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A Passage to India

A Passage to India

by E.M. Forster

Justice and Judgment Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

"[…] When you think of crime, you think of English crime. The psychology here is different […] Read any of the Mutiny records; which, rather than the Bhagavad Gita, should be your Bible in this country. Though I'm not sure that the one and the other are not closely connected […] (2.18.25)

McBryde again rambles on about Indian criminal psychology. He's referring to records of the Mutiny of 1857, an important event that many regard as the first move toward Indian independence (for more on this, check out our "Setting"). But to the British this event signifies only the Indians' natural tendency to violence and disorder, as McBryde's association of the Mutiny with the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text, suggests.

Quote #5

[…] the Government of India itself also watches – and behind it is that caucus of cranks and cravens, the British Parliament. [Turton] had constantly to remind himself that, in the eyes of the law, Aziz was not yet guilty, and the effort fatigued him. (2.20.20)

Here, Turton struggles with the fact that as an Englishman, he does have to respect the finer aspects of the English criminal justice tradition, including the notion that one is innocent until proven guilty. For in the end, Turton is not the god of Chandrapore: he answers to the British Parliament back in London.

Quote #6

In the old days an Englishwoman would not have had to appear, nor would any Indian have dared to discuss her private affairs. She would have made her deposition, and judgment would have followed. (2.20.10)

This is a reference to the Rowlatt Acts, which took away key civil rights from Indians and was widely regarded as a step back for Indian independence. One of the acts stipulated that Indians did not have the right to challenge their witnesses in court; witness depositions were alone deemed sufficient. The statement is also a veiled reference to the Amritsar massacre, which was initiated in response to an alleged attack on a white woman (see "Setting" for more on the Amritsar massacre).

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