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Rudyard Kipling is the author of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was composed as part of a series of children's stories that collectively became known as The Jungle Book. It is the story of a mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, that serves as a pet to a British family living in India (which was, of course, a British colony and where Kipling was born and to which he later returned to live). The mongoose protects the family home from snakes, especially from two particularly vicious and vindictive cobras named Nag and Nagaina. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi kills both during the course of the story and emerges a hero to the family.
Kipling was an individual of considerable intellectual depth, and an astute, if occasionally misguided, observer of the British role in the British Raj, the phrase used to describe that country's colonization of the Indian subcontinent. While there is always a danger of reading too much into some stories, it is conceivable that, in some way, Kipling intended this story to be a parable about colonization. The two cobras, the principle antagonists in the story, are determined to kill the family because its home sits on the land once occupied and ruled solely by these two cobras. As the two snakes are discussing their plans, Kipling includes the following exchange:
``But are you sure that there is anything to be gained by killing the people?'' said Nag.
``Everything. When there were no people in the bungalow, did we have any mongoose in the garden? So long as the bungalow is empty, we are king and queen of the garden; and remember that as soon as our eggs in the melon-bed hatch (as they may to-morrow), our children will need room and quiet.''
Just as the British came in and took what land they wanted, so the British family in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi has encroached on native soil.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was written by Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was born in British India on December 30th, 1865. He was a poet, novelist, and short story writer. Along with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, he other wrote fiction, children's books like The Jungle Book. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907; he was the first English-language writer to win and also the youngest to win to date.
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