The great Rudyard Kipling, whose famous ‘Jungle Book’ had recently been crafted into a movie, had explored India and made the country known to the larger part of the English speaking world through his writings. Marking Kipling’s 150th birth anniversary, author Subhash Chopra presents a fresh insight of the man who had swayed the minds of generations on English speaking people around the world.
The book is a critical analysis of Kipling’s literature. Kipling’s views, on the black-white relationship, and the East-West union through his novel Kim and his verses, have been thoroughly explored and critiqued. Certain facts of racism and the snob appeal of Kipling has been pointed out by Chopra. The use of the word ‘heathen’ in his poems ‘The ‘Eathen’ and ‘Mandalay’ is very controversial even with his affectionate approach to the Indian characters. His poetic tributes to different cities in India are nostalgic, but then again his approach to the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, as he described were “ponderous record on nothingness”!
The author here, wittily noted that Kipling’s thought process matched to that of Lord Macaulay, according to whom ‘a single shelf of European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.’
The book also has some important extracts from writings of George Orwell on Rudyard Kipling, and the latter’s letter to Theodore Roosevelt, Kipling’s obituary by Punjab governor Sir Michael O’ Dwyer and studies on Kipling’s poems and children’s stories. Kipling Sahib is a work of extensive research and patience, for readers who are patient enough to unearth the mysteries of Joseph Rudyard Kipling and sit through the long journey will enjoy the informative contents of the book. While people who are interested in happening fiction, may not find this work very interesting.
Subhash Chopra had been associated with the Indian media, print media, television, and news agencies and is currently a freelancer. With his in-depth knowledge and observational skills, he has penned down books like India and Britannia – An Abiding Affair, Essays and studies in English Literature and Partition, Jihad & Peace — South Asia After Bin Laden.