the accident she murmurs, “A ghost”

Aziz, pleased with the friendship shown hint by Cyril Fielding shows the English professor a picture of his dead wife, a courtesy equal to inviting Fielding behind the purdah, the highest honor an Indian can give.

The next section, ‘‘Caves” begins with a detailed description of the Marabar Caves, the peculiar hollow caverns within the equally curious Marabar Hills which rise from an Otherwise flat area outside the city of Chandrapore.

It is to these eaves that Aziz has planned an elaborate trip Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested. He has also ‘included Fielding and Godbole in the invitation. Unfortunately, Fielding and Godbole miss the train and Aziz is left in full charge of the expedition, which begins with a train ride and ends with an elephant ride to the immediate vicinity of the Caves. In the first cave Mrs. Moore is terrified by an echo and the press of the crowd and declines to go farther.

Aziz, a guide, and Adela go on alone. Adela pondering her engagement to Ronny, unwisely asks Aziz if he has more than one wife. The excitable little Indian, upset by her queries, dashes into cave to recover his composure. Adela wanders aimlessly into another cave and is supposedly assaulted by someone there. She rushes down the side of the hill, where she meets Nancy Derek; an English companion to a maharani who has brought Fielding to the caves. Nancy returns the overwrought Adela to Chandrapore.

In the meantime Aziz Knowing nothing to what has happened to Adela, entertains his other friends and returns with them by train. At the station he is met by Mr. Haq. the police inspector who arrests him for assaulting Miss Quested.

Fielding alienates himself from the English by siding with Aziz. The English rally around Adela arid press for a quick conviction. Mrs. Moore, now sunk into a state of apathy, fetuses to admit that Aziz may be guilty but also refuses no testify in his behalf in court: Ronny arranges passage for her to England. On the way she dies her name, however, becomes for a time a legend to the natives of Chandrapore.

At the trial, Adela Quested, who has been in a state of shock since the incident at the caves, suddenly finds her mind clear again and exonerates Aziz, Her withdrawal of the charge against Aziz causes her to be ostracized by the English. Fielding reluctantly offers her the use of his cottage while he is absent on official business, and Ronny eventually breaks their engagement. Disillusioned by her experience in India, Adela returns to England: and Fielding persuades Aziz to drop a damage suit against her.

Two years later the setting of the novel shifts to the Hindu state of Mau in a section entitled “Temple’ Following the trial, Fielding had returned to England, married, and was then sent on a toured central India to inspect government schools Godbole has become the Minister of Education at Mau, and though his influence; Aziz has become personal physician to the Rajah of Man.

The opening chapter of this section describes a Hindu ceremony honoring the birth of god Krishna.

Professor Godbole directs the temple choir and, in an ecstasy of religious fervor, dances his joy. While in this almost trance-like state he remembers Mrs. Moore and a wasp, associating them as he contemplates the love of God. The biblical statement “God is Love,” with which Mrs. Moore had exhorted her son, is repeated in the Hindu ceremony, although through an error in its printing it becomes “God is Love”.

Aziz is annoyed when he discovers that fielding is visiting. Mau in line with his official duties, He has become thoroughly disillusioned with the British and ever with Fielding; when he learned that Fielding had married in England, he concluded that the wife was Adela Quested and hence forth refused to read any of Fielding’s letters. Aziz has married again and his children with him Although he does not embrace Hinduism, he is tolerant of their festivals and is finding peace and contentment away from British domination. He has, however, let his practice of medicine degenerate anti1 he is little more than a glorified medicine man.

‘When Aziz meets Fielding again, he learns that Stella Moore, not Adela Quested, is Fielding’s wife. Stella and her brother Ralph have accompanied Fielding to India. Aziz forms a special attachment for Ralph, whose bee stings he treats, and because Ralph shows many of the traits of his mother, Mrs. Moore.

The Hindu festival continues after the celebration of the birth of the god. Fielding and Stella go out in a boat to better observe he ceremony, as do Aziz and Ralph in another boat. In the storm the boats collide with each other and capsize. In the general confusion that follows, the ceremony comes to an end and the English return to the guest house. Aziz has confided to Ralph that the Rajab has died, hut the announcement of his death is suspended until after the festival.

Hinduism affects both Stella and Ralph, but Fielding cannot understand the effect it has on them, though he is intrigued by it. Aziz believes that Ralph, at least, has art Oriental mind, as Moore had.

Although Fielding finds that the school which Professor Godbole was to superintended has been neglected and the building turned into a granary, he does nothing to rectify the situation. The floods, which have kept Fielding in Mau, abate, and he and his party make plans to leave. Before they go, Fielding and Aziz take a final horseback ride together. Good-naturedly, they argue about the Anglo-Indian problem. Aziz excitedly’ declares that India must he united and. the English driven out, Sensing that this is the end of the association, Aziz and Fielding attempt to pledge eternal friendship in spite of their differences, but the path narrows and their horses are forced apart, signifying that such a friendship is not yet possible.

