Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Passage to India

Again this book wasn't what I expected. I'd heard of E.M. Forster's A Passage to Indiaand expected it to be a romantic novel (not like a Harlequin) wherein the characters come to acclimate to India. Not at all. Rather it's the story of the divide between the English and the Indians, a divide that will not ever be mended or understood no matter how eager some of the expats were to get to see the "real India."

The story features long time expats who're ossified in their understanding of Indians and are quite racist in their thinking. Then there are some newcomers who dislike how their fellow English look down on the Indians. They do try to get acquainted with Indians like Dr. Aziz and try to experience the culture rather than just importing their own in this new country. Yet despite their best efforts misunderstanding and confusion thwart them. In fact, their impact on Indian may have been more harmful than their compatriots'.

It is rather sad, but probably very true. Forster presents what was no doubt the real situation between these two groups. It's very honest and realistic.

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