Dr Aziz – An Indian Character in an English Novel “A Passage To India”
Dr. Aziz, the main character of the novel, is a young Muslim Indian Physician who works at the British hospital in Chandrapore. He has got certain distinct qualities which make the study of his character interesting.
He is a skilled person in his profession on one hand and a man of contradictory emotions on the other. He can’t look into matters without emotions and because of this quality he distances himself from rational and logical approach towards the realities of life.
The element of contradiction is the most distinctive feature of his character. Many a times, he behaves in a quite contradictory manner. In the first chapter, when he is called by Mr. Callendar he leaves the dinner instantly and prepares to get Mr. Callendar at his home. On this, Hameedullah asked him to clean his teeth before paying a visit to his senior doctor. Aziz, in return, replies, “If my teeth are to be cleaned, I don’t go at all. I am an Indian; it is an Indian habit to take pan. The civil surgeon must put up with it”.
This is his first emotional response to a suggestion made by Hamidullah but on his way to Callendar’s home, he cleans his teeth thus contradicting his own commitment.
Another example of contradiction is that in the tea party given by Fielding, Aziz first invites the two ladies, Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested, at his home but after a while he changes his mood and asks them to have a visit to Marabar caves.
Dr. Aziz’s judgment of females is based on the appearance and physical shape of ladies. If a woman is beautiful Aziz thinks of her to be worthy of respect whereas he does not give much importance to women who are not prettier. For instance, Mrs. Callendar and Lesley’s taking away his tonga without even acknowledging him is a snobbish act but Aziz forgoes it thinking that both the ladies are fat and weigh the tonga down behind. Here if the women were beautiful, only then we would have felt pain of being neglected. Forster says,” Beautiful women would have pained him”.
The second instance in this regard is his being too frank with Mrs. Moore and Adela at Fielding’s tea party. On this occasion he treated them like men. In fact, both the ladies do not qualify his definition of beauty. To him, “Mrs. Moore was so old and Miss Quested so plain that he was spared his anxiety.
Dr. Aziz is an emotional person who sometimes sets aside rationality and behaves as per his emotional impulses without thinking of consequences. Because of this habit he have had to regret upon his beahviour. His rash nature surfaces in the first part of the novel when he meets Mrs. Moore at a mosque. He was standing in a mosque when he saw an English lady was approaching towards him. He at once shouted ” Madam, this is a mosque, you have no right here at all; you should have taken off your shoes; this is a holy place for Moslems”. At this Mrs. Moore replied “I have taken them off”. Thus he realized that he was rash in asking for removing shoes and asked her “I ask your pardon”.
He also behaves in a quite rash manner when Mr. Fielding visits him two years after the trial. At this, he does not meet him in a friendly manner as he thinks that he ahs betrayed him and got married with Adela. After a pretty while, his emotions once again proved wrong and it becomes clear that, actually, Fielding’s wife was Stella, the daughter of Mrs. Moore.
In short, Dr. Aziz is a person of multiple characteristics that distinct him from other character in the novel. He exhibits contradictions and rash attitude and represents the whole Indians. It is therefore a reader develops interest in the study of his character.