The friendship between the Indians and the English is the main theme of Forster’s novel. Under the guise of each episode, the reference to this particular topic can be easily identified. The writer highlights the nature of their relationship not only as Indians and English, but also as ruling and governed classes.
The second chapter of the novel begins with a discussion on the same subject by a few educated Muslims who were discussing whether friendship between the English and the Indians is possible. Hameedullah, who has been to Cambridge, expresses his experience that friendship with the English is only possible in England. He says: “I only maintain that it is possible in England, it is impossible here.”
This he said after a keen observation of the English who consider themselves a superior creature on entering India, while in England their conduct is vice versa. They also have a strong belief that the attitude of English ladies is more negative than that of English men. Hameedullah says: “They all become exactly the same, no worse, no better. I give any Englishman two years. And any Englishwoman six months. They are all exactly the same.” (Forster 35).
Callendar Summon for Dr. Aziz
Aziz, Hameedullah, and Ali are about to eat dinner, when the civil surgeon, Major Callendar, calls Aziz. Before answering this call, Aziz says that Callendar called him just to show his authority and that he doesn’t really need it. He says that he “has found out about our dinner time, that’s all, and he chooses to interrupt us every time, to show his power.” (Forster 39)
As Aziz approaches Callendar’s compound, he steps out of his tonga because the English rulers want the Indians to approach any English officials on foot, as that is the most suitable way for servants. To exhibit his power and observe the servility of the indigenous, they forced them to be humble and servile as a submissive and obedient subject.
In fact, when Aziz arrives at Mr. Calender’s place, he discovers that Major Callendar has gone to the club without leaving any messages for him. This proves Dr. Aziz’s suspicion that Mr. Callendar called him at such a strange time of dinner just to show off his power.
This particular incident demonstrates that friendship cannot exist as long as the English consider the Indians an object to be governed and governed. It is so because the basis of friendship is ugly when there is equality on both sides. can not
The Chandrapore Club and the Indians
The Chandrapore club is the center of leisure activities, especially for the English. The Indians have been forbidden to go there. The reason behind this restriction is that the natives are uneducated and primitive, so they cannot be members of the club. This is why when Mrs. Moore invites Dr. Aziz to join the club, he simply replies that
“Indians are not allowed in the Chandrapore club even as guests.” (Forster 48)
The purpose of the bridge party was to bridge the gap between the English and the natives. Forster (52) refers to it as “not the game, but a party to bridge the gulf between east and west.”
The name of the party has a symbolic background. It is the game of a card game called “bridge game”. In this game the trump card is the strongest card and one player decides which is the trump card and this player is the strongest player who rules over the others because not all players are the same in this game. In this sense, the English and the Indians are bridge players and the English have to decide the trump card because they are superior.
However, the Bridge Party does not reduce the abyss but rather exhibits it more strongly. At the Bridge Party, the Indian guests stand idly by on one side of the tennis court while the English stand on the other and no interaction takes place between the two. At one point, Mr. Turton tried to develop some degree of familiarity with his Indian guests, but his wife wouldn’t let him and took him back to the other side where only the English were present. Of all the English assembled at the party, only Mr. Fielding showed courtesy to the Indians and mingled with them in a friendly atmosphere. So the common attitude of the English is not civilized towards the natives, however they have been invited by English.
There is segregation between the ruler and the ruled. English ladies do not want to be with the Indians or eat with them. Despite this attitude, the English consider this festival to be an extraordinary event to get acquainted with the natives and the old “Burrah Sahibs” could not perform such a humble act because it is considered against the honor of the English race. These are the feelings of doing something that compels the collector’s wife to say, “It’s enough to make the old guy from Burra Sahib turn over in his grave. (Forster 65)”.
This attitude is purely snobbish because the English ladies here at the party are ordinary British ladies. Who are compared and considered equal to the Indian ladies; They are the cream of society.
The gap between the two races is further strengthened during the trial period, drawing a clear line between English and Indian. Now all the Indians are favoring Aziz and on the other hand the whole English community is with Adela. No one except Fielding is ready to find out what really happened in the Marabar caves. In such a situation, it was a crime for an Englishman to side with Aziz; therefore, Fielding was heavily criticized for favoring Aziz, an Indian. Even the Collector, who never spoke otherwise, was so furious that he lost his head and said in extreme disgust: ‘You have sunk to the level of your associates; you’re weak, weak, that’s what’s wrong with you.”
Fielding and Aziz
The only friendship that takes place in the novel, albeit for a short period of time, is between Fielding and Aziz. This begins when Fielding invited Aziz to a tea party at his house. There they talk among themselves in a quite friendly atmosphere until Ronny arrives and destroys the charm of the party. However, this acquaintance turned into a friendship when Aziz showed Fielding a photo of his late wife. To Fielding’s question that Indian ladies follow purdah, Aziz replies, “I should have told him you were my brother.” Fielding takes this as a great compliment and proves his friendship in times of need. During Aziz’s trial, only British nationals attended Aziz’s lawyers and faced harsh condemnation from his own race.
However, the ultimate goal of this friendship was not a success. It ended in the end when she got mixed up with elements of suspicion on Aziz’s part. When Fielding asked his Indian friend to refrain from suing Adela, Aziz was unable to understand Fielding’s true intention and instead took it as if Fielding wanted to help Adela to have a chance to marry her. Even after two years when Fielding visited Aziz, the latter showed coldness upon his arrival assuming that he had married Adela Quested. This mistrust reveals the true story and we can now say that his belonging to different traces was the main reason why they could not join in the bond of friendship.