Chronicles of the Raj: A Study of Literary Reaction to the by Shamsul Islam

By Shamsul Islam

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PI, 143) The alienation of Muslims in India is further underlined by their relative ignorance of both India and Hinduism. For example, one of the great ironies of the novel is that Dr Aziz, who arranges the picnic to the Marabar caves, does not know anything about them: His ignorance became evident, and was really rather a drawback. E. M. Forster 27 In spite ofhis gay, confident talk, he had no notion how to treat this particular aspect of India; he was lost in it. (PI, 140) Similarly, later in the novel when Aziz is even working in a Hindu state, he does not understand the intricacies of the janam Ashtami festival; he and his children go away from the Hindu crowd -they feel like foreigners in this land: Aziz did not pay attention to these sanctities, for they had no connection with his own; he felt bored, slightly cynical like his own dear Emperor Babur, who came down from the north and found in Hindustan no good fruit, no fresh water or witty conversation, not even a friend.

Both of his parents were Wesleyan missionaries who spent quite some time in South India though Edward was not born there. 2 After his graduation from London University he was ordained and was sent in I 9 I o to the Wesleyan College at Bankura, Bengal. Thompson taught English literature at Bankura, wrote poetry, studied Bengali, and sought intellectual stimulation outside his academic duties, meeting Rabindranath Tagore in I9I3 and eventually coming to understand Bengali poetry better than any other Englishman.

Not only is the individual safer and freer in them, but he has, if he chooses to take it, a greater share of political power. He may hate the British and have good reasons for doing so, but he would not exchange their yoke for an Indian Prince's; so that the Native States can only be enlarged or re-created if the principle of self-determination is ignored. (AH, 362) And he goes on to declare: An alliance between the British and the Princes against the rest of India could orily lead to universal disaster, yet there are people on both sides who are foolish enough to want it.

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