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Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?

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A PRESENT FROM THE GENTLEMEN
ENGLAND HAS TAKEN ME
ENGLAND SWINGS
GENTLEMEN-RANKERS
OAK, ASH, AND THORN
THE BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND
THE FRENCH WARS
THE LADIES
THE SONG OF THE BANJO
THE YOUNG BRITISH SOLDIER
WHEN 'OMER SMOTE 'IS BLOOMIN' LYRE


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Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 16 - 08:42 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Nov 16 - 08:52 AM
Will Fly 21 Nov 16 - 08:57 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Nov 16 - 08:57 AM
Will Fly 21 Nov 16 - 08:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 16 - 09:13 AM
Mrrzy 21 Nov 16 - 09:45 AM
CupOfTea 21 Nov 16 - 11:10 AM
Brian Peters 21 Nov 16 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Andy7 21 Nov 16 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 21 Nov 16 - 11:39 AM
Jeri 21 Nov 16 - 01:00 PM
meself 21 Nov 16 - 01:12 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 16 - 01:33 PM
Bonzo3legs 21 Nov 16 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Senoufou 21 Nov 16 - 01:43 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 16 - 01:43 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 16 - 01:50 PM
DMcG 21 Nov 16 - 02:03 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Nov 16 - 02:21 PM
meself 21 Nov 16 - 02:26 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 16 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Ed 21 Nov 16 - 02:36 PM
punkfolkrocker 21 Nov 16 - 03:21 PM
Will Fly 21 Nov 16 - 06:12 PM
meself 21 Nov 16 - 06:25 PM
Greg F. 21 Nov 16 - 06:27 PM
meself 21 Nov 16 - 08:38 PM
Steve Shaw 21 Nov 16 - 08:48 PM
Steve Shaw 21 Nov 16 - 09:06 PM
Phil Cooper 21 Nov 16 - 10:31 PM
Jeri 21 Nov 16 - 10:57 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 16 - 03:38 AM
FreddyHeadey 22 Nov 16 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,Mathew 22 Nov 16 - 08:44 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 16 - 09:26 AM
Nigel Parsons 22 Nov 16 - 12:11 PM
meself 22 Nov 16 - 12:53 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 16 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,crater52 22 Nov 16 - 01:32 PM
Jeri 22 Nov 16 - 01:36 PM
robomatic 22 Nov 16 - 01:48 PM
meself 22 Nov 16 - 02:13 PM
DMcG 22 Nov 16 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Ed 22 Nov 16 - 04:10 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 16 - 05:28 PM
Joe_F 22 Nov 16 - 06:54 PM
meself 22 Nov 16 - 08:02 PM
Lighter 22 Nov 16 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,Desi C 24 Nov 16 - 11:07 AM
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Subject: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 08:42 AM

I'll not post the lyrics but here is a link to them.

Nowadays people just wouldn't publish anything like it but, at the time, it was OK. As a social record of people's attitudes it is a fine example. I would happily sing it at a folk club, just as I would sing hunting songs without advocating hunting.

Would you and why?

Just interested!
Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 08:52 AM

The title above should perhaps read Racist AND of its time.

We have a great struggle much of the time when dealing with historical artefacts. We are firstly obliged to present them as they were at the time and this immediately clashes with modern outlooks.
People living in the 'free' western world (and some others) have no excuse for perpetuating unfounded prejudices. However, these prejudices are still endemic in all societies. As someone who edits music of earlier periods I try to make it clear that these are artefacts from an earlier period and if we do not include them, or alter them, then we are denying our history which can be a very dangerous road to go down.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 08:57 AM

I think Kipling's writing polarises opinion.

My own opinion, for what it's worth, is that he was of his time but - more interestingly than that - he was one of the few British authors of that period to write with a keen understanding of, and sympathy for India and its culture. "Kim" is a case in point, and we tend to forget that, when he was a young writer in India, his stuff like "Plain Tales From The Raj" was considered subversive and "not the thing".

