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Kim (1901) is one of Kiplings most famous and representative novels.

History and
society come hand in hand as one moves through different sections of the novel. The
setting of Kiplings Kim is not only British India, but also its other socio-cultural
aspects. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 in particular is closely associated with the novel
as the story of Kim not only progresses in the center of the Great Game but also
depicts how British India has been changed in terms of social and cultural sides since
the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In Kim, Kipling specifically narrates the cruelty of the
Indian Rebellion:
A madness ate into all the Army, and they turned against their
officers. That was the first evil, but not past remedy if they
had then held their hands. But they chose to kill the Sahibs
wives and children. Then came the Sahibs from over the sea
and called them to most strict account.

When Kim was published in 1901, forty-five years had already passed since the
outset of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Nevertheless, without any hesitation, Kipling
mentions in Kim the cruelty of the Indian soldiers in the Indian Rebellion. Kipling tries
to express his thoughts on rhe Rebellion through a characters narrative Kipling tries
to express his thoughts on the Indian Rebellion through a characters narrative.
Kipling uses a term madness to describe the rebellion, considering the Indians as
the first evil. Despite the fact that Kipling does not directly mention that this
madness is the Indian Rebellion, it seems evident that he directly criticizes it. In
addition, Kipling inserts a scene into Kim in which an old soldier sings the song of
Nikal Seyn before Delhi for Kim and the Lama:Ah! Nikal Seyn is deade died
before Delhi! Lances of the North take vengeance for Nikal Seyn . Nikal Seyn
points to John Nicholson (18227), who was an army officer of the East India
Company. John Nicholson was the hero of British soldiers in the Indian Rebellion of
1857,in which he lost his life. By presenting the song of Nikal Seyn beforeDelhi,
Kipling reveals that Kim is closely associated with British-Indian history.
Kipling not only shows the history of British India but also shows some social
issues of the time. Here he shows discrimination between British and Indian, the
inferiority of Indian to the British and Racial identity crisis of the Anglo-Indain people.
Racial identity is a critical issue in Kim. Here Kim an Irish boy who face racial identity
confusion by living in British India. Al-through the novel he ask himself who is Kim.
He constantly changes his identity. He dressed himself sometimes as a British,
sometimes as a Indian. He changes his dress depending on situation. He sometimes
wanted to be a White sometimes not.
Kipling conscientiously touches Kims identity issues in the novel. kim always
emphasises the fact that he is an Sahib I am a Sahib.whenever he encounters the
natives he challenges his white authority. Here Kipling tries to show Whites a superior
being.though sometimes Kim denies the fact that he is an white. When Mahbub Ali
says once a sahib always a sahib Kim expresses his thought I do not want to be a
By Kims dual identity Kipling seems to have wanted a subject to be able to
govern India, one who is acceptable to both British and Indians. Based on his own
experience Kipling provided the image of a desirable ruler in the novel: a ruler who
would be able to govern India with ease and who understand the local culture and
society. Kipling reflects social issues here. Throughout Kim Kipling tries to provide
solutions regarding British rule of India. Though he shows Indians as inferior.
Kipling often describes the Oriental in a negative way: Kim could lie like an

When Kim and the Lama pay for a train ticket to Umballa, a ticket clerk tries to
deceive them and Kipling describes the fraud of the clerk as the immemorial
commission of Asia. Kipling also seems to criticize both the slowness of ticket
collectors and Indian passengers on the train:
Ticket-collecting is a slow business in the East, where people secret their tickets in
all sorts of curious places, while Kipling appraises the Indian road or railroad
constructed by the British: The Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs
straight, bearing without crowding
Indias traffic for fifteen hundred milessuch a river of life as nowhere else exists in
the world. However, how Kiplings narrative is perceived depends completely on
Kiplings readers. For example, some readers might be of the opinion that the British
constructed most of their
roads and railroads in India in order to exploit natural resources in India. It suggest
that Kipling seems to narrate that the roads and railroads were constructed for
Indians by the British and that they justify the British rule of India. Through his
narrative in Kim, Kipling asserts that it is
necessary for Indians to be governed by the British in order to be modernized and
civilized. In the Himalayas, the Lama was attacked and threatened by a Russian who
thinks that only they can deal with Orientals. This assault indirectly reveals that
Indians will be attacked by
Russians if India is not governed and protected by the British.

Kipling never fails to make countless rash and biased generalizations about
India and her people, which, interestingly, come from the adult narrator as
opposed to Kim himself. In Chapter Four, for example, Kipling has a native
woman assert that the British who seem to know India are:
the sort to oversee justice. They know the land and the
customs of the land.
This quotation has an
element of sarcasm, because it comes from the voice of a native
and the Indians certainly were not in favor of the British or
British rule.
In addition, Kipling tries to justify British rights to rule India, by revealing that Asians
are inferior. He does this through the means of the character Hurree Babu, an
intelligence agent working for the British: I [Babu] am unfortunately Asiatic, which is
serious detriment in some respects. And also I am Bengali fearful man. In addition,
Kipling associates negative things with the Oriental: He [Kim] had all the Orientals
indifference to mere noise. Indifference to mere noise
cannot only be applied to the Oriental, but rather to all humans. Kiplings aim seems
to have been to criticize the Oriental in order to strengthen and justify British
imperialism, by mentioning the negative aspects of Asians in the novel, such as Kim
could lie like an Oriental , the immemorial commission of Asia, ticket-collecting is
a slow business in the East, and the huckster instinct of the East. In fact, these
things can happen, not just in India, but anywhere in the world. Kipling describes the
negative aspects of Asia in the novel, in order to consolidate
the British rule of India, trying to find justification for British control of India.
In this way Kipling touches the social issue of the time. He shows India in a very
negative way and its people as a inferior being. By the inferiority of native people
Kipling tries to emphasises that it is only British people who can govern India.

In the conclusion Kim can be read as a great document of its historical

moment and, likewise as an aesthetic milestone along the way to
midnight August 14-15, 1947, a moment whose children have done so
much to revise our sense of the past's richness and its enduring
problems5. Kim is a major contribution to this Orientalized India or
imagination, as it is also to what historians have come to call invention of
tradition. But at the same time the book may be regarded as the
authorized monument of nineteenth-century European culture, and the
inferiority of nonwhite races, the necessity that they be ruled by a
superior race, and their absolute unchanging essence was a more or less
unquestioned axiom of modern life6.