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Home » , » Discuss the significance of the title, A Passage to India?
E.M. Forster borrows the title of his famous novel from Walt Whitman's poem, "Passage to India", celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal. Whitman uses the occasion to urge a new synthesis between Western technology and Eastern spiritualism, a 'Passage to more than India', in a mood of exultant optimism.
significance of  title a passage to India

Apparently the title, " A Passage to India' may signify a journey to India but as a matter of fact there is more then that. It is a journey of the mind in search of new ventures, a journey of the soul to understand thoroughly what India really is. Broadly, it is an attempt to make relations at personal, racial, cultural and religious levels. The novel opens with a dialogue between two Indians debating "whether or no it is possible to be friends with an Englishman" (chapter 2) and the main focus of the book is the growing friendship between Aziz and Fielding across the racial divide, the brutal crisis of the Marabar disaster, and the gradual estrangement between them that follows.

Thus, the title suggests a clash of two different cultures and civilizations, and poses a question whether there can be friendly relation between the rulers and the ruled. There are various view points brought together by Forster to find out a satisfactory solution. Principal Fielding representing the best in English culture seeks to display the real image of the English character to the Indians. The English bureaucrats on the other hand, look upon the Indians from the angle of superiority. Their understanding of the Indians is based on arrogance, hatred and prejudiced opinions.

Mrs. Moore and Miss Adela Quested, the new comers to India make fresh attempt to explore the inner recesses of the Indian's mind. Mrs. Moore is quite sincere to make "secret understanding of the heart" with the Indians.

However, in the last chapter of the book Forster shows that two races can meet only on an equal footing. Fielding and Aziz cannot became friends as long as the English are the rulers.

The last journey of Mrs. Moore is very significant. She cannot leave the Indian ocean because it was she who had tried to know India and the Indians. She was the only lady who succeeded in her objective. She was buried in the Indian Ocean but it seems that her spirit travelled back to India to exercise its subtle influence over Aziz, Fielding and the common man.

So to conclude we can say that the passage to India ended in India. Thus the title A Passage to India seems to be the most appropriate title that Forster could have chosen.

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