Monday, 18 April 2016


Rudyard Kipling author of Jungle Book, Kim but it was his first book Plain Tales From The Hills published in 1888 which got into the headlines.

Up till then the British Raj was pictured in its full glory but there was adultery, loneliness and betrayal of which Kipling wrote about. He also mentioned the most shocking fact - suicide.

He was criticised for letting the side down and in India as well as in the England there was fury about the revelation. India was the Jewel in the Crown and immorality was never thought of and unacceptable.

Kipling wrote another interracial love story betrayed the English being in the wrong and not the locals.

Although his fame was growing rapidly but showing the British Empire in the wrong light was too much to accept and he was told to go home.

Rudyard Kipling was born in India but sent back to  England when still a child. It was the general customs of the British Raj to sent them back to schools in England.

He returned when he was 16 in 1882. He landed in Bombay, the Gateway of India, and travelled to Lahore now Pakistan.

He started as a journalists with the Civil and Military Gazette reported on Gymkhanas and polo matches. The British lived separately from the local population in newly built mansions. Kipling became bored with their isolated livestyle.

In the coming summer when all the British moved up into the hills to escape the boiling heat of the summer. Kipling disenjunted with the live of his parents in a huge mansion and drinking tea, going to parties or to clubs to pass the time.

He began to visit the walled city of Lahore where he found an entire different world to the British Raj. He found a world of colours, loud music, alley ways, bazaars, dancing girls and liquor shops. It was a world full of temptation as well as fascination.

He had now broken the unwritten rule of mixing with natives. He also started to take opium, morphine and Indian hemp. It was assumed it was Kipling who wrote an article on an opium trip in the Civil and Military Gazette but never confirmed.

Kipling also associated with Lahore's prostitutes but they were not just ordinary street walkers. They were well educated in poetries, songs and dances. It was these women who showed Rudyard the real India. He bagun to write stories with tragic ending across the racial barrier.

Kipling went to Simla, another hills station, where the British spent the summer avoiding the unbearable heat and including diseases. Simla were the cream of the British Raj stayed but also a hot bed for disgraceful behaviour.

The so called "fishing Fleet" - British high classed girls coming to India to find a husband. The "grass widows", whose husbands had to stay on the plain, indulging themselves with handsome soldiers living in Simla. A place "Scandal Point" was in town to exchange gossip. Kipling loved it all at first but became eventually bored with it.

There was a complete difference to the description in England's magazine and newsapers of the British Raj and Kipling shocked them all by writing about all their scandal.

Rudyard Kipling returned to England and wrote most of his books and many of his poems there. In 1907 he received the Literature Nobel Price. He was the youngest and the first English speaking recipient. He refused a knight hood.

He started to travel again and went to the USA and South Africa. On his return to England he settled in Sussex when he died aged 70 years in 1936.

In spite of writing about the real life of the British Raj and was heavily criticised he is still regarded as a brilliant, classic writer. His books are still printed and in demand.

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