by Rudyard Kipling

Reviewer Rating:


My review covers only one work from this collection: Gunga Din is a poem by the author of the famous Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling. Kipling spent a good part of his life in India and this poem shows a glimpse into the lives of the British military stationed there in the late 19th century. A local Indian man is revered by the narrator for his noble character as he delivers water to the fighting troops. 

For a modern reader, it is surprising to see some of the offensive language used to describe the Indian man, Gunga Din. Moreover, I'm sure the sentiment, "Tho' I've belted you and flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" would not be so lightly accepted by the general populace nowadays.

I'd say the greatest value provided by this book is the look into the past that it provides to us - unethical wars, racism, and imperialism - all presented as noble and acceptable pursuits and without the critiques that time has required modern writers to provide. 

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