A Passage to India

Modern Nationalism and Global Conflict in E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India 11th Grade

While Walt Whitman’s poem “A Passage to India” romanticizes the idea of blended Indian and British nationalities, E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India realistically explores the emergence of Indian nationalism in opposition to British imperial rule. The novel unfolds in post-World War I British India and illustrates the growing tensions between the British Empire and its colonial subjects. India contributed munitions, funds, and troops to the British war effort, and these wartime contributions led to an increase in demands that India gain independence from the British Empire. The British did not simply refuse to grant India self-government: they implemented harsher anti-sedition legislation and extended the power of the colonial government. The Indians who had played a significant role in the Great War felt slighted, which provoked vigorous, widespread anti-British sentiment. Simultaneously, many prominent citizens became critical of nationalism’s prevalence in the European continent. The emergence of nationalism in Europe led to the alliance system that transformed World War I into a global affair rather than simply a dispute between two countries. Through the antagonistic relationships between British and Indian characters,...

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