Two years have passed. In Mau, several hundred miles west of Chandrapore, a
ceremony is taking place at a Hindu temple. It is led by Professor Godbole, who
is the Minister of Education in the state. The Rajah, the ruler of the state, is
brought on a litter to witness the culmination of the ceremony, the symbolic birth
of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of God in Hindu belief. This takes place at
midnight, and produces great rejoicing in all those present.
After he leaves the temple, Godbole talks to Aziz, who is now physician to the
Rajah, telling him that Fielding has arrived. Aziz does not want to meet him. He
believes Fielding has married Miss Quested, and he has destroyed all Fielding's
letters unread. Aziz now has his children living with him all year round, and he
has remarried. However, the local authorities still keep him under observation,
because of what happened in Chandrapore.
As the religious festival continues, Fielding and his brother-in-law climb a slope to
visit the tomb of a saint. Aziz and Fielding greet each other coolly. It then
transpires that Fielding in fact married Mrs. Moore's daughter, Stella, not Miss
Quested. Fielding is amazed at how Aziz could have made such a mistake, since
he wrote at least a dozen times, mentioning his wife by name. Aziz cannot bear
to hear the name Moore, and he explains that he never read Fielding's letters.
He refuses to have anything to do with Fielding and his wife.
The Hindu festival at Mau is an example of exactly that lack of order and form
that Fielding had complained about in the previous chapter: "this approaching
triumph of India was a muddle (as we call it), a frustration of reason and form"
(chapter 33). The altar is a chaotic jumble, including the comic error in the
inscription "God si love." And yet in spite of all this, the occasion is one of great
life and joy. The celebration of the birth of the god, Lord Krishna, is perhaps the
most positive image of India and Hinduism presented in the novel.