Equality and Unity
The ideal of the equality and unity of men echoes across several motifs in Kim, most notably through the Buddhist teachings of Teshoo Lama. He tells Kim, “To those who follow the Way there is neither black nor white, Hind nor Bhotiyal. We be all souls seeking to escape.” This ideal of the equality and unity of men transcends the stringent caste, or class, distinctions of the predominantly Hindu society that Kim has known. The lama carries with him a diagram called the Wheel of Life, which is a symbolic representation of the Buddhist doctrine that all lives are equally bound in the cycle of life and that all souls seek release from this cycle by attaining Enlightenment. The numerous references to the Wheel of Life throughout the novel serve to reinforce the message of equality and unity. The lama’s teachings and his quest for Enlightenment are never the subject of Kipling’s criticism, as are other religious beliefs presented in Kim; rather, the resolution of the novel includes the lama’s triumphant attainment of Enlightenment, which serves to authenticate, rather than disprove, the doctrine of equality and unity echoed throughout.
Kipling also uses the theme of unity to portray an ideal India that is not divided by imperialism but rather is unified under it. This is especially evident in the relationships between the characters who participate in the Great Game: Mahbub Ali, an Afghan; Lurgan...
(The entire section is 1278 words.)
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