Dr. Aziz: Character Analysis - in A Passage To India

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      Dr. Aziz is the hero of the novel A Passage To India as all the important events in the novel revolve around him. E.M. Forster has been praised by almost all the critics for the creation of a rounded character that is living and human. He has successfully portrayed a character of a different race with impartiality and sympathy.

A Fanatic Muslim

      Dr. Aziz, even though he was educated in England, was a staunch believer in the supremacy of Islam. He was very proud of his Islamic heritage. He liked Alamgir and Babar and disliked Akbar, whom he did not consider a true Muslim He was at his best when he talked of Moghul Emperors and the splendor associated with them. He regarded Hindus as lazy, unpunctual and dirty. He wanted his Afghan brothers to come down from Afghanistan to occupy India and rule over it once again and thus revive the glory of Islam. He visited the mosque whenever he was frustrated.

A Nationalist Indian

      Whereas Aziz was proud of being a Muslim, he was also proud of being an Indian. Rather, the march of events had turned him into a nationalist. He denounced the contemptuous attitude of his boss, Major Callendar. He had to get down from the tonga at a distance from Callendar's bungalow because to ride upto the bungalow of a Englishman was cousidered to be highly objectionable. Mrs. Callendar had arrogantly ignored his greetings and without showing the courtesy of asking his leave she had driven away in the tonga brought by Aziz. Ronny was always disrespectful to him. Accusation of criminal assault by Miss Adela Quested and the subsequent trial scene where every Englishman except Fielding showed an unquenchable thirst for revenge, converted him into a staunch nationalist.

      Aziz had seen through the English game of divide and rule. He declared that India would emerge as a nation in spite of the English policy of divide and rule. He declared to Fielding that if the present generation failed in its attempt to drive out the Britishers, the next generation would surely succeed. He could not forget the humiliation he suffered at the hands of the Britishers. He told Fielding that there could be no friendship between them as long as the Britishers were the masters of Hindustan. Grandsen remarks "Aziz is India's living faults and virtues, and Godbole, the old Hindu teacher, is her ancient wisdom."

His Family

      Aziz was very fond of talking about the Afghan blood running in his veins. He came of a prosperous Muslim family and was sent to England for higher studies. He did not love his wife at the time of their marriage but gradually he became strongly attached to her. He even thought of suicide after the death of his wife for he felt that he could not live without her. He did not attend the party launched by the Collector as that was the death anniversary of his wife. He spent the day in the memory of his wife and sent a telegram to his children. He loved his children and sent them a great part of his salary every month. When he joined the Hindu State of Mau as a medical officer, he took his children to live with him and made a visit to the shrine with them. At the time of his arrest he only thought about his children.

Emotional and Sentimental

      Aziz was a highly emotional and sentimental person. As a Muslim, he felt strongly bound to the society in which he lived and the future in which his children would live. He allowed his emotions to influence his beliefs and he presumed that the rumor about Fielding and Adela was true. He did not care to verify, and rather easily believed the rumor that Fielding and Adela had gone to England to marry and that Fielding was inclined to marry Adela for the sake of her money.

Physical Appearance

      Adela considered Aziz a handsome little oriental, who could attract the women of his race as well as of the white race. Miss Adela felt that Dr. Aziz was a more handsome personality than either Ronny or herself.

An Able Doctor

      Dr. Aziz was an able doctor. Major Callendar was also conscious of this fact. He took Aziz's assistance in every major operation. Mr. Das, the trial magistrate, consulted him for the treatment of shingles. After his trial, Aziz was appointed the Chief of the Medical Service of the state of Mau. He was the personal attendant of the Raja of Mau. Professor Godbole had got him the service in the state, being impressed by his medical skill.


      Aziz was prone to act on impulse. At Fielding's tea party, he condemned the Bhattachary for breaking their promise and invited Miss Adela Quested and Mrs. Moore to a picnic. But, very soon he realized that he had made a mistake in inviting them. He even forgot about the invitation, but on hearing about complaints of his forget-fullness, he started arranging for the picnic at once. He had a queer desire of making an enemy of Dr. Panna Lal and he did make an enemy of him. When he found Mrs. Moore sympathetic, he poured out his heart to her without any hesitation.

A Good Friend

      Aziz believed in friendship. He was loyal to all his Muslim friends. Hamidullah and Mahmoud Ali helped him greatly during his trial. He sought friendship even with persons of a different race. He formed friendship with Fielding. He also befriended Adela Quested and Lady Moore. He was kind and affectionate towards his friends. He visited the house of his friends and took part in lively discussions about the possibility of friendship between Indians and Englishmen. He kept up his friendship with Fielding even though friendship with foreigners had cost him dearly.

