Essay on Jewel in the Crown of Imperialism

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

Myers believed that the novel A Passage to India was attacking the 'traditional (and mythical) justification of imperialism', he did not believe that the 'natives' were 'better off under the English domination'. The novel, A Passage to India, is set in the 1920s in Chandrapore (an anglicized spelling of Chandrapur), a district in the North of India. At the time of writing, India was keen to be free of English rule and declare its independence, which it eventually did in 1947. Descriptions of both places and people highlight imperialism and we are better than them attitude. The description of the city of Chandrapore reinforces the belief that the natives are better off under the English occupation. People are also described as having different behaviors according to their race. The English are presented as calm and collected at all times. The Indians are described as unreasonable and hysterical. Some of the English in India are described in an equally bad light, as bigoted and unkind, except Fielding. Heaslop is unkind about Aziz, and Indians in general, by calling him slack, without knowing he had given his back collar stud to Fielding so he was not underdressed. Also, Hawkins claims that Forster's main argument against imperialism is that it prevents personal relationships. Although Fielding and Aziz attempt to form a friendship, society will not allow them to be friends. An important question is asked by Mahmoud Ali and Hamidullah at the start of the novel, 'is it possible to be friends with an Englishman'. This essay will argue that Myers was correct when he said that Forster was attacking the justification of imperialism; the Indians were not better off under English domination.

The area of Chandrapore near the river where the natives live is not portrayed in a good light within the novel. The novel begins with the words, 'Except for the Marabar Caves !] the city of Chandrapore presents nothing extraordinary.' The first paragraph then goes on to say that the city is indistinguishable from the rubbish that the river deposits along its banks and that the River Ganges (that is renowned for being sacred in the Hindu religion) is not holy in this area presumably because it is so polluted. The streets are described as being very dirty and the people are so dirty that they appear to be moving mud. Uphill and inland where English live, are described as the absolute opposite;

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place an order

Chandrapore appears to be a different place. It is a city of gardens. It is no city, but a forest sparsely scattered with huts. It is a tropical pleasaunce washed by a noble river.

The differences between the descriptions of the two areas are stark. The natives live in squalid conditions where their houses can be confused as being built from mud and the streets are so dirty no one wants to visit them. The English live in huts scattered sparsely through the forest and visitors are amazed at the magnificence of the area; 'newcomers cannot believe it to be as meager as it is described, and have to be driven down to acquire disillusionment.' The English are portrayed as better than the Indians. They are both in the same country, with the same resources available to them, but the English have carved a much better life out for themselves. The Indians need leadership because, as experienced, when left to their own devices, they will live in dirty houses, surrounded by their waste and will never better themselves.

The English in India are portrayed as bigoted and unkind in the novel, as when Mrs. Callendar said, ''Why, the kindest thing one can do to a native is to let him die,'' and ''He can go where he likes as long as he doesn't come near me. They give me the creeps.'' Hawkins observed that the English act on emotional preconceptions instead of 'rational and open-minded examination of facts'. One scene describes how Aziz gave his collar stud from his shirt to Fielding and made him believe it was a spare in a gesture of friendship; Later Ronnie saw Aziz without a collar stud and assumed that all Indians were sloppy dressers, Ronnie says 'Aziz was exquisitely dressed, from tie-pin to spats, but he had forgotten his back collar-stud, and there you have the Indian all over: inattention to detail; the fundamental slackness that reveals the race.'

Naghshbandi and Zarrinjooee discuss that 'the English people are presented as calm at the time of crisis, while the Indians are shown raving about impotently.' After the car accident, Nawab is portrayed as being very childish, he gets very angry and abuses his chauffeur, even though the accident was not his fault. In addition to this Nawab is described as eccentric in the following line, 'A loud cry broke from the old man: his terror was disproportionate and ridiculous.' The English however are presented as calm and refined in a crisis. Forster wrote that they were not upset by the accident due to their age and background.

There are several friendships attempted within the novel, with none between the Indians and the English lasting. It is proposed that initially Fielding is embarrassed by the other English people in his community, which is why he makes a special effort to be friends with Indians. Aziz is cynical about the world, and is especially cynical about the English being in India; he doesn't like the way most English people treat the Indians. When Aziz first comes to Fieldling's house, he welcomes him like an old friend:

He was dressing after a bath when Dr. Aziz was announced. Lifting his voice, he shouted from the bedroom, 'Please make yourself at home.' !

To Aziz, it had a very definite meaning. 'May I really, Mr. Fielding? It's very good of you,' he called back.'

In contrast, later in the chapter, when Aziz is accused by other Indians of being friends with Mrs Moore, he is embarrassed and is quick to correct them; 'He said stiffly, 'I do not consider Mrs. Moore my friend, I only met her accidentally in my mosque,'' It is clear that Mrs Moore had gone to great lengths to learn about the culture before she arrived in India and Aziz liked that she knew to take her shoes off before she entered the mosque. But Aziz was torn, society told him that the Indians should not be friends with the English, but Fielding was so kind to him when they first met and Mrs Moore was so respectful. A Bridge Party was held at the Club, not a card game, but a party designed to forge connections between the Indians and the English. But 'The Bridge Party was not a success' at least it was not what Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested were accustomed to consider a successful party.' The Indians arrive early as it is held in their honor. The Indians then huddle together on one side of the Tennis lawns and there is little integration with the English. In his essay, Myers found many more examples of the cultures not integrating, 'This disastrous party, Ronny's boorish and rude interruption of Fielding's tea party, the failure of the Bhattacharyas to fulfill their invitation, and the Nawab Bahadur's car accident'. All of the examples Myers listed were indications that friendships are rarely possible between a dominant and submissive and therefore, the British and Indian people will never be friends. Imperialism is the practice of a state extending power over another. During the English occupation, India (and the other members of the Empire) was brought under the sovereignty of the Crown of Great Britain and the administration of the British government. The typical feeling about imperialism of India is, ''England holds India for her good''. The Indians will never be able to be friends with the English. The English were in charge and most treated the Indians like slaves.

The trial of Aziz can sum up the political feelings of the time and supports the argument that Myers was correct when he said that Forster was attacking the justification of imperialism. Hawkins theorized that:

Adela's accusation of Aziz is also Britain's accusation of India she is poor, ward, dirty, disorganized, uncivilized, promiscuous, uncontrollable, and violent- in short, she needs imperialism.

When Aziz is found innocent and set free by Adela's confession, this can be likened to England confessing they are wrong and also setting India free. Before the trial, Aziz was passive and submissive, after the trial he was argumentative and irrational. After his arrest he is proudly anti-English, he wants the English to leave India as soon as possible. He then believed that the Indians were not better off under English domination. In the final chapter of the novel the question posed earlier in the novel, 'Is it possible to be friends with an Englishman' is answered. Even though Aziz and Fielding want to be friends, everything in the world, including the horses, is working to stop them. The novel ends poignantly with the words:

'Why can't we be friends now?' said the other, holding him affectionately. 'It's what I want. It's what you want.'

But the horses didn't want it !] they didn't want it, they said in their hundred voices, 'No, not yet,' and the sky said, 'No, not there.'

Fielding thought that the time and place were not right for him to be friends with Aziz. So Forster believed that 1920s India was not ready to be friends with 1920s Britain. The natives were not better off under English domination.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Essay on Jewel in the Crown of Imperialism. (2024, March 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
“Essay on Jewel in the Crown of Imperialism.” Edubirdie, 27 Mar. 2024,
Essay on Jewel in the Crown of Imperialism. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2024].
Essay on Jewel in the Crown of Imperialism [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Mar 27 [cited 2024 Jul 24]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.