One of the most characteristic features of the modern development ofhumanity is a sharp increasingtrend towards integration, mutual influence and cooperation andinternationalization of world processes. A new stage ofdevelopment marks the transition from enclave civilizations, whichalmost did not interact with each other, towards the desire tointensify inter-civilization contacts.
This turn of universal history is connected, first of all, with thevital activity of European civilization, the existence of whichrequired constant self-reproduction and expansion.The last circumstance has found its manifestation in colonialexpansion 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 inthe colonial era, it is impossible to fully understand complex andcontradictory processes occurring in the modern era.
This raises theneed to study and rethink colonization processes, their impact on thelife of all countries and nations that were part of this process.Also, mutual contacts should be viewed not as a unidirectionalaction, but as a dialogue of different cultures and differentcivilizations, which, voluntarily or involuntarily, significantlyintensified the processes of interaction and mutual influence ofrepresentatives of different cultures, civilizations and religions.Very important and promising for historians is the thesis of themutual influence of all cultures. None of them is isolated and pure.All cultures are hybrid, heterogeneous and highly differentiated andnon-monolithic. The empires of the past have been affected by allstates, imperialism has made the world closer. Therefore, theimperial context should not be ignored during the studying of thedevelopment and interaction of cultures.
So, I would like to focus now on Britishimperialism specifically in India. And, firstly, i will begin withwhat imperialism is, how did the British come to rule India, positiveand negative effects of imperialism and after the reflection ofimperialism in the works of Kipling (“Plain Tales from the Hills”,1888).Probably, it is wrong to divide the imperial intentions and thenational culture of the metropole. It should be considered as awhole. It is also wrong to consider fiction out of the internationalcontext, out of the history of society.
Literature participated inthe expansion, it created a certain moral climate for it. At the end of the XIX century, there were a lot of works aboutempires. Through works of fiction the history became accessible to awide range of readers. Most humanists – authors of the XIX centurycould not explain the connection between the practice of slavery,colonialism and racism with the poetry, prose and philosophy of thesociety that carried out this practice. But critics often cut offsuch themes from the “sublime” culture.
Imperialism is thecultural artifact of bourgeois society. Imperialism and fictioncomplemented each other. The works of Henry Haggard, Rudyard Kipling,Joseph Conrad, Edward Morgan Forster, Arthur Conan Doyle along withthe works of ethnographers, economists, historians played a big rolein the formation of imperial psychology. For the British Empire and its cultural development the interactionof Western and Eastern civilizations was of particular importancebecause its main colony, India, was a vivid representative of Asianculture. Although India gained independence in 1947, the dispute overhow to assess the joint history of Britain and India is still actual.There is an opinion that imperialism has disfigured and destroyedIndian life so much that even after decades of independence, theIndian economy, adapted in the past to the needs of Britain,continues to suffer.
On the other hand, a number of Britishhistorians, public figures and politicians believe that thedestruction of the Empire was pernicious for both the British and theIndians. Problems of mutual relations and clashes of East and West inIndia, understanding of the “alien” culture have alwaysoccupied 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 placeamong them.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling isan English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chieflyremembered for his celebration of British imperialism, his tales andpoems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Hereceived the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.Rudyard Kipling was the first born child ofJohn Lockwood Kipling and Alice Kipling, who had settled in Indiaearlier that year. His father was a professor of architecturalsculpture; on his mother’s side there was a brace of distinguishedAunts and Uncles for the boy. One Aunt was the mother of StanleyBaldwin, future Prime Minister; another was married to Sir EdwardBurne-Jones, the distinguished Pre-Raphelite Painter.
He wrote aboutthe Anglo-Indian society, which he readily criticized with an acidpen and the life of the common British soldier and the Indian native,which he portrayed accurately and sympathetically. In 1889 Kiplingtook a long voyage through China, Japan, and the United States. Whenhe reached London, he found that his stories had preceded him andestablished him as a brilliant new author.
