A Moslem doctor living in Chandrapore at the beginning of the novel, he is a widower with three children who meets Mrs. Moore, an elderly English widow who has three children herself and becomes friends with her. Although he is generous and loving toward his English friends, including Mrs. Moore and Cyril Fielding, after Adela Quested accuses him of assault he becomes bitter, vindictive and notoriously anti-British. A primary concern of A Passage to India is the shift in Dr. Aziz's views of the British from accommodating and even a bit submissive to an aggressively anti-colonial stance.
The schoolmaster of Government College, Fielding stands alone among the British officials in India, for he is one of the few to treat the Indians with a sense of decency and respect. Fielding is an individualist who has no great allegiance to any particular group, but rather to his core set of liberal values and sense of justice. This quality allows Fielding to break with the English who support Adela Quested's charges against Aziz and side with the Indians in support of him. However, the events surrounding Aziz's trial cause Fielding to become disenchanted with India, despite his affection for the nation, and motivate him to leave India and return to resume a different post.
Adela Quested arrives in India with the intention of marrying Ronny Heaslop, but changes her mind several times and eventually realizes that she does not love him and cannot marry him. She is a woman of conflicting character traits: although an intellectual, she is short-sighted. Although she foolishly accuses Dr. Aziz of assaulting her in the Marabar Caves, she finds the courage to withdraw the charge. She also suffers from hallucinations that are symptomatic of her somewhat unstable personality. However, Forster finally reveals her to be a woman of character and decency who accepts the difficulties she suffers.
An elderly woman with three children, Mrs. Moore visits India with Adela Quested to see her son, Ronny Heaslop. Mrs. Moore is the paragon of Christian decency and kindness, but she suffers from anxiety concerning her own mortality. During the expedition to the Marabar Caves her confidence in the order of the universe is shaken by an echo that she hears in one of the caves. Afterwards, Mrs. Moore becomes sullen and depressed. When Ronny suspects that she will aid Aziz in his defense, he arranges for Mrs. Moore to leave India. On the journey home, she dies from heat exhaustion.
Professor Narayan Godbole
A Deccani Brahmin who is a professor at the college in Chandrapore, Godbole represents Hindu philosophies in A Passage to India. He is a man of calm character and utter repose, showing no worry for the events around him, no matter how significant. He leaves Chandrapore to start a high school in Central India after the trial of Aziz, who later joins him there.
The son of Mrs. Moore from her first marriage, Ronny typifies the "sun-dried bureaucrat" and Anglo-Indian. He is condescending and cruel toward the Indians, believing that he is not in India to be kind, but rather to rule over the nation. He becomes a martyr during the trial because of the ill treatment of Adela, but shows himself to be manipulative and callous when he pushes to have his mother leave India when he fears she may hurt the prosecution's case.
This friend of Aziz serves as one of the lawyers for his defense, and takes a defiant anti-British stance. His behavior during the trial is dangerously aggressive, however, and he threatens to provoke a riot after Aziz's acquittal. Later he refuses to clear up the misunderstanding concerning Fielding's marriage to Stella Moore.
One of Adela's servants, he was to accompany Adela and Mrs. Moore to the Marabar Caves, but since he was a spy for Ronny Heaslop, Mohammed Latif bribes him not to go. Later he follows Adela as she leaves India and attempts to blackmail her.
Aziz hires this Hindu attorney as his defense lawyer. Since Armitrao is known for his anti-British attitudes, this move highlights the racial and political overtones of Aziz's trial.
A distinguished local resident in Chandrapore, he is well-respected and admired among the Indians. However, Miss Derek snubs him when his car crashes into a tree while he takes Adela and Ronny on a tour of Chandrapore.
An Indian woman whom Mrs. Moore meets during the Bridge Party, Mrs. Bhattacharya postpones a trip to Calcutta to have tea with Mrs. Moore, but abruptly cancels at the last minute.
Major Callendar is the civil surgeon in Chandrapore and Aziz's boss. He also takes part in the trial against Aziz, attempting to stop Adela's confession on medical grounds.
The wife of Major Callendar, she typifies the Anglo-Indian mindset, openly dismissing the Indians as uncultured inferiors.
He is one of Aziz's friends with whom he discusses the consequences of attending the Bridge Party.
The brother of Mrs. Bhattacharya and Ronny's assistant, he is the judge who presides over the trial of Aziz. After the trial, he approaches Aziz to ask him to write for his journal, which is primarily for Hindus.
A younger Englishwoman, she assists Ronny and Adela after the Nawab Bahadur's car crashes, but snubs the Nawab Bahadur. Later she brings Fielding to the Marabar Caves after he misses the train.
The Lieutenant-Governor of the province, he visits Chandrapore after the trial to deal with the problems of racial discord precipitated by the charges against Aziz.
He is one of the local missionaries in Chandrapore.
This friend of Aziz, educated at Cambridge, tells Aziz that one can only be friends with an English person outside of India.
The wife of Hamidullah, she is a distant aunt of Aziz.
He is the police inspector who arrests Aziz after
He is the Eurasian chauffeur for the Nawab Bahadur who crashes the car into a tree and is snubbed by Miss Derek.
A friend of Aziz who was to testify for the prosecution at his trial, he makes a public apology to Aziz and secures the release of Nureddin after rumors circulate that he was being tortured by the English officials.
A friend of Aziz, he bribes Antony not to attend the expedition to Chandrapore.
This friend of Mrs. Callendar takes Aziz's tonga when he arrives at the Callendar's house upon the Major's request.
The Political Agent in Mau, he is the new adversary of Aziz who keeps him under suspicion because of the events in Chandrapore.
The wife of the Lieutenant-Governor, she aids Mrs. Moore in her attempt to leave India by offering her own cabin on a ship traveling to England.
The District Superintendent of Police in Chandrapore, he is the most reflective and educated of the Chandrapore officials, but like the rest of them he has stern prejudices against Indians. He conducts the prosecution of Aziz.
He is the assistant engineer in Chandrapore and a confidant of Aziz.
The youngest son of Mrs. Moore, he accompanies his sister and Fielding on their travels around India. Aziz behaves rudely to him, but soon relents and takes Ralph on the nearby river for a tour of Mau.
The daughter of Mrs. Moore, she marries Fielding after he leaves India, a circumstance that causes Aziz to believe that he has married Adela Quested instead.
This Indian is rumored to have been held and tortured by the police during the trial of Aziz, but is released unharmed.
The nephew of Syed Mohammed, he proposes that something suspicious occurred during Fielding's party because both Aziz and Godbole fell ill afterward.
He is one of the local missionaries in Chandrapore.
He is the local Collector who proposes a Bridge Party for the Indians, and other than Fielding is the only British official who treats the Indian guests well during that event.
A Passage to India Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for A Passage to India is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I can only make a general comment on this short-answer space. If any Indian was sympathetic to the British, it would be Dr. Aziz. When he is charged with making improper advances to Adela in the caves, Aziz becomes disillusioned with the British....
EM Forester wanted to write about the social complexities of British India. The colonial occupation of India is significant in terms of the background of the novel. Britain occupied an important place in political affairs in India since 1760, but...
The colonial occupation of India is significant in terms of the background of the novel. Britain occupied an important place in political affairs in India since 1760, but did not secure control over India for nearly a century. In August of 1858,...