Post- colonialism is a critical theory which is defined as writing that is grounded in the cultural realities of those societies whos subjectivity has been constituted at least in the part by the subordinating power of European colonialism’, in the novel A Passage to India it was the English people living in India had the power as colonizers which caused the split between the two. Post – colonialism is a critical theory emerging as a distinct category in 1990s coming after Colonialism which addresses the problems of post – colonial identity. Identity in this case is recognised as cultural, national and ethnic. The problems that came from post – colonial identity were gender, racism and race especially their interactions into the developments of a post – colonial national identity and post – colonial society; these identity politics comprise the perspectives of the colonial subjects Post – colonialism is an academic discipline that comprises methods of intellectual discourse that presents analyses of, and responds to, the cultural legacies of colonialism and of imperialism ,mainly European and of the US; which are drawing from different post – modern schools of thought, such as critical theory. Imperialism is “the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination.” Imperialism is often considered negatively, as purely the exploitation of native people in order to enrich a small handful. In the field of anthropology, post – colonial studies record the human relations among the colonial nations and the peoples of the colonies they had ruled and exploited. The aim of Post – colonial criticism is to further undermine the Universalist claims once made on behalf of literature by liberal humanist critics.
Post – colonialism can be linked to other critical theories such as Marxism and Deconstruction which have influenced the Post – colonial theory. Post – colonial critics have impacted feminist critics, inspiring attempts to recover whole cultures of women from colonizing places.
Homi Bhabha was seen as one of the most important figures in post – colonial studies, with one of his most popular ideas ‘hybridity’ showing how colonialism is constantly changing due to histories and cultures interrupting on the present, understanding of cross – cultural relations is needed to transform. Bhabha’s motivation with post – colonisation came from post – structuralism, Edward Said being the most influential writer for Bhabha’s work. Through an interview with W.J.T Mitchell, an English lecturer in the University of Chicago who worked alongside Homi Bhabha it showed Bhabha’s view towards the post – colonial critical theory ‘The point of splitting is part of a wider point about the construction of authority. In situations where cultural difference -race, sexuality, class location, generational or geopolitical specification — is the linchpin of a particular political edict or strategy, even the oppressor is being constituted through splitting. The split doesn’t fall at the same point in colonized and colonizer, it doesn’t bear the same political weight or constitute the same effect, but both are dealing with that process. Actually, this allows the native or the subaltern or the colonized the strategy of attempting to disarticulate the voice of authority at that point of splitting.’ Bhabha use of the word ‘splitting’ puts emphasis on the division between the colonizer and the colonized which is presented in the novel as both cultures would rather stick with their own hence the question throughout the novel ‘Can an Englishman and a Indian be friends?’. David Huddart’s book ‘Homi Bhabha – Routledge critical thinkers’ underlines the influence and impact Homi Bhabha had on post – colonialism and other critics ‘Bhabha’s work develops a set of challenging concepts that are central to post-colonial theory: hybridity, mimicry, difference, ambivalence’ Homi Bhabha has been noticed as representing critical theory.
Post-colonial critics do a number of things to portray colonialism and imperialism in a text such as they examine the representation in other cultures in literature as a way of achieving this end. Whilst identifying post – colonial identity through text they show how literature is often evasively and crucially silent on matters concerned with colonization and imperialism. ‘Othemes’, states of marginality and plurality are seen as sources of energy and potential change all helps to develop a perspective not just applicable to post- colonial texts. The situation whereby individuals and groups belong simultaneously to more than one culture is known as hybridity and cultural polyvalency.
A Passage to India as a novel represents many critical theories throughout but pacifically post – colonialism is represented as throughout the novel E.M Forster uses the obfuscatory words ‘muddle’ and ‘mystery’ to characterize what is occurring in the narrative. However it is dependent on several of interpretations of how much of a reflection of Forster’s pessimism, of British – Indian relationships as well as Imperial uncertainty. The word ‘muddle’ appears several times throughout the novel but is perceived to be replicating signs of cultural difference, for example the invitation from Mrs. Bhattacharya or the gist of what occurred in the Marabar Caves. The word ‘Muddle’ is an example of hybridity as it is supported by his experience in the Indian festival situated in Dewas back in 1921.
Post-colonial critical theory is present throughout the novel, but one of the more obvious times is when Aziz is falsely accused of committing rape on Adela as it shows the disperse of the two colonies although Fielding is quick to defend his friend ‘I cannot believe that Dr. Aziz is guilty'(pg.153). Forster shows Fielding as not supporting post – colonial identity as although they are different cultures he does not believe his friend is capable of such an act although the woman claiming to of had been raped is English. Although Cyril Fielding isn’t presented as a stereotypical colonizer, other English characters in the novel are posed as this. Mr. Turton who governs Chandrapore speaks out of his experience between Indians and the English ‘Disaster result when English people and Indians attempt to be intimate socially’ (pg.153) Forster’s use of Mr. Turton implies that the term ‘innocent until proven guilty’ does not apply when the colonized – Indians and the Colonizer – English mix as it was an English lady who accused a Indian of the rape.
Mrs. Turton the wife of the governor of Chandrapore is stereotyped in the novel as a typical English colonial wife ‘Mohammedans always insist on their full four, according to Mrs. Turton’ Forster is presenting her as ironic as her husband is ‘high up’ in the government yet she remains uneducated. Homi Bhabha’s term of ‘splitting’ is evident as Mrs. Turton appears to be prejudice towards the Indians presuming they all have ‘several wives’, and the cultural difference between the two backgrounds. Mrs. Turton’s ignorance signifies Bhabha’s theory that ‘shows how such polarization is simplistic and dangerous, as it ignores the continuing processes of history’ polarization is the division between different cultures, in the passage of India it’s the split between the English people (Colonizer) or the Indians (Colonized).
Culture between different places are usually very diverse, the culture of an Englishman and an Indian are opposites. In a passage to India, E.M Forster reflects on pacifically the culture in India hence the names of the three different parts of the novel ‘Part 1: Mosque, Part 2: Caves and Part 3: Temple’. Part 1 and Part 2 both represent religious places, which is a traditional part of the Indian culture ‘The recognition that tradition bestows is a partial form of identification.’ Homi Bhabha is referring to traditions in culture which are involved with post – colonial identity, as different races and ethnicity’s vary in culture which causes a divide in the novel.
Whilst Homi Bhabha identifies Post – colonialism he recognizes that majority of narratives contain post- colonialism tend to begin with a discussion of the legacy of colonial experience and anti – colonial thought. Bhabha’s theory is evident in the novel as almost instantly the ‘colonized’ being the Indians clearly state that it isn’t possible for a Englishman and Indian to be friends whilst over in India ‘I only contend that it is possible in England.’ E.M Forster use of the Indian characters portrays the post – colonialism evident in the novel. Homi Bhabha claims that post – colonialism ideas come mainly from third world countries ‘Postcolonial perspectives emerge from the colonial testimony of Third World countries and the discourses of ‘minorities’ within the geopolitical divisions of East, West, North and South.’ The whole of the novel is based on the relationships between the Indians and English people living in India, which presents Bhabha’s theories.