Skip to comments.India to turn Rudyard Kipling house into museum but ignores author
Posted on 01/29/2010 9:19:53 PM PST by bruinbirdman
The house where Rudyard Kipling was born in India is to be turned into a museum, but the author will be written out of history, failing to get a mention anywhere in the building because of political sensitivities.
The foundation restoring the Mumbai house has shelved plans to use it to house a Kipling museum, fearing that commemorating the author of The White Mans Burden and chronicler of the British Raj, will lead to a political furore.
The house, instead, is likely to feature a collection of paintings by local artists.
The Dean's residence on the campus of Sir J.J Institute of Applied Art in Mumbai, India where Rudyard
Kipling was born
If we tried to convert it into a Kipling museum simply because Kipling was born there, that would ruffle quite a few feathers. In the political storm, you may find that the conservation effort would be set aside, said Mukund Gorashkar, who is in charge of the project for the JSW Foundation, which plans to start the renovation work next month. Kipling was born in 1865 in the Deans bungalow in the grounds of the JJ School of Art in the bustling Victorian heart of the then Bombay. His father, John Lockwood Kipling, was the schools first dean.
Kipling described the location of the bungalow in his poem To the City of Bombay. His experiences there formed the template for the character he created in his novel Kim a white boy who is indistinguishable from the Indian children around him.
Mr Gorashkar said the municipal government officials with whom he had dealt since the project began had reprimanded him whenever he referred to the building as the Kipling house, and insisted that it be called the Deans house.
Sharad Keskar, Chairman
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Bah. Here’s a note to the overly sensitive
Read ‘White Man’s Burden.’ Yeah, yeah, racist, racist. Whatever.
Fine. Replace the words ‘white man’ with ‘First World’ or ‘republic’ or ‘empire’.
Now, look around the world, and tell me where that poem reads false.
I wouldn't say pandering to it...more like reluctantly giving in to it.
It's brilliant and one of my favorites. Kipling was going through a great deal of suffering at the time he wrote it.
Published in October 1919 when the poet was 53 years old, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" has proved enduringly popular, despite the fact that copybooks disappeared from schoolrooms in Britain and America during, or shortly after, World War 2. A copybook was an exercise book used to practice one's handwriting in. The pages were blank except for horizontal rulings and a printed specimen of perfect handwriting at the top. You were supposed to copy this specimen all down the page. The specimens were proverbs or quotations, or little commonplace hortatory or admonitory sayingsthe ones in the poem illustrate the kind of thing. These were the copybook headings.
Kipling had lost his dearly loved son in World War 1, and a precious daughter some years earlier. He was a drained man in 1919, and England, with which he identified intensely, was a drained nation.
I’ve always known it as “Custis-Lee Mansion”.
To be fair to some of Rudyard Kipling’s critics, it’s sometimes hard to tell his condescension from his irony.
The saddest thing of all is that Kipling is not a bad author! He doesn’t disparage India or Indian heritage at all. Look at his beloved Jungle Book. And “White Man’s Burden”, is a very melancholy piece. I know academia loves to take potshots at the work as an unmitigated jingoistic work, but that’s hardly the case.
“Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
“Why brought he from our bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”
He calls out this bullshit, no doubt he’d find it humorous how India ‘remembers’ him.