One of the most characteristic features of the modern development of
humanity is a sharp increasing
trend towards integration, mutual influence and cooperation and
internationalization of world processes. A new stage of
development marks the transition from enclave civilizations, which
almost did not interact with each other, towards the desire to
intensify inter-civilization contacts.
This turn of universal history is connected, first of all, with the
vital activity of European civilization, the existence of which
required constant self-reproduction and expansion.
The last circumstance has found its manifestation in colonial
expansion and the creation of a single system of world economy,
without which the modern order of the world would not have arisen.
Therefore, without comprehension of the phenomena that took place in
the colonial era, it is impossible to fully understand complex and
contradictory processes occurring in the modern era. This raises the
need to study and rethink colonization processes, their impact on the
life of all countries and nations that were part of this process.
Also, mutual contacts should be viewed not as a unidirectional
action, but as a dialogue of different cultures and different
civilizations, which, voluntarily or involuntarily, significantly
intensified the processes of interaction and mutual influence of
representatives of different cultures, civilizations and religions.
Very important and promising for historians is the thesis of the
mutual influence of all cultures. None of them is isolated and pure.
All cultures are hybrid, heterogeneous and highly differentiated and
non-monolithic. The empires of the past have been affected by all
states, imperialism has made the world closer. Therefore, the
imperial context should not be ignored during the studying of the
development and interaction of cultures.
So, I would like to focus now on British
imperialism specifically in India. And, firstly, i will begin with
what imperialism is, how did the British come to rule India, positive
and negative effects of imperialism and after the reflection of
imperialism in the works of Kipling (“Plain Tales from the Hills”,
Probably, it is wrong to divide the imperial intentions and the
national culture of the metropole. It should be considered as a
whole. It is also wrong to consider fiction out of the international
context, out of the history of society. Literature participated in
the expansion, it created a certain moral climate for it.
At the end of the XIX century, there were a lot of works about
empires. Through works of fiction the history became accessible to a
wide range of readers. Most humanists – authors of the XIX century
could not explain the connection between the practice of slavery,
colonialism and racism with the poetry, prose and philosophy of the
society that carried out this practice. But critics often cut off
such themes from the “sublime” culture. Imperialism is the
cultural artifact of bourgeois society. Imperialism and fiction
complemented each other. The works of Henry Haggard, Rudyard Kipling,
Joseph Conrad, Edward Morgan Forster, Arthur Conan Doyle along with
the works of ethnographers, economists, historians played a big role
in the formation of imperial psychology.
For the British Empire and its cultural development the interaction
of Western and Eastern civilizations was of particular importance
because its main colony, India, was a vivid representative of Asian
culture. Although India gained independence in 1947, the dispute over
how to assess the joint history of Britain and India is still actual.
There is an opinion that imperialism has disfigured and destroyed
Indian life so much that even after decades of independence, the
Indian economy, adapted in the past to the needs of Britain,
continues to suffer. On the other hand, a number of British
historians, public figures and politicians believe that the
destruction of the Empire was pernicious for both the British and the
Indians. Problems of mutual relations and clashes of East and West in
India, understanding of the “alien” culture have always
occupied the minds of many British scientists and cultural figures,
and Rudyard Kipling (Dec. 30.12.1865,
Bombay, India – 18.01.1936, London, Eng.) takes a special place
Joseph Rudyard Kipling is
an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly
remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, his tales and
poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. He
received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.
Rudyard Kipling was the first born child of
John Lockwood Kipling and Alice Kipling, who had settled in India
earlier that year. His father was a professor of architectural
sculpture; on his mother’s side there was a brace of distinguished
Aunts and Uncles for the boy. One Aunt was the mother of Stanley
Baldwin, future Prime Minister; another was married to Sir Edward
Burne-Jones, the distinguished Pre-Raphelite Painter. He wrote about
the Anglo-Indian society, which he readily criticized with an acid
pen and the life of the common British soldier and the Indian native,
which he portrayed accurately and sympathetically. In 1889 Kipling
took a long voyage through China, Japan, and the United States. When
he reached London, he found that his stories had preceded him and
established him as a brilliant new author. He was readily accepted
into the circle of leading writers. While there he wrote a number of
stories and some of his best-remembered poems: “A Ballad of East
and West,” “Mandalay,” and “The English Flag.”
