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A Passage to India is a criticism of the British imperialistic rule in India. E.M. Forster is one of those writers who challenge the complacent imperial assumption of the British ruling class that it rules India for India's own good. Instead, Forster sees the British rule as a corrupting influence on both the rulers and the ruled. While focussing on the evil of imperialism, Forster takes recourse to humour, irony and satire which lie scattered all through the book.
Forster make use of irony and satire in A Passage to India

The use of humour tinged with a mild satire may be noted in the very first chapter when the omniscient narrator describes Chandrapore which seems to be divided into two towns: the English Civil Station and the native section, the one having nothing to do with the other. The Civil Station "shares nothing with the city except the overarching sky". Again the portrayal of Prof. Godbole is an excellent example of Forster's gift of humour. In a vision Godbole sees a wasp with a human figure-that of Mrs. Moore-and loves both equally, though being a human being, he cannot love a lifeless stone. The description of the agony and discomfiture of the Collector pf Chandrapore, Mr. Turton, on coming to know of the incident at the caves is in a satirical vein which has a touch of Forester's pleasant humour. There is a mild satirical tone in the outburst of Mr. Turton, "New-comers set our tradition aside, and in an instant what you see happens; the work of years is undone".

However, Forster's tone of satire tinged with irony becomes a bit pungent while he portrays the character of Ronny Heaslop, the magistrate of Chandrapore city. During his conversation with his mother, Mrs. Moore, Ronny says, "we are out here to do justice and keep peace", and again he say, " we're not pleasant in India, and we don't intend to be pleasant. We've something more important to do".

The 'Bridge Party' is a brilliant example of Forster's satire on the English bureaucrats in India. He sensibly and boldly attacks the "exalted and self-sublimated" cadre of British officials, the so-called I.C.S. officers. He makes the 'Bridge Party' at the European club appear very funny and ridiculous. Thus, the 'Bridge Party' is completely a failure.

Further the trial of Dr. Aziz is the finest and sharpest of satirical hits which Forster has aimed at the self-cultivated superiority of the British officials. The English with a sense of pride and self-assurance occupy the platform in the court. But they are compelled to go get down when the defence lawyer objects to their audacity for occupying the sits in the platform. This trial episode provides a brilliant example of the climax of Forester's satirical humour.

Thus, we can conclude saying that through a successful use of irony, satire and humour, Forester's in A Passage to India questions the right of the British to be in India.


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