He was readily acceptedinto the circle of leading writers. While there he wrote a number ofstories and some of his best-remembered poems: “A Ballad of Eastand West,” “Mandalay,” and “The English Flag.”He also introduced English readers to a new type of serious poems inCockney dialect: “Danny Deever,” “Tommy,””Fuzzy-Wuzzy,” and “Gunga Din.”In 1897 the Kiplings settled in Rottingdean, avillage on the British coast near Brighton.
The outbreak of theSpanish-American War (1898; a short war between Spain and the UnitedStates over lands including Cuba and the Philippines) and the BoerWar (1899–1902; a war between Great Britain and South Africa)turned Kipling’s attention to colonial affairs. He began to publish anumber of solemn poems in standard English in the London Times. Themost famous of these, “Recessional” (July 17, 1897), issueda warning to Englishmen to regard their accomplishments in theDiamond Jubilee (fiftieth) year of Queen Victoria’s (1819–1901)reign with humility and awe rather than pride and arrogance. Theequally well-known “White Man’s Burden” (February 4, 1899)clearly expressed the attitudes toward the empire that are implied inthe stories in The Day’s Work (1898) and A Fleet in Being (1898).Kipling referred to less highly developedpeoples as “lesser breeds” and considered order,discipline, sacrifice, and humility to be the essential qualities ofcolonial rulers.
These views have been denounced as racist (believingthat one race is better than others), elitist (believing oneself tobe a part of a superior group), and jingoistic (pertaining to apatriot who speaks in favor of an aggressive and warlike foreignpolicy). But for Kipling, the term “white man” indicatedcitizens of the more highly developed nations. He felt it was theirduty to spread law, literacy, and morality throughout the world.During the Boer War, Kipling spent severalmonths in South Africa, where he raised funds for soldiers’ reliefand worked on an army newspaper, the Friend. In 1901 Kiplingpublished Kim, the last and most charming of his portrayals of Indianlife.
But anti-imperialist reaction following the end of the Boer Warcaused a decline in Kipling’s popularity.When Kipling published The Five Nations, a bookof 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 anddemocratic equality. Kipling retired to “Bateman’s,” ahouse near Burwash, a secluded village in Essex.Kipling now turned from the wide empire as hissubject to simply England itself. In 1902 he published Just SoStories for Little Children. He also issued two books of stories ofEngland’s past— Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) and Rewards and Fairies(1910).
Like the Jungle Books they were intended for young readersbut were suitable for adults as well. His most significant work atthis time was a number of volumes of short stories written in adifferent style—”Traffics and Discoveries” (1904),”Actions and Reactions” (1904), “A Diversity ofCreatures” (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’sdarkened worldview following the death of his daughter, Josephine, in1899, and the death of his son, John, in 1915. Consequently, thesestories have never been as popular as his earlier works.
But moderncritics, in reevaluating Kipling, have found a greater power anddepth that make them among his best work.In 1907 Kipling became the first English writerto receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died on January 18,1936, and is buried in Westminster Abbey in London, England. Hisautobiography, Something of Myself, was published in 1937.Rudyard Kipling’s early stories and poems aboutlife in colonial India made him a great favorite with Englishreaders. Now I would like to focus on “To Be Filed for Reference”.This story was first publishedin “Plain Tales from the Hills” in 1888.
It is the last of theforty stories in the collection. The plot of the story: McIntoshJellaludin was once a classical scholar and Fellow of an Oxfordcollege. He has abandoned the scholarly life, gone to the bad inIndia, and converted to Islam; “a tall well-built,fair man, fearfully shaken with drink, and he looked nearer fiftythan 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 helives with a native woman, becomes his friend, and listens to hisramblings as he dies of pneumonia, brought on by drink.
Before hisdeath, McIntosh bequeaths the narrator the manuscript of his book,Mother Maturin, which may or may not be a masterpiece of low life inIndia. This was the title – and indeed the theme – of Kipling’s firstattempt at a novel, of which he had written over 200 pages in 1885,but never completed.