The casual, accepted racism or anti-semitism or anti-feminism of a particular period is not acceptable today, but understandable in its time. I quite like some of the stuff by Dorothy Sayers and J.B. Priestley, but dislike the casual anti-semitism which comes through now and then.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 08:57 AM

I should have added, public performance is quite a different thing. By singing a hunting song you are not necessarily condoning hunting per se, but by singing about racial stereotypes in a derogatory way I can't see how this could be condoned, even by stating clearly it is 'of its time'.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 08:59 AM

Sorry, Steve - our posts crossed, but I think you're quite right here.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 09:13 AM

But surely if I were to sing Gunga Din I would not be portraying my views at all but those of a soldier in India during the time of the British empire. Even then, in the last few lines, that soldier shows regret for abusing the eponymous water bearer. I suppose you would have to ensure that people did know they were not your views though! I recall someone singing Eric Bogles 'I hate wogs' and someone else, not realising it was satire, storming out of the room :-(

D.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 09:45 AM

Both, yes. I can't sing whaling songs any more, but this poem doesn't bother me as much.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 11:10 AM

I remember being shocked when an educated young (30s) man's vehement reaction to my talking about my enjoyment of Kipling, particularly songs, was revulsion at my liking such a "fascist, imperialist, and racist" author. He would not debate this opinion nor answer what in particular of Kipling had offended him so.

I really wonder about what he was taught to make such a blanket dismissal, and it did have me looking closely at a bit of Kipling's writing with an eye for the unsavory "isms." The conclusion I came to was that he did not see Kipling in context- as you've suggested "of his times" - and ignoring that context eliminates comprehension of the author's intent and impact. I have been aware that some of what I sing requires some introduction to give it context, but singing history's songs is such a good way to give the flavor of the times. Steve and Will, above, make excellent points about this.

Not only is it unfair, but also ignorant, to critique the writings of previous eras as if they were written today. Living in a Trumped up time, "racist" as a blanket condemnation of someone's entire person implies a whole set of nasty and oppressive behaviors: active racism. In TODAY'S terms, racist means vicious threats, violent actions, intimidation, erecting barriers (in many senses) against other races. This is not at all what Kipling was about. In Kipling, I see it as a passive racism that he explored, and deplored, in some of his work. I argue that Kipling's was the racism of his times, but not of ours.

Joanne in Cleveland, aware of white privilege, and dealing with it.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 11:15 AM

Isn't the most important line in the poem the very last one?


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: GUEST,Andy7
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 11:34 AM

The Magnet comic started up in 1908.

In one of the very first issues, Frank Richards introduces an Indian boy, who soon becomes an integral character in the stories, and who is welcomed into the central group of friends.

In the first story featuring the Indian boy, the class bully refers to him using the 'n' word. The Indian boy replies that he's not a negro, he's an Indian, adding, "... although I have a great respect for the negro race."

Ignoring the outdated use of the word 'negro', this shows that, while racism was deeply entrenched in society, more enlightened attitudes also existed all those years ago.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 11:39 AM

Racism is very much a modern concept.

It is always misguided to judge what was acceptable in the past by what is considered, not by everyone, to be acceptable now.

Kipling was not racist when he wrote so cannot be racist now. Whether you choose to use his material is a personal choice.

Someone above said that hunting songs were OK for him - some might say that they are not. Burning unfaithful wives was OK in the Child ballads - now?

I try to take everything in the context in which it was written, if you did otherwise we would have very few old songs to sing.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:00 PM

There's a level of understanding that involves something more than literal translation. I hear Kipling ridiculing the common beliefs of the time that non-white English folks are superior. The voices in the poem express that, while everything Kipling, and the first-person in the poem shows how wrong they are.

The poem IS "of its time" but the racist element is what it's calling out as ignorant and wrong.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: meself
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:12 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:33 PM

The comparison, meself, was merely for illustrative purposes. Hunting songs, Gunga Din and the previously mentioned 'I hate wogs' can all be seen as offensive if taken in the wrong way. They are all songs that may need careful consideration before singing.

