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MonkeyNotes-A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
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Chapter 7

Fielding is the Principal of Chandrapore College. An older man in his forties, he is intelligent and good tempered. He also believes strongly in the value of learning and attempts to educate his students correctly. As a result, he is popular among his pupils. He is, however, unpopular among the local British adults, especially the women, because he refuses to assume the arrogance that is so typical of the English person in India. Fielding is unbothered by their opinions, he does not care about what people think of him; he is aware of what he wants to do and acts accordingly.

Fielding has no prejudices and thinks that education should teach people to be tolerant, humane, and sympathetic towards their fellow beings. He is eager to teach any student, British or Indian. He firmly believes that globally men should be trying to reach one another. To him, education is the means by which to strive for universal brotherhood.

On the day of the tea party, Aziz is the first guest to arrive at Fielding's house. As a result, the two men have a chance to talk and settle into a comfortable conversation. Aziz finds Fielding to be pleasant, informal and friendly. He is truly made to feel "at home" with Fielding's warm hospitality. When Fielding loses his collar stud, Aziz even goes to the extent of offering his own. It is in this happy mood that Aziz is found when Mrs. Moore and Adela arrive. They find him cheerful and talkative, and he feels very comfortable with both the ladies. Aziz talks about India, intelligently discussing his country's earlier rulers and the Islamic and Muslim architecture. Conversation flows easily.


Mrs. Moore and Adela say that they are confused about the invitation to go to the Hindu lady's house, for her promised carriage never arrived to get them. Aziz, a Muslim, points out that they would not have liked going to the house of those irresponsible Hindus. Aziz then invites them to his own house. Mrs. Moore and Adela readily agree to this proposal, but Aziz momentarily hesitates when he realizes that his house is not so pleasant.

Professor Godbole arrives at the party. He is a Hindu Brahmin who works at Fielding's college. Adela and Mrs. Moore are interested in him, but he is aloof and simply listens and eats. Adela, finding him strange, thinks about living permanently in India around such people. She lets it slip out that she could never settle here; after the words are spoken, she realizes that she should have said this to Ronny first.

Fielding offers to take Adela and Mrs. Moore on a tour of the college. Adela declines because she does not like institutions. Mrs. Moore prepares to depart with Fielding when Aziz changes his invitation to the ladies. He offers to take them to the Marabar Caves instead of having them to his house. He tries to describe the caves, but since he has never visited the caves, he cannot do a good job. Godbole laughs at Aziz and describes the caves in an evasive and mysterious way.

Ronny arrives at the tea party, uninvited. When he behaves rudely, the pleasant fellowship of the gathering is instantly destroyed. He deliberately ignores Aziz and Godbole, making the ladies feel wretched. Aziz becomes distant and angry. Fielding tries to be pleasant to everyone, but the undercurrent of hatred runs high. Ronny insists that his mother and Adela leave with him to watch polo. Before she departs, Aziz innocently tells Adela that he is sorry she is leaving India so soon; she is upset by his mentioning this fact in front of Ronny. Only Professor Godbole seems to be at peace. He sings the departing women a strange song in which the singer is a maiden who urges Lord Krishna to come to her and to his other devotees. After the song, Godbole explains that the Lord Krishna never does come.

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