Note-taken: Discussion for Presentation on Passage to India

Some questions and main points that were brought up during the discussion for the presentation:

According to the presenters, Hinduism is foregrounded in the text as a religion that is complex and elusive, and it possesses an origin that is difficult to identify. This nature of Hinduism as encompassing, but vague, provides a very different backdrop and ties in very well with modernism. It is interesting to note as well, that none of the main characters are Hindus. Therefore, we frequently encounter the views of ‘others’ regarding Hinduism and what the religion can offer.
It seems that Hinduism for Forster, is a religion that encapsulates other more organized religions such as Christianity and Islam. It is attractive because it is so dfferent and goes against Western logic and understanding.

Hinduism also assumes main focus for another reason. The history of India, especially in the colonial versions, is tainted with conflicts between Hindus and Muslims and these made up many of the dominant tropes important during that time. This perhaps explains why while the main character is Muslim (Dr. Aziz), the book may be interpreted in a very Hinduism ‘manner’.

Nonetheless, reading Hinduism as a framework to the text is convenient but not agreeable to all. Praseeda mentioned that she felt uncomfortable to do so as the novel frequently highlights India as a country that could not be identified as a single entity. India had existed as an organic state even prior to Colonial establishments. Therefore, while aspects of Hinduism are dominant in the text, the fact that the text constantly emphasizes India as a state that is disunified and divided by many religions and beliefs seems to undermine Hinduism as being an adequate framework to understanding the text and its presentation of India.

P.S. to all: Apologies that this post for the notes comes in late. I missed Dr. Koh’s email and didn’t realize that it should have been up by 12am, Saturday. Sorry for any inconvenience caused!

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