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A Passage to India

A Passage to India

by E.M. Forster

Friendship Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

"[…] Kindness, more kindness, and even after that more kindness […] We can't build up India except on what we feel. What is the use of all these reforms, and Conciliations Committees for Mohurram, and shall we cut the tazia short or shall we carry it another route, and Councils of Notables and official parties where the English sneer at our skins?" (1.11.17)

Here, Aziz draws an analogy between his friendship with Fielding and India's relationship with Britain. Just as Fielding approaches Aziz with "kindness" and with affection, Britain should also approach India through affection, rather than the racist baggage of a Turton. For Aziz, personal friendships, not political committees, provides the true model for international relationships.

Quote #5

Kindness, kindness, and more kindness – yes, that [Fielding] might supply, but was that really all that the queer nation needed? Did it not also demand an occasional intoxication of the blood? What had he done to deserve this outburst of confidence, and what hostage could he give in exchange? (1.11.19)

Fielding agrees with Aziz's comments in Quote #4, but with the puzzling caveat that "an occasional intoxication of the blood" is required. Fielding might be referring to an Orientalist stereotype here. The stereotype is that Indians are a sensual, emotional, people, but they're also passive – they never act on their emotions. This stereotype seems supported by the novel, which repeatedly shows Aziz's passive-aggressive treatment of Fielding. Instead of directly confronting Fielding about the rumors of his relationship with Adela, for example, Aziz indirectly needles Fielding with all kinds of insinuations. Similarly, Indians in general never directly act on their desire for national independence, which is why they will, according to Fielding, always remain a colony. Of course, historically, this all changes even at the time that Forster's novel is being written with Gandhi's activism, which showed that passive resistance could also be a stimulating force for change (see "Setting").

Quote #6

But they were friends, brothers. That part was settled, their compact had been subscribed by the photograph, they trusted one another, affection had triumphed for once in a way. (1.11.74)

This quote emphasizes how Aziz and Fielding's friendship is sealed by Aziz's sharing of his wife's photograph: essentially, they're wife-swapping. The other problem with friendship as a model for nation-building is that if the model friendship is Aziz and Fielding's, then women seem to get excluded.

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