• sukhobok

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

A fascinating look into British India from a British perspective, but lacking insight into the caste system.

This was my first time reading a novel by E. M. Forster. Having finished To the Lighthouse recently, I was curious how this fellow Bloomsbury writer would compare to Virginia Woolf, whom I grealty enjoyed reading.

I would recommend A Passage to India without any reservations. E. M. Forster's writing, particularly his visual descriptions of India, is second to none. Learning about the dynamics between the British, Hindu Indians, and Muslims Indians during the time of British India was eye opening and enlightening. The characters, including Dr. Aziz, are memorable.

The one caveat in my almost universal praise of this novel is that E. M. Forster failed to include the plight of the lower castes in the rigid caste system. Perhaps, he thought it was not his place to comment on the caste system as an outsider, especially when the British had a very classist society of their own, but knowing what we know today, it is difficult to sympathize with the Brahmans (priests) about how India is being oppressed by the British when the "untouchables" (Dalits) in Indian society were considered to be so subhuman that anyone who even looked at them was at risk of being "polluted."

Notwithstanding all that, A Passage to India is a great piece of literature that all should be a staple in the American literary diet.