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The Tales of Buldeo

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"...he went off to a circle that met every evening on a masonry platform under a great fig-tree. It was the village club, and the head-man and the watchman and the barber, who knew all the gossip of the village, and old Buldeo, the village hunter, who had a Tower musket, met and smoked. The monkeys sat and talked in the upper branches, and there was a hole under the platform where a cobra lived, and he had his little platter of milk every night because he was sacred; and the old men sat around the tree and talked, and pulled at the big huqas (the water-pipes) till far into the night. They told wonderful tales of gods and men and ghosts; and Buldeo told even more wonderful ones of the ways of beasts in the jungle, till the eyes of the children sitting outside the circle bulged out of their heads. Most of the tales were about animals, for the jungle was always at their door. The deer and the wild pig grubbed up their crops, and now and again the tiger carried off a man at twilight, within sight of the village gates. Mowgli, who naturally knew something about what they were talking of, had to cover his face not to show that he was laughing, while Buldeo, the Tower musket across his knees, climbed on from one wonderful story to another, and Mowgli's shoulders shook. "..."

Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book, Chapter V, Tiger! Tiger!
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Apr 13, 2018, 9:54:20 AM
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LeeM's avatar
These days Kipling gets a lot of stick for his Imperialist attitudes, but by God, the man could write.
saramarconato's avatar
I am the first to say that Kipling has an imperialist mindset. In some writings that is declared (think about "The White Man's Burden"), in others this is softened. In Jungle Book, although is much more a fairytale and the protagonist is Indian himself, there is some veiled criticism to Indian mentality, considered superstitous. In The Invasion of the Jungle and Spring's Run English indirectly save the situation, too, and this is quite meaningful. However, we have to consider that this was the main way of thinking of Victorian Era and maybe a justification for colonialism (I have no guils on dominate a land and its people and steal their resources if I consider them inferior, half devil and half child). In the other side, Kipling make Western world know a unknow and fascinating land that is India.

So, as a contemporary woman, I really don't share and I'm horrified by this way of thinking. I think 
"The White Man's Burden" is one of the most racist literature I have ever read (It really shocked me for days). However, Jungle Book is a fairytale mostly outside human world and it has some universal teachings. For this, I like Jungle Book and I enjoy telling it to my cub scouts, in spite of everything.