Through the Occidental Lens: Representation of the Indian Society in the English Classic, A Passage to India
“Rudyard Kipling in his famous poem, The White Man’s Burden (1899) wrote about a generation of whites eager to sacrifice their sons for the welfare and refinement of barbaric countries like India. This grumbling about an imaginary burden that the whites lay upon themselves went over for a long time until the end of their rule in India. The Oriental philosophy of the Occidental dominance held on to by the Whites drove them to carry this burden as a veil to cover their original scheme. The Charter Act of 1813 passed with an anterior aim to refine the so-called barbarians of India concealed their true agenda of gaining supremacy through domination and intellectual and moral leadership. James Farish, an acting governor of Bombay during the British Raj remarked once that” The Natives must either be kept down by a sense of our power, or they must willingly submit from a conviction that we are more wise, more just, more humane, and more anxious to improve their condition than any other rulers they could have”(Farish, 239). Farish’s statement projects the image of a patronizing figure whose actions manifest hollowness. The White man’s duty to instill progressive and modern values and ideals found expression in many novels written by British novelists of that period. This paper aims to scrutinize the novel A Passage to India (1924) by E.M. Foster to draw out references from the novel to prove the subdued presence of oriental ideologies even when the novel claims to be against orientalist motives.