What does Daniel Dravonet do for the Kafiristan people in "The Man Who Would Be King" by Rudyard Kipling?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dravot's goal with his people that he has gained power over is defined after he has taken his position as king. He says, "I'll make a damned fine Nation of you, or I'll die in the making!" Dravot's main contribution to the people of Kafiristan is to bring peace and also a sense of military order and training. When he finds out about the constant internecine feuds that his new people experience, he commands that every tenth man be a Frontier guard to guard the borders of Kafiristan against the Mohammedans and also that 200 men are to be sent to him to be personally drilled. In addition, it is clear that Peachey's contribution is not insignificant, as he brings new technology and infrastructure to Kafiristan, as is indicated in the following quote:

My work was to help the people plow, and now and again go out with some of the Army and see what the other villages were doing, and make 'em throw rope bridges across the ravines which cut up the country horrid.

It is clear therefore that the joint work of Dravot and Pechey did greatly help the people of Kafiristan in terms of building up their infrastructure and introducing new technology. Peachey and Dravot are also responsible for an increase in the military hardware of the Kafiristan army they have created. Kipling of course means these acts to parody the role of British colonialism in the countries that they took over. Although such activity is clearly beneficial in so many ways, the big ethical dilemma concerns the authority that Dravot has to make these changes, which of course, as the people of Kafiristan come to realise, is based on a deception.

currerbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dravonet helped bring peace to the people of Kafiristan. Dravonet, and his partner, Peachey Carnehan, are Third Degree Freemasons. Their discover that the people know the First and Second degrees of Free Masonry, but do not know the Third. Carnehan reveals the third symbol and finds the same symbol is on the bottom of the seat. Dravonet is made the "Grand Master of All Kafiristan" and co-king, along with Peachey. 

"ten priests took and tilted over the Grand-Master’s chair ... rubbing the bottom end of it to clear away the black dirt, and [shows] the Master’s Mark, same as was on Dravot’s apron, cut into the stone. Not even the priests of the temple of Imbra knew it was there."

They go on to tech them to plough and order them to stop fighting each other, saying they can only fight when others invade their borders. They unite the kingdom by teaching them how to build rope bridges but make the mistake of saying they are gods. The natives discover they are not gods and try to kill them both though Peachey escapes "a cripple ... with groans of pain."

Read the study guide:
The Man Who Would Be King

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