Colonialism in A Passage to India E. M. Forster

Colonialism in A Passage to India E. M. Forster
English: Map of the British Indian Empire from Imperial Gazetteer of India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RONNY AND COLONIALISM

The way to control of other people’s land and goods is colonialism, colonialism is not only the expansion of modern European trend, but it was flourished by the Roman Empire from Armenia to the Atlantic in the second century. Genghis Khan conquered the Middle East including China. In the fifteenth century, southern India came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and known as a minor Islamic civilization.

During and after colonialism, India has been the state of different nations having different religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and several other religions but there are two main religions in India: Islam and Hinduism and these two nations have been hostile to each other in every field of life. They have different beliefs and interests. Approaching the month of Mohurram, the Muslims cut the branches off of a certain tree of peepul. The tree of peepul is considered as a sacred tree in Hinduism. It was considered a religious riot at which they fought with each other during colonialism.

India has been the state of different nations having different religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and several other religions. But there are two main religions in India: Islam and Hinduism. These two nations have been hostile to each other in every field of life. They have different beliefs and interests. Approaching the month of Mohurram, the Muslims cut the branches off of a certain tree of peepul. The tree of peepul is considered as a sacred tree in Hinduism. It was considered a religious riot at which they fought with each other in colonialism.

Forster sketches this scene in this way,

But Ronny had not disliked his day, for it proved that the British colonialism was necessary to India, there would certainly have been bloodshed without them. His voice grew complacent again; he was here not to be pleasant but to keep the peace (1924: 110).

The very first line of this extract is based on double negative structure. When such type of structure is used, the speaker’s main aim is to emphasize the point. These lines were uttered by Ronny to Miss Quested after the occurrence of accident. Ronny was so much interested in having the authorities like a ‘pukka sahib’. According to Ronny, the India was controlled by the Britain to keep peace not to please its inhabitants. Ronny was fully in the favor of the British Raj. It is an ironical statement; actually they came in India for the expansion of their trade. Apparently they were admirers of the Indians, but inwardly they were the followers of the racial and class differences.

In chapter 9, Forster further depicts India as a British colony,

Is it fair an Englishman should occupy one when Indians are available?… England holds India for her good (1924: 124).

Miss Quested was much interested to meet the Indians, it was her intimately wish. Mr. Turton held a Bridge Party to meet the keen desire of Miss Quested. At this party, all the Indians were invited. But Dr. Aziz did not take part in that very party. He spent the day at his home in the reminiscent of his wife’s anniversary. He also fell ill; his friends visited him to seek his dispositions. There was a talk run among the companions.

Dr. Aziz asked Mr. Fielding about the British raj (colonialism) why you have found a single patch like India to rule harshly. Fielding told him that he was not personally intended to rule in India. But Fielding needed a job for his survival. There is also racial problem in these lines. Dr. Aziz asks Fielding why the Englishman consider their right to rule over the Indians. Indians were considered very inferior class and race in social, economical and political perspective. Fielding responded to Dr. Aziz that England controlled and ruled India for her own betterment because India had been famous for its treasures in all over the world.

RONNY’S COLONIALISM DISCOURSE

Actually discourse is used as a synonym of conversation, or a serious discussion or examination of a learned topic. Colonial discourse is basically the discussion or conversation which held in the political colonies. Loomba quotes Frantz Fanon’s view of colonial discourse, it is an expansion of the literary and communicative efforts in colonial perspective (1998:46). But Focault declares that colonial discourse presents the power and social structure in the daily talks (Loomba 1998:50). The Britain used several discourses in their daily lives to keep up their ruling status.

There is a talk between Ronny and Mrs. Moore in the fifth chapter,

We are not out here for the purpose of behaving pleasantly! What do you mean?” What I say, we’re the peace. Them’s my sentiments. India is not a drawing-room. Your sentiments are those of a god,’ she said quietly… ‘India likes gods’. ‘And Englishman like posing as gods’ (Forster 1924: 69).

Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested were not satisfied with the Englishmen as they were severely treating the Indians. They condemned Ronny on his harshly behavior towards the Indians. He said that the Britain was trained to adopt the severe attitude. If the ruling class takes the leniency towards the subjects, the subjects will exploit the rules and regulations. According to the English, they are superior to the other nations.

The usage of first person pronoun in plural form ‘We’, shows the subjectivity and the sublimity of the English race. Ronny says that India is a place where the people like the gods and those gods can merely be made and introduced by the Englishmen. If the founders and producers of gods are the Englishmen, the Indians will have to follow their motives and interests. Ronny considers his nation very religious and virtuous.

‘India is not a drawing room’ presents the image of mistreatment and exploitation in the Indian public. The drawing-room is the place to present the peace and calm. According to Ronny himself, it was Britishers’s worthiness to expose their own rest on the behalf of the Indian’s peace. ‘India likes gods’; here India is used as a synecdoche to represent the society. On the other hand the word ‘Englishmen’ is used instead of England. It is a binary structure. According to Foucault, power spreads from top to toe. Power has its own hierarchy for its distribution (Loomba 1998:50).

By: M. Zaman Ali

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