By William D. Ross
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Intimacy – never, never. The whole weight of my authority is against it. I have been in charge at Chandrapore for six years, and if everything has gone smoothly, if there has been mutual respect and esteem, it is because both peoples kept to this simple rule. Newcomers set our traditions aside, and in an instant what you see happens, the work of years is undone, and the good name of my District ruined for a generation. I – I – can’t see the end of this day’s work, Mr Fielding. You, who are imbued with modern ideas – no doubt you can.
We can imagine him looking at his audience, throwing a bait for them every now and then to engage their mind and then to convince rather than to shock them; his reiteration that ‘ “Kipling is alive”. That is his great merit’ comes after he assures his audience that a poet with four books of poetry cannot be excluded from literature even if his poetry does not fall within the definitions of literature that readers ‘have been unwise enough to make’. Forster asks his audience to permit him to pass on to another point, which is, as a matter of fact, only an elaboration of the same point Forster’s Debate on ‘Kipling Is Not Literature’ 35 in an opposite direction.
Kipling is endowed with the peculiar gift of India, that is, mysticism, whose context is the Great Game, and in his turn he hands this gift to Kim for expression. ’ Another diagram suggests that Kipling willingly submits to the great power of mysticism which, to his surprise, perhaps helps him discover a new triumphant ‘burden’ of the Lama. The diagram is better articulated by Said in his Introduction to the Penguin edition of Kim: ‘After all it is India itself which is responsible both for the local vitality enjoyed by Kim, and the threat to British Empire’ (Said 1987: 27).
Aristotele by William D. Ross