A Passage to India
by E.M. Forster
A Passage to India Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary
- After Fielding's tea party, Aziz feels slightly ill.
- He pretends that he's ill for three days and doesn't go to work. He lies in bed, thinking of how nice it would be to take a vacation. A vacation that involves brothel-hopping in Calcutta.
- Of course his boss, Callendar, would never understand. But Fielding, on the other hand …
- Aziz tells his servant to figure out a way to get rid of all the flies in his room.
- Just then, Hamidullah, Syed Mohammed, Mr. Haq, and Mohammed's nephew Rafi show up to see how Aziz is.
- Rafi, a student at Fielding's college, says that Godbole is also ill. They all consider the possibility of Godbole having cholera. This sets off a discussion out how unhygienic Hindus are (somewhat ironic given the filthy condition of Aziz's rooms).
- Bashing Hindus puts Aziz in the mood for Arabic poetry. They all appreciate his recitations.
- Aziz's guests wish him well. They're on their way to a committee of Indians of different religions who are committed to an independent India (including those Indians they were just bashing).
- Before they leave, Dr. Panna Lal, a Hindu, shows up with Ram Chand. Dr. Lal has been sent on Callendar's orders to make sure that Aziz isn't faking. But aware that he might need Aziz to cover for him one day, Lal decides to play along with Aziz.
- Lal explains that Godbole has hemorrhoids, not cholera. (Still, just a little too much info, right?)
- They all demand Rafi apologize for spreading rumors. But Ram Chand is a little too hard on Rafi, and Syed Mohammed and Ram Chand get into an argument over whose kid is worse.
- Just then, Fielding shows up to see how Aziz is doing.
- While most are generally pleased to see an Englishman pay such attention to a fellow Indian, Fielding makes some offhand comments about atheism that sparks their curiosity. The fact that Fielding doesn't pretend to any moral superiority, or any moral standard throws them for a loop.
- Fielding gamely responds that the British may just have to be chucked out. But Hamidullah protests that the Indians are not the kind of people to just chuck another race out. Chand and Haq contend that it's because they're a spiritual people, but Hamidullah says it's more a problem of getting their act together.
- They all take their leave of Aziz and wait outside for their rides to pull up. Fielding's a little disappointed with his visit because he didn't get as much face time with Aziz as he'd hoped.
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