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Out of BoundsAnglo-Indian Literature and the Geography of Displacement$
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Alan Johnson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834838

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834838.001.0001

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The Engineers’ Revenge, the Age of Kali

The Engineers’ Revenge, the Age of Kali

Kipling’s Bridges and the End of Jungles

Chapter:
(p.206) Chapter 6 The Engineers’ Revenge, the Age of Kali
Source:
Out of Bounds
Author(s):

Alan Johnson

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824834838.003.0007

This chapter reads Kipling's story “The Bridge-Builders” to show how the author's Anglo-Indian perspective inclines him to empathize with the natural environments—represented by talking animals—even as he celebrates the quintessential duty-bound imperial worker. It describes how, far from the cantonment garden was an India that was just as important to the construction of Kipling's Anglo-Indian homeliness: the India of immense engineering feats, particularly railway bridges and dams. Thus the story's perspective alternately endorses pastoralism and industrialism, and not surprisingly the story concludes on a note that accentuates this split outlook. A key articulation of this split is the character Peroo, an experienced Indian sailor whose polyglot abilities, not unlike those of Kim and The Jungle Book's Mowgli, save the bridge.

Keywords:   engineering, pastoralism, industrialism, railway bridges, dams, Rudyard Kipling, The Bridge-Builders, natural environments

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