Symbolist Movement

The word symbol is derived from the Greek very symballein, ‘to throw together’, and its noun symbolon, ‘mark emblem, ‘token’, or sign. It is an object, animate of inanimate, which represents or, ‘stands for’ something else. A symbol differs from an allegorical sign in that it has a real existence, whereas an allegorical sign is arbitrary.

In literature we find that a symbol is something that means more than what it is: it has a different, abstract meaning apart from its literal significance. It can be an object, a person, a situation, an action, of any other thing presented in a story.

Various poets of the Romantic Period, including Novalis and Holderlin in Germany and Shelley in England, often used private symbols in poetry, Shelley, for example, repeatedly made symbolic use of objects such as the morning and evening star, a boat moving upstream, winding caves, and the conflict between a serpent and an eagle. William Blake, however, exceeded all his romantic contemporaries in is recourse to a persistent and sustained symbolism –that is a system of symbolic elements-both in his lyric poems and his long prophetic, or epic poems. In the Romantic Period in America, a symbolist procedure was prominent in the novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, the prose of Emerson and Thoreau, and the poetic theory and practice of Poe. These writers derived the mode in large part from the native Puritan tradition of typology.

In the usage of literary historians, however, the expression Symbolist Movement designates specially a group of French writers beginning with Charles Baudelaire (Fleurs du mal, 1857) and including such later poets as Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, Stephane Mallarme, and Paul Valery. Baudelaire depicts the symbolic mode of his writings: the doctrine that there exist inherent and systematic analogies between the human mind and the outer world, and also between the natural and the spiritual worlds.

Symbol or Symbolism:

In the broadest sense a symbol is anything which significant something. in this sense an words anr in symbols. In discussing literature, however the term “symbol” is applied only to a word of phrase that signifies an object or event which in its terms signifies something of suggests a range of reference beyond it. Some symbols are conventional or public. Poets us such conventional symbols; many poets, however also use private or personal symbol

According to Wiehardt:

“A symbol is a person; place or thing can’t represent an abstract idea or concept. That means it is anything that stands for something beyoud”

According to Arther Symons:

“Symbolism is establishing the links which hold together the word the affirmation of an internal, intricate, almost in visible life, which runs through the whole universe”.

So a symbol is anything that stands for something else. It is basically an image which by virtue of recurrent uses assumes its special meaning”.

Reasons behind the use of Symbolism in 20th century

The modern period, in the decades after World War I , was a notable era of symbolism in literature. Many of the major writers of the period exploit symbols, which are in part drawn from religious and esoteric traditions and in party invented. Some of the works of the age are symbolist in their settings, their agents, and their actions, as well as in the objects they refer to.

The 20th century is dominated by novels. The novels to an art form in this period. It becomes realistic and deal with social problem with a view in educating the readers. Influenced by Psychology the novelist dealt with the inner problems of the characters rather than their outer problems. In the 20th century the new techniques of exploration in depth has been introduced. A great consciousness of the symbolic uses to which object and incidents can be put and a greater subtlety in this ways in which patterns of suggestions are built up below the quietly realistic surface can be found in the writings as different from each other as Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Lawrence, and Forster.

Mansfield has learned from the Russian short story writer Anton Chekhov how to use the casual seeming incidents of ordinary life in such a way as to set up haunting overtones of meaning. The dilemma of the human condition is never really solved in their novels or writings. The apparently organized substructure is found in much modern fiction, perhaps most of all in Ulysses by Joyce: it is one the results of the coming together in the novel and the short story, of realism and symbolism of contemporary probability and timeless significance.

T.S Eliot attempted with considerable success to revive a ritual poetic drama in England with his Murder in the Cathedral (1935). His later attempts to combine religious symbolism with the box-office appeal of an entertaining society comedy as in The Cocktail Party (1950) although impressive technical achievements were not wholly successful: The combination of contemporary social chatter with profound religious symbolism produces both an unevenness of tone and disturbing shifts in levels of realism elsewhere in modern drama the conflict between realism and symbolism in acted out in a variety of ways. W.B Yeats described symbolism as ‘the recoil from scientific materialism’ and as ‘a philosophy of art. In the Celtic Twilight he described ‘Celtic Mysticism’ as and endeavors to capture some high, impalpable mood in net obscure images.