I would also dispute the absolute view that Gunga Din criticises racism. I agree that it is one possible viewpoint but it could also be seen as a white supremacist being astounded to find that an Indian could be as good as him (An' for all 'is dirty 'ide, 'E was white, clear white, inside) You will also note that the narrator waits until after the death of 'good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din' before he praises him. And then only after making the assumption that, even though he was a good man, he would be going to hell. Presumably because he was an 'eathen.

Talking of hell - Just being devil's advocate here :-) I don't hold either view firmly.

DtG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:35 PM

The nutty left will read racism in whatever they can, it's a notifiable incurable disease.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:43 PM

Hmm, I'm not sure about this poem (I've known it all my life)
The point seems to me to be that Gunga Din was only respect-worthy once he proveded himself fearless in battle and risking his life (and losing it) to help and save his white 'superiors'. If he had merely continued fetching water and performing servant's duties, presumably they would have continued bullying and abusing him ad infinitum.

It reminds me of the attitude of my parents to their excellent dentist (in the fifties) who happened to be black. They often remarked how wonderful he was 'in spite of being a black man' (!!!) and when I was in hospital aged seven with a badly broken leg, my attention was drawn to the kindly black nurse who gently washed me. 'They' make very good nurses don't 'they'?

In a word, it's patronising.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:43 PM

Why make that comment Bonzo? There was nothing political in my question or the ensuing discussion until you brought it in. If you would like to raise the subject of whether any particular political leaning has the monopoly on idiocy please feel free to do so below the line. I would prefer to keep this discussion free of such distractions please.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:50 PM

Brian - Yes, probably. It is the last line in which I believe the narrator seeks to redeem himself for abusing Gunga Din so much earlier. Whether it pays the debt, I don't know. I am sure you know Kipling and his works better than I (The Widow's uniform soundtrack is playing as I type :-) ) so, do you think it does?

D.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: DMcG
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 02:03 PM

I am with Jeri and meself on this one. In fact I referenced this poem about a fortnight ago saying it showed how complex Kipling get was as a character. You should not underestimate how striking it was to claim Gunga Din could be a better person than a well bred, respectable English man.


Patronising? It would be written today, but only because most of us already accept the import of those last lines.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 02:21 PM

Mrrzy,
Why can't you sing 'whaling songs' any more? That's silly (IMO). Okay songs glorifying whaling perhaps, but there are many whaling songs simply telling it as it was, and this was a very important part of our history. The main reason for not going whaling today is that all the vital products we once got from whaling can now be produced synthetically from non-animal products. (I'm a vegetarian BTW but I sing plenty of whaling songs as part of our heritage. I'm not aware that any of these songs glorify what was done.)

Any person (IMO) who says we shouldn't kill whales for meat and eats meat is a hypocrit in my book. There, that should put the catfish among the penguins!


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: meself
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 02:26 PM

I think many of you are mistaking the character who is speaking in the poem for Kipling himself.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 02:36 PM

An interesting point, meself. It is Kipling of course that puts the words in the narrators mouth but is he voicing his own words or mimicking what he hears the ordinary soldier say? And to what extent is he recording those ordinary soldiers words impartially? I am not, alas, a Kipling scholar. I am sure many could tell us the answers. Possibly many different answers to the same question in diametrically opposed ways at times :-D

DtG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 02:36 PM

Any person (IMO) who says we shouldn't kill whales for meat and eats meat is a hypocrit in my book.

I'm sorry Steve, but that's an entirely ill thought through position. There is a vast difference between hunting endangered species for food and eating cows or chickens etc of which there are literally billions...

Apologies, Dave for the thread drift.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 03:21 PM

I had similar issues to consider when I wrote my degree dissertation on H. Rider Haggard back in 1983 / 84..

I needed to reconcile my own simple pleasure and excitement at reading his African Adventures,
with my youthful politicized student awareness of ideologies of colonialism and racism..

plus.. the sheer fun of those books brought me through some dark days following the break up of a 6 year relationship,
and serious doubts about whether I even wanted to continue and finish my degree...

