Monday, July 02, 2007

The Waddling Apotheosis

NOW FINISHED: A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

For one thing about the waning pages of this book, if the final chapters' Krishna ceremonies, temples, scampering gods, and riverboat rides are rendered on film in the same dreamy and somewhat convoluted way they are in the book, then I shall wonder if said movie isn't best enjoyed while chemically enhanced? At any rate, the whole last section of the book, "Temple," is definitely denouement to the thoroughly enjoyable and terribly climactic resolution of "Caves." But you also find out good stuff in the end. And you get to spend a little time with Ralph, who strikes me as loopy but likable.

And in the very very end, I am rather impressed by the prescient E.M. Forster. Although he probably wasn't alone among British who had done India time in saying the English empire would simply have to go at some point. But it's oh-so-interesting to read his 1924 words on this inevitability.

It is further interesting to note (as is noted throughout the book) how "India" is a conglomeration of so many states, regions, religions, identities...

"Then he shouted: 'India shall be a nation! No foreigners of any sort! Hindu and Moslem and Sikh and all shall be one!...'
India a nation! What an apotheosis! Last comer to the drab nineteenth century sisterhood! Waddling in at this hour of the world to take her seat! She, whose only peer was the Holy Roman Empire..." - p. 361

Still, he holds out hope that we can all be friends.

I think my next project should be finding what E.M. Forster had to say 20-25 years later. Please tell me someone thought to ask him? And to write down his words?

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