The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #160996   Message #3821893
Posted By: meself
21-Nov-16 - 01:12 PM
Thread Name: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
It was obviously written as an anti-racism poem.

Now, you could subject it to a post-colonial, post-modern analysis and reveal how Kipling in his attempt to write an anti-racism poem betrayed his actual racism, and add a little armchair Freudianism to show how Kipling deep in his psyche wanted to express racist sentiments as a way of killing his father (the savage other) and seducing his mother (i.e., Queen Victoria) and incidentally promote the Imperial cause ... or you could take it as Kipling saying that relatively powerful white people should not abuse and take advantage of relatively powerless non-white people because a non-white person can be of character not only as good as but possibly superior to that of a white person.

The comparison of Gunga Din with hunting songs makes no sense - hunting songs celebrate hunting while Gunga Din criticizes racism.

On the other hand - hearing someone reciting or singing Gunga Din today, I might suspect that they are taking a little too much enjoyment in uttering the racist words that come from the 'voice' of the poem.