Writer who use Symbolism

“Symbolism” refers to the systematic use of symbols in order to represent or allude to something. Many writers, in fact most or all fiction authors of any merit, use symbolism as a rhetorical device central to the meaning of their works. Famous German poet Gorthe and French poet Mallarme’s tutelage their works. Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster and James Joyce, for example used symbolism exesive. The most important symbolist authors include; Charles Baudclare, Poul Verlaino, Arther Rimbud and Gustave Khan etc. English language authors that were influenced by symbolism these authors are Edger Allau Poe, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Clerk Ashton Smith, in England and American poets such as Authur Symons and Ernest Dowson as well as Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas. Major writer of the modern period exploit symbols which are in part drawn from religious and esoteric traditions and in part invented. Some of the works of the age are symbolism in their settings, their action as well as in the object refer to.

Text Discussion

The Marabar Caves stand as the major symbolic episode of the noivel. The history of Indian architecture reveals that the Marabar Hills, near Gaya, in Bihar, contain the most ancient rock-cut cave-temples of India. From inscriptions of later date we also learn that the caves were for centuries occupied by Brahmanical ascetics. On the highest peak of Marabar, there is still a Siva temple wirh a lingam sacred to Siddheswar.

The history of Marabar caves clearly indicates that although they were originally associated with the three non –Vedic monastic schools of thought- Buddhism, Jainism, and the Ajivika doctrine- they are now known by names connected with Brahmanism, and later Hinduism. It seems to me that Forster uses the symbol of the caves in the plural to suggest the various off- shoots of thought, echoing the impersonal Absolute. The Marabar Hills, containing these, “extraordinary caves” symbolize the ancient mythical past and the mystical heritage of India, which has always been great attraction for the foreigner but at the same time a source of great bafflement also.

‘The incredible antiquity of these hills’ (p.123) is terrified by geology. Geologically they are part of the Decan Plateau which is certainly older than the Himalayas and much more so that the Indo Gangetic plain from which it is separated by the Vindhya and the Satpura mountains. In the novel Forster uses the Phrase ‘the high places of Dradidia’ (p.123) for what he calls ‘the Vindhya and Satpura hills, the plateau of Deccan’ in the manuscript. (Robert L. Harrison), the Manuscripts of ‘A Passage to India’ (p.123)

In Hindu mythology, ‘the Vindhya Mountains, at one time, in excess of pride, so enlaged them that they fairly eclipsed the sun and even blocked its path’. (Heinrich Zimmer) Myths and symbols in Indian art and civilizations. Ed. Joseph Campbell, New York 1946, p.-113-1

The pride was humbled by a mighty ascetic, Agastya, the patron saint of South India, who is also associated with the myth of the Descent of the Ganges, probably he might have read about the myth of saint Agastya who is said to have swallowed the entire ocean, depriving the earth of its life- sustaining waters and thus making it imperative for another ascetic Bhagiratha to exercise his yogic powers to release the celestial Ganges from heaven and bring it down to earth. It seems to us that Forster is recounting the myth of Agastya and the Vindhya Mountains in his remark, “if the flesh of the sun; flesh is to be touched anywhere, it is here, among the incredible antiquity of these hills”. (p.132)

Again, in Hindu legend the Vindhya Mountains which separate the North Indian plain from the highlands of the Deccan, from the summit over which the sun rises to begin its daily transit of the firmament. Thus in his initial concept of the caves, Forster is recapitulating not only the physical configuration of India but also the great Aryo- Dravidian synthesis that had taken place as a result of this configuration. These hills have, then, seen not only ‘the upheaval of the Himalayas from a sea’ (p.123) but also the rise of all formal religion and mythology, for they existed even before “the gods took their seats on them”(p.123). they are ‘older than all spirit’ because represent matter, the primordial matrix of Prakriti. The expedition to these hills is symbolically a journey into the timeless past, an effort to fathom the mystery of the primal cause, a quest for ultimate reality, for a timeless absolute in relation to which our time-bound existence acquires meaning and significance. Forster places the reader in possession of the multiple viewpoints as a way of conveying the essence of Indian life. As he recorded in the Hills of Devi, ‘everything that happens to be another’. In the Hindu universe as expounded by Professor Godbole, nothing is lost or insignificant and each layered segment of rality is inextricably woven into the of time. A notable example continuum of Forster is bee and wasp imagery. The cave’s association with eternity is suggested by the recurrent image of the serpent and its coils. The Hindu and other ancient scriptures picture eternity under the old symbol of a snake swallowing its own tail. The circle thus formed represents eternity, without beginning and without end, in itself infinite, but enclosing a portion of finite space. The cycle of time continually revolves like the ‘eternally watchful’ worn in Jainism. According to the Jain, Zimmer tells us, “the present ‘descending’ (avasapini) period was preceded and will be followed by an ‘ascending’ (utasarpani)”. Sarpini suggests the creeping movement of a ‘s serpent’ (sarpin); ava-means ‘down’ and ut-means ‘up’. The serpent cycle of time will go on revolving through these alternating ‘ascending’and ‘descending’ periods however (Henrich Zimmer).

