“A Passage to India” was written by English author E.M. Forster in 1924 and has been designated as one of the 100 great works of English literature. Forster borrowed the title from Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name in “Leaves of Grass”.
In his novel, Forster explores the themes of friendship, the unity of all living things, religion, power, gender, race, justice and what one character refers to as the “muddle” of India. My goal was to experience those same themes for myself. I found that most of what I had previously been led to believe about India was patently false.
Whitman’s poem (1871) portrays India as an evolving theme that presents the country first as a geographic reality, and then grows to become a symbol for man’s desire to be one with the divine. I found that the peacefulness of India is the expression of that oneness with the supernatural.
My own passage to India has been one of personal growth and discovery. I have learned that India stands ready with her arms opened wide and that a visitor to this wonderful country must be prepared to open his or her mind just as wide. Rather than being an assault on the senses, India is a land of unique discovery. I went to India to discover a country – instead I found both a country and a people, a very friendly people.