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British Soldiers and Barnyard Animals – “The Jungle Book” – Rudyard Kipling

September 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Colonialism, History, Nationalism, Policy, Security Policy

Then I heard an old grizzled, long-haired Central Asian chief, who had come down with the Amir, asking questions of a native officer. “Now,” said he, “in what manner was this wonderful thing done?”

And the officer answered, “An order was given, and they obeyed.” “But are the beasts as wise as the men?” said the chief.

“They obey, as the men do. Mule, horse, elephant, or bullock, he obeys his driver, and the driver his sergeant, and the sergeant his lieutenant, and the lieutenant his captain, and the captain his major, and the major his colonel, and the colonel his brigadier commanding three regiments, and the brigadier the general, who obeys the Viceroy, who is the servant of the Empress. Thus it is done.”

“Would it were so in Afghanistan!” said the chief, “for there we obey only our own wills.”

“And for that reason,” said the native officer, twirling his mustache, “your Amir whom you do not obey must come here and take orders from our Viceroy.”

The British Empire was built on allegories in which domesticated animals stand in for human beings.

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