In Hinduism, the circular coils of the snake also represent the wheel of Samsara (the endless round of Transpiration of soul) from which the Indian mystic seeks release (Moksha), meditation on the divine symbol OM. As lord Krishna says in the Bhagavat Gita, “Aum is the one Indestructible (sound), the Immensity”. (Alain Danielou Hindu Polytheism, New York 1964, p.39).

Adela’s scientific rationalism, epitomized by the field-glasses which will be broken in the caves, land her desire to see the ‘real’ India, is subtly undercut in a Passage which sub textually recalls commentaries on the Hindu Vedanta suggesting an iconography in which the world is a serpent and the Brahman is a rope: the world, that is to say, is neither real nor unreal.

As with the bees and the wasps, so other feathers of the Indian landscapes are utilized symbolically by the novelist. The most significant of these may be the echo, which so affects Mrs. Moore and Adela. The echoic effect dose not emerge out nowhere rather is it carefully prepared by the narrative. At the Bridge party, after Mrs. Moore and Adela have attempted to ‘connect’ with the Bhattacharya’s all genuine contact seems to disciple itself against ‘the echoing walls of their civility’ (p.62) just as Mrs. Bhattacharya had ‘echoed’ the response of the husband (p.63). Later that day, Mrs. Moore reviews the situation. Mrs. Moore felt that she had made a mistake in mentioning God, but she found Him increasingly difficult to avoid as she grew older, and she had been constantly in her thought since she entered India, though oddly enough he satisfied her less. She must pronounce her name frequently, as the greatest she knew, yet she had never found it less efficacious. Outside the arch there seemed always an arch beyond the remotest echo a silence. (p.71)

The novel increasingly stresses the function of sound as it moves towards, its climax, and the sounds-Gobles’s song, for instance or the ‘pomper, pomper, pomper’ of the train wheels imply repetition and vagueness of outline. It is this repetition and meaninglessness, which explodes at the caves, whose echo reverberates throughout the rest of the book.

The description of the hills and the caves demonstrates how the text is carrying the characters beyond their own limits to a place where the secret understanding of the heart is no longer adequate. The echo denies all distinctions: pathos, piety and courage-they exist, but are identical, and so is filth. Everything exists, nothing has value. If one had spoken vileness in that place, or quoted lofty poetry, the comment would have been the same ‘ouboum’ (p.160).

After this no re-establishment is possible, and Mrs. Moore dies. Yet after her death she begins to act symbolically in a redemptive capacity. The novel, indeed, pairs her with Godbole in this role, and it is important to note that even within the negative ‘Caves’ section it is Godbole who expresses a wider and more reassuring interpretation of events at the Marabar. Evil is simply the absence of good, and thus is inextricably linked with it. God is still implored to come, as he was in Godbole’s song, and in the ‘Temple’ there is a sense in which God arrives.

What do Marabar Caves mean?

The Marabar caves play a very important part in the novel A Passage to India. It is the visit of Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested to these caves which develop the plot and creates all the tensions in this novel. It is also the philosophical significance of these caves, which helps Forster to build up the atmosphere of the novel.

Mrs. Moore comes with Adela from England to Chandrapore where her son Is an officer. She meets Aziz in a mosque and becomes friendly with him. She wishes to know the heart of India and so Aziz arranges an expedition to the Marabar caves. The caves are absolutely dark and in one of them Adela gets hallucination and she alleges that Aziz had tried to rape her. This creates a storm in Chandrapore and Aziz is arrested for trial.

The caves produce different effects on three of the major characters. Mrs. Moore who sishes “ to become one with universe” hears in the Marabar echo an infinity of Nothing. She grows skeptical about all human efforts, all values of life. She withdraws into herself. She is afflicted by a sense of the emptiness of life, meaninglessness of love and religion. Adela is similarly arrested by the echoes of the caves. Her hallucination is a manifestation of her loveless union with Ronny. The echo is actually arising from the caves of her mind announcing her unconscious fear that a loveless marriage with Ronny is nothing but rape. The Marabar spirit touches Fielding too. He starts doubting his long cherished principles and ideas. The caves and hot weather annihilate the human desire for unity and release, doubt, fear, hatred and chaos. Mrs. Moore, Adela, fielding return to England with the negative answer which the caves symbolize.

The caves represent Indian hearts, which had remained dark to the Englishmen. The caves symbolize the world in which the characters and mankind live, indeed, the whole universe as it is found in the novel, is but one of the Marabar caves. The circular from of a cave is also the arch of the Indian sky. The echo of the cave is the echo of all India.

We can say the whole episode of the Marabar caves is the central point of the novel’s symbolic as well as the dramatic framework. Thus the Maabar caves play an important part in this novel. They lead to incidents, which result in bitter tensions between the British officials and the Indians populace.

