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“There is no sin so great as ignorance”… Rudyard Kipling

Posted by Big John on February 26, 2016

Recently I watched a TV documentary about Rudyard Kipling. It was a very interesting programme and reminded me of how much I have enjoyed reading his works over the years.

You may have guessed that ‘Barrack-Room Ballads’ is one of my favourites due to my interest in Victorian times and the lives of the ‘rank and file’ who fought and died in the far flung corners of the British Empire during that period in history. My use of the word ‘Gawd’ in my posts may also have given it away.

If you have not read these poems, I should warn you that they do not fall into the category of politically-correct, although ‘Fuzzy-Wuzzy’ was written about the bravery and fighting skills of Sudanese tribesmen and his …

“Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din…

… Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
         By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
     You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”

… are extracts from a poem complicated by the reality of imperialism and the overtones of racism. However, this soldier’s tribute to the Indian servant who saved his life is touching nonetheless.

 When I was just about old enough to read, around 70 or so years ago, I made friends with a boy named Lenny. We sometimes played together in his house, and one day we discovered some rather battered old books hidden away under the stairs. One of them was …

jungle-book-x (250x328)

and once we started reading it, we couldn’t put it down. In fact, we read it over and over again. In the end I’m sure we knew most of it by heart and would quote long passages as we played at being Mowgli in some imagined jungle.

So, as I look at my overloaded shelves, I have to thank old Rudyard (and Lenny) for ‘firing my imagination’ and for my great love of books …

… “pass the duster” ! 


2 Responses to ““There is no sin so great as ignorance”… Rudyard Kipling”

  1. Grannymar said

    Will a long handled feather duster do?

  2. rummuser said

    I think that people of our age group were all inspired by Kipling. I sure was.

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