His Oriental Hospitality

      He was the best example of oriental hospitality. He made elaborate arrangements for the picnic at the Marabar Caves. He spent a lot of money so that his guests would not feel any kind of inconvenience. He invited Miss Adela, Lady Moore, Fielding and Prof. Godbole and got vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals cooked separately, considering the different tastes of his guests.

An Able Organiser

      He showed remarkable sense of organization. When he was making arrangements for the picnic at the Marabar Caves, he personally attended to every single detail. He spent the whole night at the station so that he would not miss the train. He borrowed every required item from his Muslim friends. On reaching the Marabar Caves, the guests were served with refreshments, before entering the caves. Adela Quested and Mrs. Moore were surprised at the efficient management of Dr. Aziz.

A Highly Sensitive Soul

      He possessed a highly sensitive soul. He was easily offended. He found meaning in every remark even though it may not have been the right one. He hated had manners and snobbery. He spoke ill of Major Callendar for bad manners and snobbery. He felt bad about the foolishness of the personal questions put to him by Adela at the caves. He was
highly amazed when Adela asked him whether he had more than one wife. He took it as an insult to him-self as well as to his community.

      Aziz loved poetry and recited copiously from the works of the Persian poets. He himself wrote, verses on bravery and the decline of Islam.

His Love for Mrs. Moore

      Aziz had great admiration for Mrs. Moore. He was greatly charmed by her sincerity. Mr. Fielding was surprised at the influence she exercised over him till the end despite the fact that she did nothing to save him. His faith in her stood unshaken. He gave up his claim to the compensation which he had demanded from Adela when he was convinced that Mrs. Moore would have wished it so. He grew affectionate and affable towards Ralph and Stella, (Mrs. Moore's children) when he remembered her. He admired that lady because he sensed that she had a real love for the Indians and was an oriental in her likes and dislikes, temperament, thinking and hopes.

His Prophecies

      He predicted that in spite of the British policy of divide and rule, India would emerge as a nation He also prophesied that India would become free if the Second World War occurred. His second prophecy proved to be true in 1947. His first, however, was only partially right as India emerged as a nation but after being divided into two.

Sexual Pervert

      He criticized Adela for not being beautiful. He treated her as he would treat a man. He regarded her angular body and the freckles on her face as great defects of her body. He thought of the dancing girls of Calcutta and wanted to go there after taking leave from Major Caliendar. He had contact with a person who was running a brothel at Calcutta. He felt that a person was good as long as he was not caught.

His Diplomatic Lies

      Aziz pretended to be ill when actually he was not. He told some lies to Fielding when he asked him certain questions regarding Miss Adela Quested at die Marabar Caves. To save the honor of Miss Adela Quested, he gave inaccurate replies and tried to hide the fact that she had asked him about the number of his wives. He told Miss Adela Quested that his wife was living and that she could come to see her although, the fact was that he was a widower and had married twice and lost his both wives.


      He demanded compensation of twenty thousand rupees from Miss Adela Quested as damages for falsely accusing him of criminal assault. He did not appreciate that it was her bold statement that had saved him. One constant request from Fielding, he later pardoned her, but got it, in writing from her that she wished that he had assaulted her because that was her only hope of associating with a man. He wanted to avenge himself on every Englishman. He beated Ralph roughly and relented only when the latter cried out that his hands were unkind. He averred to drive every Englishman into the sea.

Not Neat and Clean

      Aziz accused Hindus of being unclean. He inferred that the Bhattacharya's did not send their carriage for Miss Adela Quested and. Mrs. Moore because the former's house must have been dirty. Like other Muslims, he too, felt that the Hindus were the cause of several infections. But he forgot that his own house was dirty. He realized the fact only when Fielding came his house to enquire about his health.

His Contradictions

      It was the contradictions in Aziz's character that made him lovable. He sought friendship with Fielding, offered his own collar-stud to him, showed his wife's photograph and yet rejected him for an imagined betrayal. Sometimes, he was full of the milk of human kindness and the next moment he was hissing like poisonous snake. Though a doctor by profession, he was lazy and unclean. He was humble and obedient towards his British superiors and wanted to be liked by them although he looked upon them with disdain.

      Because of these contradictory traits in his character, Aziz turned out to be a credible human being. Trilling says of him, "for good or for bad, he is human".


      G. M. White describes Aziz as the "most human, most believable of all Forster's character." He had many of the weaknesses of human beings but there were certain qualities in him which endeared him to his fellow beings. If he was a debauch, he was also a loving husband and father. If he had romantic notions about the revival of Moghul glory, he had enough sense to realize his mistake and become a nationalist. In short, he is an endearing character


What is the role of Dr. Aziz in the novel, A Passage to India? How the various events show up the predominant trait of his character?

Give a character sketch of Dr. Aziz with illustrations from the text.

What are the leading traits in Dr. Aziz's character? Give illustrations from the text.

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