A Passage To India: Part 1 Chapter 2 - Summary & Analysis

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      Dr. Aziz had come to dine with Mr. Hamidullah who was engaged in a conversation with Mahmoud Ali. Mahmoud felt that there could be no friendship between the Englishmen and the Indians. Hamidullah, however, felt that the Englishmen were rotted as bad as they were taken to be. He had been to England and could recall the fine treatment he had got from Mr. and Mrs. Bannister. Hamidullah thought that friendship between the Englishmen and the Indians was possible only in England and not in India. Aziz joined them in the conversation and suggested that discussion on friendship between the Indians and the Englishmen was futile, as good Englishmen in India were exceptions. To this argument Hamidullah conceded. After this they all agreed that the Englishmen who came to India for the first time were kind and gentle but within a year or two they turned into rigid and haughty bureaucrats.

      Mahmoud Ali went out on an urgent errand. On his departure, Hamidullah took Aziz inside the house to see his Begum who was also Aziz's relation. She enquired about his domestic affairs. Aziz told her that he had married twice and after the death of his wives his three children were living with their grandmother. To avoid further questions he told her that he might marry sometime in the future.

      While dining with Hamidullah, Aziz received summons from the Civil Surgeon, Major Callendar to meet him immediately. Aziz resented the call but on the advice of Hamidullah he decided to go at once. At the Major's bungalow, Aziz was humiliated to find that Major Callendar had left for the club without leaving any message for him. He felt further insulted when the servant told him that Callendar had muttered "Damn Aziz" before leaving for the club. Aziz was more humiliated when Mrs. Callendar and her friend Mrs. Lesley drove away in his tonga without taking his permission.

      After his humiliation, Aziz went to the mosque to seek solace. At the mosque he was lost in a reverie but his reverie was disturbed by an English Lady. He shouted at her to take off her shoes and not to defile the holy place. He apologized to her when he learned that she had already done so. He was pleased to find that this Lady was different from some of the other English ladies. He became friendly with her. He discovered that this lady, Mrs. Moore had just arrived from England. She was the mother of the city Magistrate, Ronny Heaslop. Very soon the two became good friends. They were surprised to find that they had many things in common. Mrs. Moore had married twice and was the mother of three children. She had lost both her husbands and was a widow now. Aziz too, had married twice, lost both his wives and was a widower now with three children. Aziz felt better after having come across such a gentle and kind soul. He escorted Mrs. Moore to the club.

Critical Analysis

      The real story of the novel commences from this chapter. The main characters of the novel have been introduced — Aziz and Mrs. Moore, around whom the whole story revolves. The suspicion and hatred forming the mainspring of the Anglo-Indian relationship have been unfolded. A Passage to India is an attempt at understanding the real India.

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