A Passage to India
Race Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
"They all become exactly the same, not worse, not better. I give any Englishman two years, be he Turton or Burton. It is only the difference of a letter. And I give any Englishwoman six months." (1.2.16)
Hamidullah expresses here the Indian's experience with the English colonial administrators and their wives. As a Muslim lawyer educated in England, he notices a marked difference in his treatment. In England, he was treated with courtesy, as a guest. In India, on the other hand, the colonial situation encourages a more racist attitude where Indians are treated as an inferior race. Englishwomen fare worse than Englishmen because their interactions with Indians are never professional, only private, as when they interact with their servants.
"It's the educated native's latest dodge … But whether the native swaggers or cringes, there's always something behind every remark he makes, always something, and if nothing else he's trying to increase his izzat—in plain Anglo-Saxon, to score. Of course there are exceptions." (1.3.86)
Ronny uses some clichés he's picked up from his superiors to explain the "native" – or the Indian – to his mother. "Educated natives" such as Aziz and Hamidullah are, according to Ronny, only seeking personal gain. The idea that as educated men, Indians such as Aziz and Hamidullah may have valid goals such as civil rights or an independent nation is unthinkable.
"You're superior to them, anyway. Don't forget that. You're superior to everyone in India except one or two of the Ranis, and they're on an equality." (1.5.21)
Mrs. Turton's comment here exemplifies the extreme racism typical of Englishwomen in the novel. Here she attempts to convince the progressive-minded Adela that they are superior to Indians in every way, including the heads of state.