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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

KIM III -- chapter 2.1: De-Plane! De-Plane! :: Te-Rain! Te-Rain!

Kim and the Lama
STOP READING HERE: "The last of the Great Ones," said the Sikh with authority, "was Sikander Julkarn (Alexander the Great). He paved the streets of Jullundur and built a great tank near Umballa. That pavement holds to this day; and the tank is there also. I never heard of thy God."
  1. Evaluate the racism of India as it appears in the book.  Is there racism about Kipling himself, Kim, or simply the culture in general.  If not Kipling, since the narrative is essentially described through Kim's eyes, does Kipling, do you believe, possess any of that racism?
  2. Cool pun: "I know the ways of the train" :: "I know the ways of the te-rain/terrain."
  3. By continuation of the number 1, what happens on the train--at least the night trains--that can never happen elsewhere?  Judging by the so-public display between Husband and Wife, is there more "freedom" (for my lack of a better word) here than elsewhere?  Notice which individuals (as much as I can tell by my limited understanding of India back then (or now, for that matter)) don't care about caste and which do.
  4. "Are we Rajahs to throw away good silver when the world is so charitable?"
  5. Check Google Earth if you get a chance for the relative locations of Lahore (in Pakistan) to Umballah (Ambala, modern spelling) to Benares (or Banaras, official called Varanasi).
  6. There is a crazy amount of folklore throughout the world built around rivers, and, more often than not, their healing effects, from La Llarona to Naaman and Styx to the Ganges (also called, as it is in Kim, the Gunga), not to mention the general Buddhist comparison (if I'm not mistaken, which is always a possibility, unfortunately) between the flow of life and the flow of a river.  Also, there's an obvious visual correlation between the path of an arrow as compared to that of a river.  Thoughts about this general confluence?
  7. "He began in Urdu the tale of the Lord Buddha, but, borne by his own thoughts, slid into Tibetan and long-droned texts from a Chinese book of the Buddha's life. The gentle, tolerant folk looked on reverently. All India is full of holy men stammering gospels in strange tongues."  Tolerant, nonplussed, or numbly indifferent?


  1. 1. Oh, I think Kipling was definitely quite a bit racist. He's the one who penned the line, "white man's burden," (to educate, civilize, etc. the non-European nations).
    3. Yeah, I think that may be right. It's a lot more sincere.
    6. I'm not sure if you did this intentionally, but, "confluence," may have been one of the 10 greatest puns ever in that paragraph. And I think that the "magic" of rivers just comes down to the fact that they've always been such an important source of life for humanity, from drinking to raising crops to trading. You can't really escape the importance of rivers, historically at least, so it makes sense that they would take on such a mystical aura.
    7. The last one, I think. At this point, it just goes in one ear and out the other.

  2. 1. I didn't know that, and it would make far less sense if there was someone from such an Empire that WASN'T racist, at least to a degree.
    3. Easier to racially and socially blend on a train, and so a lot of the prejudices are put on hold, or at least sublimated.
    6. O, how I'm tempted to claim the pun! Unfortunately, I think I will have to simply put to subconscious genius. :) (I've never been very good at making puns, sadly.) And, yes, I agree with you wholly.
    7. Yes. Despite numbers 1 and 3, there's not so much tolerance that any listens to be polite, and certainly there's no one described that may have particular religious interest.


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