E. M. Forster’s use of symbolism in “A passage to India”

Symbols are objects, characters, figures or colors used to represent abstract ideas and or concepts. in A passage to India, Forster’s intent is to represent not only western civilization in collusion with eastern, imperial with colonial the human heart in conflict with the machinery of’ government class, and race but also a mystical highly symbolical view of life, death and human relationship.

Symbolism in theme

A passage to India is hot an ordinary novel. The theme of the novel is the problem of communication and friendship between Aziz and Fielding as to whether 01’ not it is possible to he friends with an Englishman thus Aziz-Fielding relationship becomes the core of’ the story which embodies and ex pounds the theme of fission and fusion separation and union., hatred and love negation and affirmation.

Symbolism is Title

“Passage” is symbolic of link or correction: So by giving the title “A passage to India’s” the author advocates for a link or correction between the Anglo-Indians and the natives of India.

India as a symbol of art and life India in the novel stands for a country but also for a mystifying pattern of art and lift’, for what the English calls a Muddle which they can not comprehend through their arid rationalism and intellectualism. India is symbolic of emotion.

E. M. Forster divides A Passage to India into three parts: Mosque, Cave and Temple, Each parts open with a prefatory chapter meaningful or symbolic parts of the landscape. The parts are also organized by three seasons in India “Mosque” take place during tile coot weather. “Cave” during the hot weather’ and “Temple” during the rainy season. Mosque, Caves and Temple, sections which coincide not only with cool, hot and rainy seasons but also with Muslim, British and Hindu racial communication.

Mosque as a symbol

In Mosque, the first part of the novel, Aziz references to tile architecture of the Mosque as that of’ “call and response’ harmonizes with the general tenor of this part of the novel, where people are meeting each other at various social like the cool weather, people are generally calm & friendly. A Muslim, Aziz sits in the Mosque meditating up on the glory of Islam.

Mrs. Moore enters and is warned by Aziz that she must not come into the lady place without taking off her shoes But Mrs. Moore has already taken off her shoes and she says:

“Yes, I was right, was I not? If I remove my shoes, I am allowed?”

“Of course, hut so few ladies that take the trouble, especially if thinking no one is there to see”.

“That makes no difference, food is here. Aziz feels immensely pleased by Mrs. Moore’s attitude. Mrs. Moore too feels strongly drawn towards the Indian throughout this section. Mrs. Moore and Adela quested show friendly attitude towards the Indian’s or the other.

Mrs. Moore says:

“I like Aziz, Aziz is my real friend

East and west seems to have met and formed a jeep and lasting tie. The Mosque serves a symbol of this tie.

The symbolic significance of the Marabar Caves

“The Marabar Cave” section of the novel contains the climax of tile novel. The Marabar has a great symbolic significance. The caves have been respectively described as (i) bare, dark, echoing, echoing eternity infinity, the Absolute “(ii) the very voice of that union which is tile opposite of divine the voice of evil and negation. ‘ (iii) Womb” and (iv) “the soul of’ India”. The caves serve as both a concrete and an abstract symbol — of darkness versus light good versus evil, ordinary’ versus extra—ordinary, versus divine, conscious versus unconscious. In Marabar Caves are Adela gets a hallucination in which she imagines that Aziz has tried to rape her, This episode creates a wide gulf between the English men and Indian community. The visit of the Marahar Caves has only created hostility and misunderstanding.

The Marabar Caves represent all that is alien about nature. The Caves are older than anything else on the earth and embody nothingness and emptiness a literal in the earth taking place during the hot weather, emotions are inflamed and nobody seems to he able to think coolly and rationally. Just as Mrs. Moore’s hold on life was threatened by her experienced within the cave, the entire community of chandrapore is turned upside down as riots and unrest surround the trial.

The echo as a symbol

The echo begins at the Marabar caves first Mrs. Moore and then Adela hear the echo and are haunted by in the weeks to come. The echo’s sound is “ Ou-boum “- a sound it returns regardless of what noise or utterance is originally made the echoes at Marabar’ (ou-boum) are a symbol of evil & negation. They represent “ Choas and the Old Night” ‘When the earth was without form and void darkness was upon the face of the deep “. The echo desires all distinction. The echo plagues Mi’s. Moore until her death, causing her to abandon her beliefs and cease to care about human relationships because the echo in the cave the spirit. And Adela ultimately escapes the echo — by using its message of impersonality to help her realize Aziz’s innocence.

The echoes also suggest the prevailing Hinduism of the novel. The echo denies all distinctions:

“Pathos, piety, courage — they exist, but are identical and so is filth. Everything exists, nothing value If one had spoken vileness in that place, or quoted poetry. the comment would have been the same “ Ou—boum “.