He also introduced English readers to a new type of serious poems in
Cockney dialect: “Danny Deever,” “Tommy,”
“Fuzzy-Wuzzy,” and “Gunga Din.”
In 1897 the Kiplings settled in Rottingdean, a
village on the British coast near Brighton. The outbreak of the
Spanish-American War (1898; a short war between Spain and the United
States over lands including Cuba and the Philippines) and the Boer
War (1899–1902; a war between Great Britain and South Africa)
turned Kipling’s attention to colonial affairs. He began to publish a
number of solemn poems in standard English in the London Times. The
most famous of these, “Recessional” (July 17, 1897), issued
a warning to Englishmen to regard their accomplishments in the
Diamond Jubilee (fiftieth) year of Queen Victoria’s (1819–1901)
reign with humility and awe rather than pride and arrogance. The
equally well-known “White Man’s Burden” (February 4, 1899)
clearly expressed the attitudes toward the empire that are implied in
the stories in The Day’s Work (1898) and A Fleet in Being (1898).
Kipling referred to less highly developed
peoples as “lesser breeds” and considered order,
discipline, sacrifice, and humility to be the essential qualities of
colonial rulers. These views have been denounced as racist (believing
that one race is better than others), elitist (believing oneself to
be a part of a superior group), and jingoistic (pertaining to a
patriot who speaks in favor of an aggressive and warlike foreign
policy). But for Kipling, the term “white man” indicated
citizens of the more highly developed nations. He felt it was their
duty to spread law, literacy, and morality throughout the world.
During the Boer War, Kipling spent several
months in South Africa, where he raised funds for soldiers’ relief
and worked on an army newspaper, the Friend. In 1901 Kipling
published Kim, the last and most charming of his portrayals of Indian
life. But anti-imperialist reaction following the end of the Boer War
caused a decline in Kipling’s popularity.
When Kipling published The Five Nations, a book
of South African verse, in 1903, he was attacked in parodies
(satirical imitations), caricatures (exaggerations for comic effect),
and serious protests as the opponent of a growing spirit of peace and
democratic equality. Kipling retired to “Bateman’s,” a
house near Burwash, a secluded village in Essex.
Kipling now turned from the wide empire as his
subject to simply England itself. In 1902 he published Just So
Stories for Little Children. He also issued two books of stories of
England’s past— Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) and Rewards and Fairies
(1910). Like the Jungle Books they were intended for young readers
but were suitable for adults as well. His most significant work at
this time was a number of volumes of short stories written in a
different style—”Traffics and Discoveries” (1904),
“Actions and Reactions” (1904), “A Diversity of
Creatures” (1917), “Debits and Credits” (1926), and
“Limits and Renewals” (1932).
Kipling’s later stories treat more complex,
subtle, and somber (serious) subjects. They reflect Kipling’s
darkened worldview following the death of his daughter, Josephine, in
1899, and the death of his son, John, in 1915. Consequently, these
stories have never been as popular as his earlier works. But modern
critics, in reevaluating Kipling, have found a greater power and
depth that make them among his best work.
In 1907 Kipling became the first English writer
to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died on January 18,
1936, and is buried in Westminster Abbey in London, England. His
autobiography, Something of Myself, was published in 1937.
Rudyard Kipling’s early stories and poems about
life in colonial India made him a great favorite with English
Now I would like to focus on “To Be Filed for Reference”.
This story was first published
in “Plain Tales from the Hills” in 1888. It is the last of the
forty stories in the collection. The plot of the story: McIntosh
Jellaludin was once a classical scholar and Fellow of an Oxford
college. He has abandoned the scholarly life, gone to the bad in
India, and converted to Islam; “a tall well-built,
fair man, fearfully shaken with drink, and he looked nearer fifty
than thirty-five, which, he said, was his real age.”(p.
The narrator happens on him one night in the Sultan Caravanserai,
drunk and helpless, helps him home to his filthy lodgings where he
lives with a native woman, becomes his friend, and listens to his
ramblings as he dies of pneumonia, brought on by drink. Before his
death, McIntosh bequeaths the narrator the manuscript of his book,
Mother Maturin, which may or may not be a masterpiece of low life in
India. This was the title – and indeed the theme – of Kipling’s first
attempt at a novel, of which he had written over 200 pages in 1885,
but never completed.