To the Editor:
What can Joseph Epstein [“One Cheer for E.M. Forster,” September 1985] possibly mean by writing that E.M. Forster’s dislike of the “Anglo-Indians” (A Passage to India)” came through accompanied by serious political consequences”? Mr. Epstein goes on to quote Paul Johnson to the effect that the novel undermined “belief in British superiority and maturity.” Is the “serious political consequence” that Britain did not put forth the effort (which was in any case beyond it, materially and morally) to maintain rule over India after 1947? Isn’t that nonsense? At a time when the Western episode of colonialism is over, when no Western country has colonies, and all consider themselves better off without them, what would lead anyone to take up the defense of colonialism and regret its demise? Only, I am afraid, a narrow and distorted view of India, and one that spoils what is otherwise a sensitive and insightful essay.