08 November 2012

Rudyard Kipling - A fine chap!!

Stories of India
didn't like it it was ok liked it (my current rating) really liked it it was amazing

Rudyard Kipling writer of Jungle Book, probably the most revered and popular story for children. When I picked up this book, I assumed that he would be probably a colonial version of Ruskin Bond. But Rudyard Kipling is anything but that. His fiction is not really a child’s play. He writes about people and situations in a most comical way reminding me of humorous works of Oscar Wilde and Jerome K. Jerome.

The stories, characters, situations, portrayals, dialogues are fresh, rich and funny, even though they were written almost a 100 years ago. The language was very Victorian so I had a tough time occasionally when my understanding and interest hit roadblocks of heavy and cursive words of Victorian times. But the stories probably would not have been so funny if not in such a honorary language justifying the colonial times the stories are based on. The most light and funny situations are explained in such a rich language that they seem not so ordinary and indeed exceptional. It beautifully highlights the eccentricities of the so to believe rich, cultured and polished British class in India and their funny interactions with the native population. The hope, beliefs, simplicity, faith and superstitions of the natives coupled with brute, cluelessness, straight jacket, heavy handedness of the British creates tongue in cheek humour – guarantee to generate a lot of wonder, sighs, laughs and giggles on narration back home in England.

For all the lovers of Victorian English and the writings on colonial India, this is a treat. My favourite stories were –Preface (from Life’s Handicap) with Govind the Storyteller, Love pentagon in ‘A Wayside Comedy’,The Enlightenments of Pagett MP gives great impressions of native viewpoints on creation of Congress,The Tomb of His ancestors, Miss Youghal’s Sais, The Son of His Father, Georgie Porgie, The Miracle of Puran Bhagat, In the Pride of His Youth. Leaving you with a few memorable lines from the book:

All the earth is full of tales to him who listens and does not drive away the poor from his door. The poor are the best tale-tellers; for they must lay their ear to the ground every night. (Preface (from Life’s Handicap))

God has made very many heads, but there is only one heart in all the world among your people or my people. They are children in matter of tales. I have told tales to the little ones, but do thou this - tell them first of those things that thou hast seen and they have seen together. Thsu their knowledge will piece out they imperfections. Tell them of what thou alone hast seen, then what thou has heard, and since they be children tell them of battles and kings, horses, devils, elephants, and angels, but omit not to tell them of love and such-like. (Preface (from Life’s Handicap))

If The Colonel’s wife had been an ordinary Vessel of Wrath appointed for destruction, she would have known that when a man stays on purpose, his excuse is always sound and original. The very baldness of the Colonel’s explanation proved its truth. (Watches of the Night)

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the girls came out to play
Georgie Porgie ran away.(Georgie Porgie)

Good work does not matter because a man is judged by his worst output, and another man takes all the credit of his best as a rule. (Thrown Away)
Pride of Race, which also means race hatred, is the plague and curse of India and it spreads far. Begin with the North, there’s the Afghan, and, as a highlander, he despises all the dwellers in Hindustan – with the exception of the Sikh, whom he hates as cordially as the Sikh hates him. The Hindu loathes Sikh and Afghan, and the Rajput, that’s a little lower down across this yellow bit of desert – has a strong objection, to put it mildly, to the Maratha, who, by the way, poisonously hates Afghan. The Sindhi hates everybody I’ve mentioned. The Behari of the North-West ridicules the Bengali. Hate – eternal and inextinguishable hate. Remember Canning’s advice to Lord Granville: “Never write or speak Indian things without looking at a map”.(The Enlightenments of Pagett MP)When you are sure of a majority, election is a fine system; but you can scarcely expect the Mohammedans, the most masterful and powerful minority in the country, to contemplate their own extinction with joy. (The Enlightenments of Pagett MP)
He was fever proof. A night’s sitting out over a tethered goat in a damp valley, that would have filled an English Major with a month’s malaria, had no effect on him. He was, as they said, ‘salted before he was born’. (The Tomb of His ancestors)
It’s an awful thing to have a son. You see, he’s your own and his own, and between the two you don’t quite know how to handle him. (The Son of His Father)
<<Image Credits: Here>>


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...