Notes on Characters from A Passage to India

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A Passage to India Major Characters

Dr. Aziz: Main character of the novel. Aziz is a young Muslim/Indian doctor who lives very simply in a modest bungalow in Chandrapore in order to support his three children. He is proud, charming, and emotional. He is a true 'Oriental', more concerned with feelings than intellect. His friendships with Fielding and Mrs. Moore show that he can bridge the gap between East and West. However, his experience in the trial proves that Indians and English can not be true friends in India under British rule.

Mrs. Moore: Mrs. Moore comes to India to visit her son and bring over Adela. Mrs. Moore personifies the religious theme of the novel. She is the symbol of spirit and universal love. Mrs. Moore came over to India as a good Christian, but her experience in India draws her to the spiritual world rather than the traditionally religious one. After her death, her character becomes even more important, especially in the trial. She is capable of loving and of being loved. Though they know each other for only a short time, Mrs. Moore and Aziz deeply love and respect each other.

Adela Quested: Comes to India to visit Ronny, the man she thinks she will marry, to see how he behaves at work. She wants to see the 'real India' for purely intellectual reasons. Unlike Aziz and Mrs. Moore, Adela is pure intellect. She does not feel things, but thinks them. She is plain and a prig, but generally decent. She is neither likable nor detestable.

Cyril Fielding: The schoolmaster of the Government College. He is a middle-aged man who is too set in his ways to be influenced by the other Anglo-Indians. He is liberal, strong, and intelligent. Like Adela, he is ruled more by intellect than love or emotion. He is a loyal friend, however, sticking by Aziz during the trial despite their racial differences and pressure from the British.

Minor Characters

Hamidullah: One of Aziz’s best friends. He is a lawyer who was educated in Cambridge when relations between Indians and British were still good. He is disillusioned about the current state of relations between the British and Indians.

Mahmoud Ali: A young lawyer who has strong anti-British, pro-nationalist feelings. He storms out of the courtroom after his defense of Aziz, caught up in a nationalist fervor.

Ronny Heaslop: Adela’s fiancee and Mrs. Moore’s son. He is the City Magistrate of Chandrapore. He and his mother disagree about the way Indians are treated. He is a victim of the British school system and is steeped in unemotional officialism. Ronny believes his mother’s religious and spiritual beliefs are a sign of senility.

Mr. and Mrs. Turton: The Collector of Chandrapore and his wife. Mr. Turton has been in India for more than 20 years and feels he knows the ways of the country and its people. He does not treat the Indians with fairness and believes British and Indians should never mix socially. His wife treats Indians very cruelly.

Mr. and Mrs. Callendar: The Inspector and his wife. Mr. Callendar is one of the main officials in Chandrapore.

Nawab Bahadur: A well-respected man. He is the 'show' Indian for the British and the only one they treat with respect. His fellow Indians also respects him. However, his real name is his real name is Mr. Zulfiqar (which he eventually changes his name back to). The name Nawab Bahadur is the title given to Mr. Zulfiqar by the British Indians, due to his loyalty towards them.

Mr. and Mrs. Bhattacharya: An Indian couple that Adela and Mrs. Moore meet. They invite Adela and Mrs. Moore to their home and never send a carriage. This makes Adela and Mrs. Moore question Indian manners.

Dr. Lal: A doctor and relative of the Bhattacharyas who is allied with Major Callendar. He is sent over as a spy to check on Aziz’s illness. He befriends Aziz at the end of his trial.

Professor Godbole: The assistant of Fielding at government college and later the Minister of Education at Mau. He is quiet and contemplative. He is a very spiritual man and his Hindu song haunts Mrs. Moore.

Miss Derek: A British employee of the maharajah. She is Adela’s friend and picks her up in her car after Adela’s incident at the caves.

Nureddin: The handsome grandson of Nawab Bahadur.

Mr. and Mrs. McBryde: Mr. McBryde prosecutes the case against Aziz. His wife takes care of Adela before the trial.

Mr. Das: The Indian judge of Aziz’s trial. He does a respectable job of taking control during the trial.

Ralph Moore: Mrs. Moore’s clumsy, but sincere son.

Stella Moore: Mrs. Moore’s daughter who marries Fielding. She and her brother are very different than their half brother Ronny. Their treatment of Indians is similar to their mother’s.

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