Archive | October, 2011


The Pleasures (and pain) of Imperialism

Rudyard Kipling was undoubtedly an imperialist and a proud one at that. But was he racist? The debate rages on, in part because racism turns out to be a lot like obscenity – at its margins, it defies definition yet it must be grappled with whenever perceived. Has Kipling’s reputation been weighed down by anachronistic […]


‘Fascinating Story of India’

In the 1901 review of Kim published in The New York Times, high praise for Mr. Kipling… Rudyard Kipling is what Stockton might term a Discouragerof Prophesy. Easily within the memory of the youngest of them the critics were inclined to apply to him Prof. Wilson’s luckless prediction concerning Macaulay, and to declare that, while […]


Empire builder or bard?

Did Rudyard Kipling “incarnate the late Victorian sense of Empire” or did he create it? David Gilmour asks in his biography: An ingenious theory suggests that officers who read Kipling somehow managed to mould their men so that they became like his soldiers. General Sir George Younghusband had served in India for many years without […]


In Brussels with WIDE

I’m thrilled to spend the next two days at WIDE’s annual meeting in Brussels, Belgium, attending panels on “Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Amidst the ‘Arab Springs,’ Challenges and Lessons Learnt Across the Region.” Inshallah (God willing), I’ll post some conference highlights next week. Images from the incredible Facebook Album Women of Egypt


The Great Game

Rudyard Kipling is credited with introducing ‘The Great Game’ to the masses in his novel Kim, but it is Arthur Conolly, an intelligence officer with the British East India Company’s Sixth Bengal Light Cavalry, who reportedly coined the term in order to describe the protracted 19th century conflict between Great Britain and Russia for hegemony […]


Kipling’s Burden

In the years leading up to 1914, Rudyard Kipling may have spoken out and waved the flag for what he believed to be a necessary and inevitable war (“What stands if freedom fall? / Who dies if England live?”), but he paid dearly for his own integrity. His own 18-year-old son, John, went off to […]


Art is Messy

The New Yorker has a wonderful profile (abstract) of Pixar writer and director Andrew Stanton who’s making the leap from animation to live action with John Carter due out in spring of 2012. He makes some clip-worthy comments on writing and art. Stanton on the triumph of the old studio system at Pixar: [S]ome of […]


Two Images, Same Impression

In 2006, World Press Photo selected as its photo of the year an image of the aftermath of the July War, Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon. In a piece by the late author and activist Mai Ghoussoub published on OpenDemocracy, Lebanese themselves disagreed as to the meaning of the photograph, some of them seeing in […]