In Hinduism, the world of the senses is illusory, universal truth lies within tile individual and it cannot be realized until the person— divorce himself from sensory perception. However, there is a great similarity’ between the “ Ou—boum “ that Mrs. Moore heat’s in tile caves and I Hindu Martra of “Om”

The Hindu trinity consists of Bramha, the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer’. After Mrs. Moore’s experience in the caves Shiva seems to dominate Chandrapore.

There is an atmosphere of conflict, animosity, and destructiveness every where. Racial hatred dominates this scene. Even Fielding who sympathizes with India it difficult to be friendly with Aziz.

Prof. Godbole is a worshipper of Lord Krishna who was an incarnation of Vishnu. Godbole missed tile train because lie was busy in his prayers to Krishna. Godbole refuses even to discuss the Marabar caves which only represent evil.

The wasp as a symbol

A notable example of Forster’s symbolic method in the novel is his employment of bee and wasp imagery. Tile wasp appeal’s several times in A Passage to India: usually in conjunction with the Hindu vision of oneness all living things. The wasp is usually depicted as the lowest creature tile Hindus incorporate into their vision unity. Mrs. Moore perceives a wasp a peg as she goes to hang up her cloak in her son’s house. The insect sleeps, oblivious of the baying jackals and the drums which disturb tile night air.

“Pretty dear “ said Mrs. Moore to the wasp. Hid did not wake, but her voice floated out, to swell the nights uneasiness “.

Here wasp is discussed by two missionaries who appeal’ briefly and for the sake that discussion, and finally in the passage which indicates Godbole’s reconciliation during the Mao rites about a wasp requesting or a stone.

“His senses grow thinner, he remembered a wasp seen lie forget where, perhaps or a stone. He loved the wasp equally, lie impelled it likewise, and lie was imitating God. And the stone where the wasp clung-could he……..”

Although Godbole’s thoughts proceed within himself, lie appears as part of a wider symbolic pattern in which lie, Mrs. Moore and the wasp are reunited. Forster’ bestows expression upon the material afforded by Godbole in its completeness of subjectivity. However, the most significant of the bees and wasp may the echo which so affects Mrs. Moore and Adela.

The symbol of the Green bird

Just after Adela and Ronny agree for tile first time, in chapter vii, to break off their engagement, they notice a green bird sitting in the tree above in the tree above them. Neither of them can positively identify the bird, For Adela, the bird symbolizes the unidentifiable quality of all of India. Just when she thinks she can understand any aspect of India, that aspect changes appears or disappears. En their sense, the green bird symbolizes the muddle of’ India. The capacity the bird point to a different tension between the English and Indians. The English are obsessed with knowledge, Literalness and naming and they use these tools as a means ‘of gaining and maintaining power. However, the undeniable green bird suggests the incompatibility of the English occasion with classification and order with the shifting quality of India itself.

Punkahwallah as a symbol

The punkahwallh has his share in purging Adela’s mind of its illusions. He is the first person Adela notice in the court. He has no bearing officially upon the trial. But there is something about him that stirs and stimulates Adela’s mind.

“He had the strength and beauty that sometimes come to flower’ in Indians Low birth”. He is bus pulling the punkah-rope. But something in his aloofness impresses Adela and “rebukes the narrowness of her suffering”. She asks herself by what authority she has “collected this roomful of people together”.

The symbolic significance of “Temple”

When we pass from “Caves to “temple “, we pass from negation to affirmation, from evil to good, from mystery to salvation. ‘Temple’ as a symbol of harmony is related in the novel to the Marabar echo as a symbol of evil. Godbole’s chanting Radha Krishna is an expression of a very genuine religious faith intuitively held. E. M. Forster writes in the novel: “He is, was not, is not, was…… “ Godbole, sings a song:

“ Tukaram, Tukaram

Thou art my father and mother and every body

Tukaram, Tukaram ”

Finally the “Temple” section attempts to wash away the chaos at the “Cave “ section with its pouring rains.

Janmashtami as a symbol of love and Harmony

“ Thou art my father and mother and everybody,

Tukaram, Tukaram……..”

He offers obeisance not to God but to Tukaram the greatest mystic saint of Maharasthra. Tukaram is the exponent of the Bhakticult man’s union with God through love, which is the central issue in Hindu mysticism.

The idea of love as the pathway to God is common to Hinduism and Christianity.

The whole Hindu festival of the Lord’s Birthday (Janmaiashtami) is a symbolic of love and harmony. It is intended to convey and transmit a note of reconciliation to the sorely distracted characters in the novel. It brings to bear upon Aziz, Feuding, Adela, Ronny, Stella, Ralph, a feeling of reconciliation. In the novel it symbolizes the attempts of Aziz, Feilding, Adela, Ronny, Stella, Ralph to get reconciled to each other.

