page 1 of 3
One consequence of Aziz’s trial is improved relations between Hindus and Muslims in Chandrapore. Mr. Das visits Aziz one day at the hospital and asks Aziz to write a poem for his magazine. The magazine readership is mostly Hindu, but Das hopes to make it appeal to the general Indian and believes that Aziz’s poem might help. Aziz agrees and goes home to write. All his attempts at poetry are too extreme, though—they veer toward too-sad pathos or too-harsh satire. Aziz tries to envision a successful poem for Das, and this speculation leads him to visions of a successful India. Aziz vows to be friendly to Hindus and to hate the British. His character becomes hardened.
Aziz meets with Hamidullah one day and explains his plan to take a job in a Hindu state. Hamidullah protests that such a job will not pay enough and scolds Aziz again for not making Adela pay reparations. Then Hamidullah passes on a rumor he has heard that Fielding was having an affair with Adela during her stay at the college. Aziz becomes explosive, yelling that everyone has betrayed him.
When Aziz calms down, he and Hamidullah prepare to visit the women of Hamidullah’s household in purdah. Hamidullah mentions that the women seemed to be ready to give up purdah at the time of Aziz’s trial, but that they have not yet done so. Hamidullah suggests that Aziz take a realistic view of the Indian lady as a subject for a poem.
Aziz muses on the rumor of Adela and Fielding for several days, eventually believing it to be fact. When Fielding returns from a conference, Aziz picks him up and tries to address the rumor indirectly, mentioning that McBryde and Miss Derek were caught having an affair. Fielding is uninterested in this gossip, however. Finally, Aziz overtly mentions the rumor about Adela and Fielding, expressing fear that the affair will hurt Fielding’s reputation. Aziz clearly is fishing for a straightforward denial, but Fielding does not provide one. Instead, Fielding chides Aziz for worrying too much about reputation and propriety. Aziz finally takes it for granted that Fielding and Adela were having an affair, and he states this directly. Fielding, startled, blows up at Aziz. Aziz is immediately pained at his own mistake and Fielding’s harsh words. Aziz agrees, reluctantly, to have dinner with Fielding that night.
Fielding runs into Turton at the post office. Turton demands Fielding’s presence at the Englishmen’s club at six that evening. Fielding stops by the club briefly to find that many new officials have replaced the old ones, but the tenor feels the same. Fielding likens this repetitive bigotry to an evil echo.
At dinner, Fielding tells Aziz that he is traveling to England briefly on official business. Aziz changes the subject to poetry. Fielding expresses hope that Aziz will be a religious poet, because though Fielding is an atheist, he thinks there is something important in religion that has not yet been celebrated—perhaps something in Hinduism. Aziz asks if Fielding will visit Adela in England. Fielding indifferently says that he probably will. At this, Aziz rises to leave. Fielding asks forgiveness for his harshness that morning, but Aziz rides away feeling depressed. He suspects that Fielding is going to England to marry Adela for her money. Aziz decides to travel with his children tomorrow, so that Fielding will be gone for England by the time he returns.
Take a Study Break!