The themes and people of Kipling's Indian stories with particular reference to his treatment of the Anglo-Indian and native aspects
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ASUMMARY OF THE CONTENT OF THE THESIS It must be reoorded at the outset that this thesis does not propose to deal with all aspect.s of Kipling's work. It deals with those daninant and persistent themes whioh occur in various forms or guises throughout Kipling's work; more partioularly in his Indian stories, and the people involved in them. I begin by giving an introduotion to Kipling's India, whioh being Kipling's oreation from the reality he observed, is the India to whioh he gave his ownideas and attitudes whioh were derived from his imperialistio views. These views were further tainted by his and his oountrymen's raoial bias and prejudices. It is thus a unique world, which, besides being a depiotion of the aotual world of Hindus, Sikhs, Moslems, Christians and Buddhists, was also a world, whioh Kipling oreated by the exhuberanoe of secreative imagination. This world - "Kiplingland" - was quite different fran that of England. Here, none of the oonditions resembled those of England. The sun was too hot and instead of its being a souroe of warmth and joy, it was the cause of unbearable heat and quite often caused drought and i_ne. Rains, too, caused floods and brought about destruotion and death. Death being very close, the Anglo-Indiansl• in small, outlying posts met regularly to prove to each other that they were still alive. In such a olimate, love was almost impossible. Those who married ''were pained at heart ''to see the bloan of their wives fade in the heat of the plains whioh spawned humanity. Or they sent 'them to a hill-station ''to the scandal, and adultery II , 1. ThroughOutI use the term Anglo-Indian to mean a person of British birth, resident in India. which was brought about by the monotonow Im this world, there was nothing there ' no boaks; there was only grey, formless] I then go on to discuss Kipling's ] particularly, his two long Indian books - There is also in the same chapter I: Kipling's short stories, for, after admii for writing a f'ullfJ..edged novel, Kipline devoted himself to the writing of the she art, he achieved a remarkable success. to handle complextales embodyingmanyLs and gained increasing control over the the passage of time, leading on to the writing pleasing, enigmatic tales as if they', ' DogHarveyf,The Bull 'that Thought•The mention but a few. Alongside this development in his a the people found in these Indian stories reoeive at the hands of Kipling. In this Kiplingts different treatment of the Anglo- native Indians. Whereas the one - this rayed with full sympathy and understandin poor natives are oharacterized by all men's racial and 'social prejudices. The Anglo-Indians, being membersof the chose: be all men of supra-excellent qualities, exhibited as ignorant, superstitious people whoare inefficient and incapable of looking after themselves. Again, as they had a different modeof life and thought, Kipling failed hopelesly to appreciate their point of view and as all the strange customs and traditions of his "Aryanbrothers" were incomprehensible to him, he looked upon them as mysterious or abnormal and gave expression to his views emphasising the differences between Eastern and Western cultures. With this essential background from his Indian stories, I will proceed to discuss other themes besides his imperialism and lifs oonception of East and West. These include the notion of white supremacy; the ineffeciency of the natives and the concept of The Law. Here, I wish to showthe fixity of his oonception of the "natives" on the me hand and the "Sahib Bahadurs" on the other. Nothing could shake his views of the eternal supremacy of the vibite man and the ever-lasting inferiority of the natives. This conception is based on the writers strong belief that his Indian world is inhabited by people of two extremes. On one side of the scale, there are the Sahibs, who, belonging to the superior race, and being imbuedby the acoident of birth and training with the knowledge of the Law', are all there to instruct, regulate, rule and govern. There are, on the other side of the scale, those who, being illiterate, inefficient and not able to run their ownaffairs, to be instructed, regulated, ruled and governed nowand for ever. The relationship of the membersof tithe :Lesser breeds to the Sahibs, which is fixed and permanent,is that of the ruled and the ruler, the serant and the master. , 2. 'Recessional', RudyardKipling's Verse, Def. Edn.: p.329. However, although the Sahibs reoeive h:igh salaries and enj oy the luxury of hordes of servants, they are not entirely' happy, for in an alien country, they suffer the pangs of loneliness, separation from their.women-folk 'and undergo various other hardships cansed by heat, epidemics and illness. This is the theme of the Anglo-Indian and the State of Exile, which I discuss next. Before I end this chapter, I discuss Kipling's view of ArmyLife in India and attempt to showthe same racial and bias revealed in his treatment of the Indian soldiers as against that of the Anglo- Indian Tanmies. I next deal with the people of Kipling's Indian stories - Anglo-Indians and Native Indians: Men,Womenand Children - and reiterate mycontention that, whereas Kipling treats his Anglo-Indians with full understanding and sympathy, he treats the Indians with all his an d his ccm\trymen1s raoial and imperial bias and prejudices. I further attempt to showthat owing to Kipling's love of outlandish nooks and comers and of the odd and unusual, he always depicts the abnormal aspects in the character of the natives, who, to him are all mysterious people and so quite beyond the comprehension of Englishmen. He likes only those natives whoare ccntent to do menial jobs, but has no sympathy and tolerance for those Aryan brothers who, like Grish Chudder,presumeto do Sahibsl jobs. If, very rarely, Kipling says a few words of praise for an Indian, it is only when the Indian is loyal to his British master, serves him with tile devotion of a dog and above all helps to maintain the illustrious British Empire. I finally wish to showthat, as a poet of the Empire and an excellent story writer, Kipling did a marvellous job to bring to the notice of the domiciled British people the glories and marvels of the East. Again, he madehis countr.y.menconscious of their oversea possessions and of the hard work done by their canpatriots - the Ordes, Tallantires, Scott.s and their like - in building and maintaining the Empire. But he did all this at the cost of the innocent natives and silent, maligned India, for, while extolling his ownpeople, he always depicts the abnormal aspects of the country and its inhabitants. As he thus always paints pictures of native life and character with all the bias of his countrymen, they clearly exhibit his lack of any real sympathyand understanding for the stepmother country and its inhabitants. Kipling may have mixed with inter-racial assemblies, but it did not in any way shake his firm belief in the eternal hierarchy of the Sahibs and the interminable inferiority of the indigenous people. Hemayhave been struck with the picturesqueness of India, which, as a master craftsman in the art of description and story telling, he reproduced excitingly and artistically, yet, more than anything else, he is conscious of its inherent rottenness. He knowsthat India has the merit of being twothirds sham; looking pretty on paper only. He is unhappily conscious of the tlraw, brown, naked humanity" that surrounds him and of the "want of atmosphere in the painter's sense." Aboveall, he knowsthat in India "nothing changes in spite of the shiny top-scum stuff that people call civilisation'' , Through Kipling had many opportunities of knowing and 3. IChristmas in India', R.K.f·s Verse, Def. Edn.: p.55. 4. The Biasara of Pooree!, Plain Tales Fromthe Hills: pg 62 under-abandfngIndia and its inhabitants, for, like his Kim and Tods, he spoke not only Urdu, but also "manyqueer side speechesll§ 5 he had held grave converse 'With ser'V'ants, shopkeepers and hill coolies; knewSuddhoo, the old child; Bahadur Khan, the servant of Imray Sahib, whokilled his master thinking that he had bewitched his son by praising and petting the child on the head; McIntosh Jellaludin; J anoo, Azizun and Lal.un, the ladies of the city; numerous faquirs and sadhus and had visited a number of opiumdens and serais. But, in spite of all this, Kipling's India is the superficial India as seen by a person whose vision was obscured by his racial and imperialistic bias and prejudices.