The collision of boats

The Hindu brings together on the one hand Feuding, Mrs. Moor’s children (Ralph and Stella) and Aziz as spectators and on the other Prof. Godbole as a Brahman master of ceremonies when the boats collide with the floating image of the village of therefore occupants are thrown into the water which Godbole is already standing in the water. From this symbolic wetting, Muslim and Hindu go their separate ways. Friendships— have been formed, spiritual affinities perceived, but they part because neither mosque nor cave, nor temple, nor the soil of India will contain them together Forster’s final message is that the different cultures cannot be integrated into a single design and may not find it possible to arrive at an adjustment acceptable to all this message harmonizes with Aziz’s final declaration that no friendship is possible between the Indian’s and English man under the existing conditions.

Nature as a symbol

The symbolic undercurrent is illustrated by the drops of main Rain, Water, Tank , sky are symbols of harmony and quilt relevant to Forster’s own description of the association A passage to India with the three seasons. When the holy procession reaches the Maui tank, a prisoner is released. This event is released. So tile situation of the tank of Mau is highly symbolic.

The sky recurs in chapter after chapter personified to the extent that description of the sky almost became characters in their own right. The sky, as the entity that embraces all things, could he constructed as a symbol of inclusiveness, but it has also been read as a symbol of the vast experience of either British imperial control or the inconceivable vastness India itself In the “Temple “section attempts to wash away the chaos of the cave section with its pouring rains.

Mrs. Moore as a symbolic figure

The figure of Mrs. Moore is very important to the author’s design. She is a symbol, firstly, of the possible adjustment between the two races the English and the Indians. In the first section of the novel, she serves as a bridge between the two races, a channel of communication. She praises Aziz to her son Ronny. She enhances Aziz’s image in our estimation. Secondly, she is a symbol of goodness, piety and charity. She IS not only a devout Christian, hut a benign influence. Thus the personality of Mrs, Moore not only clarifies hut refines the mind of Adela and Aziz.

The symbolic character

Even the characters are symbolic Dr. Aziz stands, for emotions, Fielding and Adela Quested stand for intellect and professor Godbole in the symbol of love and devotion.

The symbolic significance of the strong of the Muslim saint

The whole story of the Muslim saint who sacrificed his body and head for the liberation of prisoners is highly suggestive. He obeyed his mother words: “Free prisoners “. We find Aziz imprisoned by his own prejudice against Fielding. Sometimes the fences that surround us are of our own making Fielding too, in a way Suffers from them. His relation with Stella illustrates it. If they fences are racial, they are external to the external to the inhibitions of mind.

The Match as a symbol

The relation of Godbole to store is paralleled most beautifully by the symbol of the match. With the cave the flame is symbol of at man: the reflection of tile “Flame, therefore, would be the Brahman that dwells in the world the entire universe. And the existence of the individual flame in the wall is actually illusion. However Nirvana means the blowing out the flame of life when the individual soul divorces itself life when the individual south divorces itself finally from consciousness all illusion and merges with absolute.

Critical Analysis of Symbolism in “A Passage to India”

We have noticed that the novel is not only divided up into chapter, but it is also divided into three parts entitled “Mosque”, “Cave” and “Temple”. Forster employs his symbols structurally, so that each section implies a meaning which is revised or modified by what comes after and before. The Mosque section therefore, stands in some sense for the secret understanding of the hearts. It is important to note that even within the negative ‘caves’ it is God bole who expresses a wider and more reassuring interpretation at the Marabar Caves. God is simply the absence of good, and thus is in Godbole’s song, and in the temple there is a sense in which god arrives. In the Hindu ceremonials the violation of preparation and decorum actually intensifies the spirituality of the participants, and even of the English and Muslim outsiders. The Marabar Caves stand as the Major Symbolic episode of the novel. Forster knew he added, ‘that something important happened in the Marabar Caves’ but did not know ‘what it would be’. Similarly, in bringing the novel to its conclusion, he felt that he needed a lump or a Hindu temple. Those remarks can aid the reader to comprehend the imaginative power and function of Forster’s symbols, their essentially unwilled and spontaneous nature. However wasp and bee imagery is the most significant symbol in the novel. At first Mrs. Moore notices a wasp on a coat peg. The insect sleeps, oblivious of the buying jackals and the drums which disturb the night air.

In an act of love like that of the Ancient Mariner in Coleridge is poem, she blesses the insect, accepting its creaturely independence.