I spent a year immersed in many of Haggard's novels, biographies and diaries..

[.. entries regarding his friendship with Kipling]..

Haggard came out of it quite well and I salvaged a 2:2 even though I had to drop about 4000 words
of critical analysis due to only giving myself 2 days to write the bloody thing before I delivered it at the last minute to the typist... 😬


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 06:12 PM

I think anyone who wants to understand Kipling should have a read of Charles Allen's "Kipling Sahib", which deals largely with his upbringing in India and his work on newspapers, plus his early writings.

A most complex individual.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: meself
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 06:25 PM

The whole poem builds up to the famous last line: "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" - I don't know how Kipling (or his speaker) could have made it any plainer.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Greg F.
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 06:27 PM

I can't sing whaling songs any more,

Say what? Have Have Clayton's - "Whaling and Sailing Songs From the Days of Moby Dick" and Lloyd & McColl 's "Thar She Blows" & etc been banned?

What idiocy is THIS???


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: meself
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 08:38 PM

... uh ... banned? Has something been banned? Do tell ....


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 08:48 PM

Reminds me of the controversy over Paul Robeson singing the lullaby Ma Curly-Headed Baby, and the multitude of versions of the song that, usually ludicrously, remove the "racist" allusions. Audiences of traditional songs are intelligent human beings on the whole and should either hear the unexpurgated original or not hear it at all if the artist isn't comfortable with it. There's always the option of a light-hearted health warning in the pre-song banter, skilfully done.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 09:06 PM

When I say unexpurgated original, I am, of course, not trying exclude the potential of the "folk process!" 😉


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 10:31 PM

Peter Bellamy said of the poem in an interview in Come For To Sing Magazine, that it was Kipling denouncing racism in the poem. He said many people misinterpreted it. Don't have the article to hand and don't know if the magazine was ever put on line. Jeri, summed it up fairly well before.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of it's time?
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 10:57 PM

It has a similar feel to "Mandalay", which I've also heard people say is racist. I really don't understand how they could miss the point of that poem either.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 03:38 AM

Glad it is agreed it is not racist then :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 04:57 AM

Anti racist.


It is interesting to see how we read this poem differently.

GUEST,Senoufou - PM 
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 01:43 PM 
... Gunga Din was only respect-worthy once he proveded himself fearless in battle...

I've always taken it that Gunga Din was constantly fearless, I've always taken this as an antiracist poem.

Within the first few lines it says
"... The finest man I knew ..."

As meself & others & BP says
Brian Peters - PM 
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 11:15 AM 
Isn't the most important line in the poem the very last one?

 "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" 


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 08:44 AM

I have always taken it to be a song of equality among men, or at least something akin to that.

Lines like   

"You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din"

"An' for all 'is dirty 'ide
He was white, clear white, inside"

I think its more of a read between the lines thing, but I could be giving kipling too much credit.

I love the song and think its positive. Would I sing it in today's crazy world of political correctness? Hell no, especially not in Canada.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 09:26 AM

Yes, on reflection, I think it is more about Gunga Din being equal to and finally better than he white 'masters'. It just shows that use of language is very important when discussing these matters. The mentioned line 'for all 'is dirty 'ide' etc. I would take as a possitive, meaning we are all the same under the skin. The more negative connotation is that 'white' is better than his brown dirty 'ide. As Kipling is far more a master of language that I, I would certainly give him the benefit of the doubt as well and point out that the language of the day had many different meanings to that of now!

DtG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 12:11 PM

Yes, on reflection, I think it is more about Gunga Din being equal to and finally better than he white 'masters'. It just shows that use of language is very important when discussing these matters. The mentioned line 'for all 'is dirty 'ide' etc. I would take as a positive, meaning we are all the same under the skin. The more negative connotation is that 'white' is better than his brown dirty 'ide. As Kipling is far more a master of language that I, I would certainly give him the benefit of the doubt as well and point out that the language of the day had many different meanings to that of now!

