Does Rudyard Kipling belong to Indian writing or British writing?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is a very interesting question.  On one hand, I think that a clear case can be made that Kipling belongs in the category of British writing.  It is clear that his primary audience is British.  He writes with this audience in mind.  His writing, itself, reflected the colonizers and the colonizer attitude towards the indigenous people.  His desire to serve the British Empire comes out in many of his works and how it depicts those who were colonized by the European forces.  At the same time, I think that Kipling becomes a sort of starting point for the postcolonial writer that emerges out of nations like India.  For these writers, they write in the shadow of  Colonialism and writers' attitudes like Kipling forms a great deal of the backdrop of their writing.  In a bizarre twist, this helps to make Kipling a force in Indian writing, though not through his own call.  Writers from nations as India had to address the writings of Kipling as an example of how identity in the post- colonial world is a hybrid one, combining elements of colonizer and colonized.  Kipling becomes a starting point in how his attitudes ended up filtering through identity in the post- colonial world.  In this light, Kipling becomes a part of both domains, though he might not have intended to be so.

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