I’m delighted to be here too – that’s my answer, there’s my only excuse. I can’t tell you anything about fairness.

Mr. Fielding approaches the situation of British colonialism in India with rationality and honesty – he knows that it’s problematic, that it’s not done much good for India, and that the people of India are treated unfairly. But he also enjoys living in India, an opportunity that he would never have had if Britain had not colonized India. He knows that his Indian friends have been oppressed and insulted by the British, but he doesn’t feel entitled to give a statement on the larger unfairness and injustice of colonialism. All he can give is his honest, personal experience, which is that he is happy to have had the chance to come to India and befriend the local people. Although it can’t make up for everything, his sincerity is appreciated by his Indian friends.

“I shall not really be intimate with this fellow,” Fielding thought, and then “nor with anyone.”

One of the greater questions of A Passage to India is whether or not humans – not just culturally or racially opposed humans, but any humans – can actually understand and know their fellow man. Fielding takes a somewhat pessimistic but also rational view. His doubts about how close he can truly be with Aziz are not so much about their races but about the difficulty of becoming intimate with anyone – it’s easy and good to be friendly with people, but it’s much harder to be truly intimate with them. While Fielding’s mindset can partly be explained by his having adopted the individualistic perspective of England and the West, it’s also a valid one. It takes a lot of vulnerability, honesty, and forgiveness to truly know someone, and, at least in Fielding’s view, most people are not willing to go to such lengths.

I believe in teaching people to be individuals, and to understand other individuals. It’s the only thing I do believe in.

Fielding is a logical and practical atheist. He does not believe in God, or mysticism, but in the material ways in which we can make a difference during our time on Earth. For Fielding, his greatest aim is to act on his individual values and not fold to groupthink, and, through education, banish irrational prejudices so that different people can appreciate and understand each other. While the world certainly challenges his belief in the possibility of achieving this aim, Fielding does publicly stand up for Aziz – the only Anglo-Indian to do so – and works hard to truly understand Aziz as a friend despite many obstacles.