A Passage To India: Part 1 Chapter 9 - Summary & Analysis

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      Aziz had fallen sick and was confined to bed for three days. In his delirium he had been dreaming of several people of the missionaries, Fielding and the dancing girls of Calcutta. He wished someone to send him a wire from Calcutta which he could show to Callendar to obtain leave and go to Calcutta. He saw no harm in deceiving his boss as long as he was not caught.

      Some of Aziz's friends had come to see him. Rafiq, the Engineers nephew, told him that Godbole, who had also attended the party at Fielding's had fallen ill. Aziz was sorry to learn that Godhole was suffering from diarrhea. Aziz thought that Godbole was in the early stage of cholera and might die very soon.

      Syed Mohammed who was from Punjab denounced the habits of the Hindus. The others also agreed with him that the infection spread from the Hindus. Aziz recited some Persian verses which were listened to with rapt attention. But only Hamidullah, who was a well-read man, could understand it.

      Dr. Panna Lal arrived just when the others were leaving. Dr. Panna Lal saw that Aziz was only pretending to be ill but he did not tell anyone about it, knowing that if Callendar heard of it, he would form a wrong impression of the natives. He, therefore, advised Aziz to take rest for three days. To divert his attention, Panna Lal was asked about Professor Godbole. Panna Lal told them that Godbole was suffering from hemorrhoids and expressed his resentment at the false news spread by ignorant people. Hamid chided Rafiq and advised him to apologize for spreading false news.

      When Fielding came to meet Aziz, the latter was quite ashamed at the dirty look of his room. Fielding, in a friendly way, asked Aziz whether he was really ill or shamming. Rafiq was terrified at the arrival of his Principal and was anxious to leave soon. Hamidullah offered Fielding a cigarette and the conversation turned to the world and God. Fielding averred that he did not believe in God and that most of the educated people in England were Atheists. The natives who had been surprised by Fielding's talk asked him whether Englishmen were justified in holding India.

      The talk had then turned to politics. Fielding's reply was not direct. He merely remarked that he had come to India for a job and he was happy there. Those Englishmen who were not happy should be thrown out. Suddenly Fielding had pointed out that they should not have been discussing and making noise by the side of the patient and all of them should have gone out All of them had agreed and departed. Fielding was not happy with the cold reception given by Aziz, for evidently he had come to improve his friendship with Aziz.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter throws light on some important traits of the character of Aziz and Fielding. Somewhere he was a hypocrite and a fraud. He had no qualms about deceiving others. He was given to carnal pleasures. Fielding, however, was a good man, a good Englishman. He was open hearted and full of sympathy. He was not happy with Aziz for the cold treatment meted out to him but neither was he angry.

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