It appears you're more forgiving than many on here;
You're a better man than I am, Dave the Gnome! :)


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: meself
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 12:53 PM

Well - you learn something every day. It never would have occurred to me that significant numbers of people could read this poem and not see that it is about a common soldier re-thinking his racist assumptions ....


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 01:14 PM

I always like to think of Mudcat and other discussion forums (fora?) being educational. Sadly, they all too often fall into bad tempered arguments. I am not one to deal in absolutes and can often see the point of view of other people without necessarily agreeing with them.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too


:D tG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: GUEST,crater52
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 01:32 PM

I suppose you could argue that it's racist but surely the whole issue of racism is that we unthinkingly denigrate people just because of skin colour/ethnicity. But listen to the intent of Gunga Din and, above all the last line. The poem says this man is a hero and, in the last analysis, 'a better man than I am.'


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 01:36 PM

I wonder why nobody has mentioned that before now...


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: robomatic
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 01:48 PM

I have always liked the works and poems of Kipling. They preserve an intelligent and powerful, not to mention pungent, view of an era in place and time. And what would it be without the attitude. I recall in one of his short stories a jaundiced view of Russian perfidy very much of its time. I don't think he singled out any one particular race for praise or abuse, he gave his all to interpreting the world as he saw it, and the world was colorful and complex.
I do not believe the poem "Gunga-Din" was meant to be anti-racist. Gunga-Din didn't develop during the poem, the narrator did. He revealed himself of raising beyond his original perception to something approaching the author's perception.
In the U.S. we've had to deal with many works that were clever, interesting, beloved, and limited in perception to their time. Booth Tarkington, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and our beloved Mark Twain, who rose above the perceptions of his day, even his own, with a naked honesty and use of the 'N' Word. But to yield to the desire to bowdlerize the works in my mind is to rob ourselves of understanding that we are just as bound in our era as those authors were in theirs.

I don't recall any anti-semitism in Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books, but there was a background of it in his Professor Challenger stories. I still love 'em all.

Exra Pound, not so much.

We're always going to filter the works of art that we preserve from the past, and an awareness of our filters is not a bad thing.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: meself
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 02:13 PM

"I do not believe the poem "Gunga-Din" was meant to be anti-racist."

Did you by any chance mean "DO believe" or "meant to be racist"?

*************

I think you'd have to search long & hard to find anti-Semitism in Pound's poetry, wouldn't you? As opposed to his truly nutso & treasonous radio broadcasts during the war.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 02:27 PM

I don't recall any anti-semitism in Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books

It is not anti-Semitic, but race is a key ingredient in "The Yellow Face" and Doyle ends it well.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 04:10 PM

DMcG,

Certainly agree about 'The Yellow Face', but Holmes' initial exchange with Steve Dixie in The Three Gables is pretty inexcusable.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 05:28 PM

Purely out of interest, but in keeping with Mudcat thread drift :-) I have a friend who has put quite a few Conan Doyle poems to music. Ones that spring to mind are HMS Foudroyant, Master and Song of the Bow. All pretty good and work well to music.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 06:54 PM

For a balanced view of Kipling by a noted antiimperialist, see
http://orwell.ru/library/reviews/kipling/english/e_rkip


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: meself
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 08:02 PM

Orwell's essay on Kipling is brilliant, and, unsurprisingly, is superb writing, a pleasure to read.


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 08:23 PM

It all depends on what you mean by "racist."

In fact (and I'm serious), it also depends on what you mean by "is."

Do you mean, "Did Kipling intend it to be a racist statement by current standards of racism, or did he intend something else"?

Or do you mean, "Are some people today racially offended by it, regardless of Kipling's intention"?


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Subject: RE: Gunga Din. Racist or just of its time?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 11:07 AM

Certainly would and have. the P>C brigade to history a great deal of harm by attempting to ban terms which were once offensive, it's like trying to erase history. We should LEaRN from history not create some micky Mouse world pretending things never happened, that simply ensures they will happen again!


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