Generally speaking, Kipling attempts to put a positive gloss on Western imperialism. Ultimately, he sees it as being in the indigenous peoples' best interests. Kipling presents them as being not fully human—"half devil and half child"—and so in desperate need of some tough love from their supposed racial and cultural superiors. Kipling writes that the colonial enterprise is given to us as a civilizing mission, a disinterested act of benevolence on the part of the white man:
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.
In other words, Kipling says that it is the indigenous peoples who will primarily gain from colonialism, not the colonialists themselves.
At the same time, Kipling is aware of the downsides of the colonial project—but, crucially, for the colonialists themselves, not the people they rule. He presents colonialism as a thankless task, an act of noble self-sacrifice on the part of the white man. Kipling thinks that the white man must embark upon his great civilizing...
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