“Pretty dear”, said Mrs. Moore to the wasp. He did not wake, but her voice floated out, to swell the night’s uneasiness. (p.55)

REUBEN A. BROWER’S famous article named “THE TWILIGHT OF THE DOUBLE VISION: SYMBOL AND IRONY IN A PASSAGE TO INDIA (1951).There He says– “The most general meaning of the Mosque symbol is perhaps best expressed in the scene between Mrs. Moore and Aziz, the young Indian doctor whom she meets in a mosque near the civil station. In a dialogue which is a blend of minor mistakes and underlying sympathy Mrs. Moore and Aziz reach a surprisingly intimate relationship, Aziz declaring that the Englishwoman is an “Oriental”. Although in a late scene Mrs. Moore calls him her friend, there is something precarious about their intimacy. In spite of his affectionate declarations Aziz quickly forgets that he has promised to take Mrs. Moore and Adela to visit the Marabar Caves. From the scene in the mosque and from similar episodes, the Mosque comes to symbolize the possibility of communication between Britons and Indians, and more generally the possibility of understanding relationships between any two persons”.

He has made another comment in this article on Caves—“That the Caves should symbolize ‘mystery’ as well as ‘muddle’ depends on preparations that are fairly subtle, particularly in relation to Mrs. Moore. From her first appearance in the novel Mrs. Moore has been presented as ready for ‘a mystery’, for some revelation of unity. Shortly after meeting Aziz the mosque, she has a minor mystical vision”.

To support this view here we can added the critical view of ‘ROGER EBBATSON AND CATHERINE NEALE’S comments made on a critical study on A Passage to India.”The Marabar Caves stand as the major symbolic episode of the novel. During the plunge into the caves the temporal momentum of the narrative is suspended, the forward-moving plot dislocated by the potent simultaneity of metaphoric creation. But the novel, however reluctantly, tells a story, and Adela’s painful descent to Miss Derek’s allows that story to resume and develop, achieving its more conventional realist crisis in the trial scene” (p.41).

They also say, “The caves also represent the unconscious in two senses- the repressed elements in the individual life and the survival in modern man of the pre-historic and the pre-human those elements that Freud termed the id. So that ‘ou-boum’ is something before language, a sound emanating from that dark. Distant, prehistoric distance before language and before morality”.

In this context, I cannot resist myself to mention Lowes Dickenson’s inquiry regarding Marabar Caves “To Lowes Dickenson’s inquiry, ‘What did happen in the caves?’, Forster replied, ‘My writing mind is a blur her-i.e. I will to remain a blur’. He went on to refer to his technique at this point as ‘voluntary surrender to infection’. It has been claimed that there is the ‘wound of a fracture that lies hidden in all texts’, and certainly the caves take the form of a fracture in the solid structure of A Passage to India. The ‘inner meaning of the text, in this view, may be nothing other than its external features infolded to create an inner space which is both secret and empty, just as the ‘World Mountain’ of the Hindu temple contains within itself its own opposite (p.160)”.

From the Gau-Mukh, a passage led to the subterranean chambers soot. If this served to suggest the emanation of evil at the Marabar, a sequence in Richard Jefferies the story of My Heart (1883) may lie behind the terrify echo. The Marabar echo is entirely devoid of distinction (p.158-9). The indistinguishable house, in Jefferies ‘mind’ roars a loud contempt, a contempt perhaps reflected in the message of Forster’s caves. He observes:

“ I feel the presence of the scene, of the immense forces of the universe and beyond this eternal now, of the immortal”

The Marabar Caves are essentially an absence in the text a gap or hole which affects the presence of the rest of the book. French novelist Alian Robbe Grillet described the structure of his hove, Le Voyeur:

“Everything is told before ‘the hole’ then again after ‘the hole’ and there is an effort to bring together the two Edges to eliminate these troubles once emptiness………”

Through the marshalling of the large symbols of Mosque, Caves and Temple, and the related deployment of Independent motifs snake, wasp,

Sun and moon –A Passage to India achieves a symbolic order which transcends the warring multiplies of reality in a sustained act of creative ‘faking’.

Own view

If we pay attention to the symbolic implications of the novel, we will find that Forster’s use of symbols is the riches most intricate aspect of his work. The central design of A Passage to India is composed of three major symbols which indicated in the title of the novel: Mosque , Caves and Temples. My major findings of the present study is that the symbolism of Marabar Caves. We are nearly told that Marabar Caves are prehistoric; they predate Islam, Christianity and even that oldest of all religions Hinduism. The Temple section of the novel suggests a position vision that shows symbolically the final triumph of the Hindu Temple over the Pre- Hindu Temple over Pre-Hindu caves Marabar. The ceremony even if primitive and muddle tries to imitate ‘infinite love (which) took upon itself the form of Shree-Krishna and saved the world’. Mrs. Moore is another agent in this imaginative transformation. Her role easily a conceivable matter that may find profound symbols in the novel A Passage to India.

Cover Page Discussion of “A Passage to India”

E. M. Forster’s outstanding work “A Passage to India” especially symbolizes the irreconcilabi