Some Words On Rudyard Kipling

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”-Kipling

When my son was Bar Mitzvahed in 1998, at the end of my speech, I read this poem to the congregation. In addition, I think I assisted one of my children in research on a paper on Rudyard Kipling and got to know him very well, the good and the bad. Now that my son is living in India, revisiting Kipling seems just right. Kipling was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) and loved it as a child, but his parents sent him back to England for his education and due to their feeling of superiority over the citizens of India. Kipling, “for Indians, the man praised by George Orwell as “a good bad poet” remains a divisive figure.”Andrew Walker, BBC Today, 2/19/2010

Kipling was born today in Bombay in 1865. As a child, he loved India and hated to leave it when his parents sent him back to England for his education. His parents did not go back with him so you can imagine the trauma this caused on a little boy! There has been talk of turning Kipling’s home in Mumbai into a museum, but I don’t think that has happened yet. According to The Rudyard Kipling Society of Australia, “Rudyard’s colonialist reputation remains controversial for post-colonial writers in India and elsewhere. Orwell called Kipling as a “prophet of British imperialism”, a man so devoted to duty, service and empire that his writing was bound to be full of prejudice, racism and an absolute belief in Britain’s military correctness.”

I know I’ve read some very good biographies on Kipling and it was a complicated childhood that evolved into a complicated life as a writer and a family man. His poem, “IF,” has been appreciated by millions since it was first written in 1895.”John Gray


8 thoughts on “Some Words On Rudyard Kipling

  1. Pingback: Wretched Richard’s Almanac: You’re a Better Man Than I Am | Tis Pity He's a Writer

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