The strategy of McBryde, the prosecution’s lawyer, is to present his interpretation of the facts of the case in such a dry, emotionless, and “scientific” manner that they appear to be the truth. His interpretation of Aziz’s actions and character resembles Ronny’s interpretation of Aziz’s meeting with Mrs. Moore in the mosque in Chapter III. Mrs. Moore acknowledged that Ronny’s ungenerous interpretation, though it could be factually correct, ignored the warmth and trustworthiness of Aziz’s character that she herself sensed. Here, McBryde’s account similarly presents mere interpretations of fact as fact. McBryde’s account is devoid of any recognition or sympathetic understanding of Aziz’s honorable character. Additionally, McBryde’s account—while presenting itself as “truth”—ignores specific angles of the case (such as the disappeared Marabar guide) and depends on biased character witnesses such as Panna Lal.
In response to the pretense of logic and fact that the English put forward, Mahmoud Ali emotionally argues that the English have conspired to withhold Mrs. Moore as a witness. This assertion prompts the Indian crowd in the courtroom to begin chanting Mrs. Moore’s name. To the English, these actions are proof of the Indians’ tendency to be overemotional and superstitious; Forster, however, presents the incantation of “Esmiss Esmoor” as a sort of collective Indian intuition about what is missing from the English pretense of justice. Mrs. Moore comes to symbolize an ideal, spiritual, sympathetic, and—perhaps most important—race-blind understanding. Though Mrs. Moore herself succumbs to apathy after her visit to Marabar and never offers to defend Aziz at his trial, she acquires an almost godlike significance through the rest of A Passage to India. Forster adeptly shows Mrs. Moore’s shortcomings as human, yet also presents her as a positive symbol of unself-conscious and spiritually perceptive interracial understanding. Forster implies that Mrs. Moore’s brand of extraordinary, undemonstrative compassion is what is missing from the English-style trial.
Adela is able to declare Aziz’s innocence during the trial because she experiences a vision during her testimony. This vision is, in a sense, a positive version of the vision Mrs. Moore experienced after going into the first cave at Marabar. In that cave, Mrs. Moore has a vision of all differences being collapsed into the sameness of the echo, “boum.” This lack of individuation and valuation frightens Mrs. Moore and makes her cease to care about individual relationships. Adela’s vision is similarly impersonal. She experiences an out-of-body re-creation of her expedition into Marabar, and in it, she actually “sees” that Aziz did not enter the cave after her. The impersonal, detached point of view of this vision allows Adela to put honesty before her individual feelings or relationships with others. Forster foreshadows this revelation of Adela’s relative unimportance when Adela first enters the courtroom and notices the poor but godlike Indian operating the fan. His aloofness and beauty suggest a detached, spiritual perspective from which Adela and her trauma appear less significant. Forster presents Adela’s experience of spiritual impersonality as a positive vision that restores the balance of justice in the trial.
All the main events in A Passage to India, strangely, are actually nonevents. The event of Adela’s experience of an assault in the Marabar Caves turns out to be an imagined assault. The event that should be Aziz’s conviction is rendered a nonevent by Adela, who quietly affirms Aziz’s innocence. Similarly, in the aftermath of the trial, the strain on English-Indian relations builds to a climax, but these tensions wither in the oppressive heat of the sun. The riotous Indians who gather at the Minto Hospital leave without violence to return home for naps. This anticlimactic tendency shows that Forster cares less about plot events than about how those events make an impression on individual characters and on the social atmosphere of the novel. Furthermore, the series of anticlimaxes reminds us of the pervasive sense of emptiness, absence, exclusion, and nothingness at the core of A Passage to India: more important than what we see occur is what we do not see occur; more important than what happens is what does not happen.