The Krishna Festival in A Passage To India

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      The concluding section of the novel A Passage to India is captioned 'Temple' and it is significant that the novel opens with a section which has the title 'Mosque'. Both the captions bring associations of religion.

      There is a long description of the Hindu festival of Gokul-Ashtami (Krishana-Janma-Asthami) in the Novel A Passage To India. When an interviewer enquired about this lengthy description towards the end of the novel, Forster retorted that it was architecturally necessary. He then added: "I needed a lump, or a Hindu temple if you like - a mountain standing up. It is well placed, and it gathers up some strings." But Forster also added that there ought to be more after it. The lump sticks out a little too much."

      However, Forster's answer is not very satisfactory. The question remains: why should such a "lump" be architecturally necessary when the climax of the novel had already been reached and the story practically over at the end of the second section which has been captioned 'Caves'. It seems, then, that the third section has been added for some other purpose which has very little to do with the plot of the novel. It does, however, gather up the loose strings. Fielding is married to Mrs. Moore's daughter Stella and not to Miss Adela Quested as suspected by Aziz. Aziz himself has come a long distance from the Mosque—both literally and symbolically. He settled down with his children as the Prince's physician in Mau. And Godbole became the Minister for Education in Mau. Thus, the third section gathers up some of the loose strings but, as Forster has himself admitted, there ought to be more after it.

      Though the third section is the shortest in the novel, the story seems to drag on unnecessarily. Again, if the "lump sticks out a little too much"' it means that the novel is architecturally not beautiful, even if it was architecturally necessary. However, the structure of the novel doesn't merely consist of an arrangement of events. Behind that structure, there is the arrangement of the novel's meaning. The long description of the Hindu festival in the third section of the novel is architecturally necessary for the meaning of the novel, even though its architectural beauty may not be enhanced. Without this section, the meaning of the novel would be incomplete. The meaning of the novel or its symbolism does not come to a completion in the first two sections captioned 'Mosque' and 'Caves'.

      From the point of view of the story or the plot, the third section is not very important but the dominant Hinduism in this section is significant from the point of view of the structure of the meaning in the novel. The third section completes the religious symbolism, which begins with the 'Mosque' in the first section. Again, without this third section the Evil symbolized by the echo of the Marabar Caves would have dominated the meaning of the novel. Of course, Forster did not wish to leave an impression that Evil triumphed over everything else in life.

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