'A Passage to India' Quotes

E.M. Forster's Famous Novel

A Passage to India
A Passage to India. Penguin
A Passage to India is a famous modern novel by E.M. Forester. Set during the English colonization of India, the novel dramatically depicts some of the conflicts between the Indian people and the colonial government. Here are a few quotes from A Passage to India.
  • "So abased, so monotonous is everything that meets the eye, that when the Ganges comes down it might be expected to wash the excrescence back into the soil. Houses do fall, people are drowned and left rotting, but the general outline of the town persists, welling here, shrinking there, like some low but indestructible form of life."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 1

  • "On the second rise is laid out the little civil station, and viewed hence Chandrapore appears to be a totally different place. It is a city of gardens. It is no city, but a forest sparsely scattered with huts. It is a tropical pleasaunce washed by a noble river."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 1

  • "They all become exactly the same, not worse, not better. I give any Englishman two years, be he Turton or Burton. It is only the difference of a letter. And I give any English woman six months. All are exactly alike."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 2

  • "He has found out our dinner hour, that's all, and chooses to interrupt us every time, in order to show his power."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 2

  • "A Mosque by winning his approval let loose his imagination. The temple of another creed, Hindu, Christian, or Greek, would have bored him and failed to awaken his sense of beauty. Here was Islam, his own country, more than a Faith, more than a battle cry, more, much more."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 2

  • "Islam an attitude towards life both exquisite and durable, where his body and his thoughts found their home."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 2

  • "That makes no difference. God is here."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 2

  • "As he strolled down hill beneath the lovely moon, and again saw the lovely mosque, he seemed to own the land as much as anyone who owned it. What did it matter if a few flabby Hindus had preceded him there, and a few chilly English succeeded."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 2

  • "I want to see the real India."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 3

  • "Come on, India's not as bad as all that. Other side of the earth, if you like, but we stick to the same old moon."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 3

  • "Adventures do occur, but not punctually."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 3

  • "In England the moon had seemed dead and alien; here she was caught in the shawl of night together with earth and all other stars. A sudden sense of unity, of kinship with the heavenly bodies, passed into the old woman and out, like water through a tank, leaving a strange freshness behind."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 3

  • "It is easy to sympathize at a distance. I value more the kind word that is spoken close to my ear."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 4

  • "No, no, this is going to far. We must exclude someone from our gathering, or we shall be left with nothing."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 4

  • "No, it was not picturesque; the East, abandoning its secular magnificence, was descending into a valley whose farther side no man can see."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 5

  • "Because India is part of the earth. And God has put us on the earth in order to be pleasant to each other. God is love."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 5

  • "he did not realize that 'white' has no more to do with a colour than 'God save the King' with a god, and that it is the height of impropriety to consider what it does connote."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 7

  • "A mystery is only a high sounding term for a muddle. No advantage in stirring it up, in either case. Aziz and I know well that India is a muddle."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 7

  • "Aziz was exquisitely dressed, from tie-pin to spats, but he had forgotten his back-collar stud, and there you have the Indian all over; inattention to detail, the fundamental slackness that reveals the race."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 8

  • "Her hand touched his, owing to a jolt, and one of the thrills so frequent in the animal kingdom passed between them, and announced that their difficulties were only a lovers' quarrel."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 8

  • "And when the whole world behaves as such, there will be no more purdah?"
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 11

  • "But he [Aziz] himself was rooted in society and Islam. He belonged to a tradition, which bound him, and he had brought children into the world, the society of the future. Though he lived so vaguely in this flimsy bungalow, nevertheless he was placed, placed."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 11

  • "All the love he felt for her at the Mosque welled up again, the fresher for forgetfulness."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 13

  • "You keep your religion, I mine. That is best. Nothing embraces the whole of India, nothing, nothing and that was Akbar's mistake."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 14

  • "But suddenly, at the edge of her mind, Religion appeared, poor little talkative Christianity, and she knew that all its divine words from 'Let there be light' to 'It is finished' only amounted to 'boum.'"
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 14

  • "'I have had twenty five years experience of this country'--and twenty five years seemed to fill the waiting room with their staleness and ungeneroisity--'and during those twenty five years, I have never known anything but disaster result when English people and Indians attempt to be intimate socially.'"
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 17

  • "They are not to blame, they have not a dog's chance--we should be like them if we settled here."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 18

  • "They had started speaking of women and children, that phrase that exempts the male from sanity when it has been repeated a few times."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 20

  • "But every humane act in the East is tainted with officialism, and while honoring him they condemned Aziz and India."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 20

  • "The sound had spouted after her when she escaped, and was going on still like a river that gradually floods the plain. Only Mrs. Moore could drive it back to its source and seal the broken reservoir. Evil was loose...she could hear it entering the lives of others."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 22

  • "Her Christian tenderness had gone, or had developed into hardness, a just irritation against the human race; she had taken no interest at the arrest, asked scarcely any questions, and had refused to leave her bed on one awful last night of Mohurram, when an attack was expected on the bungalow."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 22

  • "As soon as she landed in India, it seemed to her good, and when she saw the water flowing through the mosque tank, or the Ganges, or the moon caught in the shawl of night with all the other stars, it seemed a beautiful goal and an easy one."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 23

  • "by what right did they claim so much importance in the world and assume the title of civilization?"
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 24

  • "Ronny's religion was of the sterilized Public School brand, which never goes bad, even in the tropics. Wherever he entered, mosque, cave or temple, he retained the spiritual outlook of the fifth form, and condemned as 'weakening' any attempt to understand them."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 28

  • "The poem for Mr. Bhattacharya never got written, but it had an effect. It led him towards the vague and bulky figure of a mother-land. He was without natural affection for the land of his birth, but the Marabar Hills drove him to it. Half closing his eyes, he attempted to love India."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 30

  • "Suspicion in the Oriental is a sort of malignant tumor, a mental malady, that makes him self-conscious and unfriendly suddenly; he trusts and mistrusts at the same time in a way the Westerner can not comprehend. It is his demon, as the Westerner's is hypocrisy."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 32

  • "Thus Godbole, though she was not important to him, remembered an old woman he had met in Chandrapore days. Chance brought her into his mind while it was in this heated state, he did not select her, she happened to occur among the throng of soliciting images, a tiny splinter, and he impelled her by his spiritual force to that place where completeness can be found."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 33

  • "My heart is for my own people henceforward."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 35

  • "Then you are an Oriental."
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 36

  • "But the horses didn't want it-they swerved apart; the earth didn't want it, sending up rocks through which riders must pass single file; the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds, the carrion, the Guest House, that came into view as they issued from the gap and saw Mau beneath: they didn't want it, they said in their hundred voices, 'No, not yet,' and the sky said, 'No, not there.'"
    - E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Ch. 37