Heroic Features of Dr. Aziz in A Passage To India

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      Some of the critics do not recognize Aziz as the hero of the novel. They say the novel is without a hero. Aziz is not the only person who dominates all the scenes from the beginning to the end. Fielding, equally shares with him, the main role in the plot and interest of the novel. Nirad C. Chaudhry devastatingly denounces Aziz "Aziz would not have been allowed to cross my threshold, not to speak of being taken as an equal. Men of his type are a pest even in free India." We may not agree with Nirad in his estimate of Aziz but it cannot be denied that there is some truth in whatever he says.

      Aziz was a religious fanatic and did not like Akbar, the liberal Muslim. On the other hand, he liked Alamgir and Babar. He was sexually pervert. He dreamt of going to Calcutta to enjoy the company and bed with the dancing girls there. Vulgarly, he described the breasts of Adela as flat. He doubted the integrity of his colleague Dr. Panna Lal and also of his best friend Fielding who stood by him in thick and thin. He suspected Fielding of having illicit relations with Adela Quested. Fielding was compelled to call him a little rotter. Aziz observed no moral scruples and told minor lies in the Marabar Caves, when Adela was found missing. He went to the European Guest House in Mau and secretly read the private letters of Fielding. All this showed that Aziz did not possess a well-balanced personality. He was whimsical, sentimental and even vulgar.

      But, this was only one side of his character. His more attractive features cannot be ignored. He had intense desire for independence. He was a Muslim, but he considered himself an Indian first. He was a staunch nationalist. He resented the insult heaped on him by Ronny in the court. He knew that Major Callendar was not a good doctor as he was called a killer with the knife, and was his boss simply because he belonged to the white race. He criticized his boss freely before Mrs. Moore. He received summons from Callendar when he was at the dinner table. His host Hamidullah advised him to clean his teeth before going, but he protested. He retorted that the English knew that Indians ate pan and it the English would not see Indians with pan in their mouth, he would rather prefer not to go to meet Callendar.

      He was very friendly, gentle and sympathetic towards those who were not haughty. He opened his heart before Mrs. Moore because he believed her to be different from the other English ladies. He formed friendship with Fielding because, he too, was different from the other Englishmen.

      He tolerated the superiority complex from which every Englishman suffered. He had to pocket every insult because he belonged to the defeated race.

      In the end, he pardoned Miss Adela Quested and wrote her a fine letter of appreciation and apology.

      Aziz's attitude towards Mrs. Moore was based on respect, love and gratitude, amounting almost to worship. He cherished her memory like the memory of his mother. His friends knew of his deep attachment to that lady, that is why they did not disclose the news of her death to him at the time of his own release, after the trial.

      Aziz was lovable, affable and hospitable. As a Muslim, he has been a type but as an individual, he was human with all his strengths and weaknesses. We agree with Trilling when he says "for good or for bad he is human."

      He plays a main role in the plot. It was because of him that the expedition went to the Marabar Caves. It was because of his physical attraction that Adela Quested felt drawn towards that handsome little oriental and asked him about the number of his wives. It was because of him that the climax of the story depicted the Englishman and the Indians as two racial entities pitched against each other. It was because of him that the main interest of the novel is sustained. Like his name, he is present and dominates the whole story from beginning to end.

      Taking into consideration all that have been discussed so far, we can conclude that the novel is not without a hero and that Aziz can be safely, called the hero of the novel. F.M. Forster also intended him to be the hero as he depicted him with all sympathy and impartiality. Dr. Aziz belonged to the slave race and as such he was subject to many limitations. Inspite of his limitations, he was bold, courageous, and a strict nationalist.


Is Aziz the hero of the novel? Discuss.

Discuss: A Passage to India is a novel without hero or Dr. Aziz the hero of the novel"

Elucidate the characteristics of Dr. Aziz as the hero of the novel.

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