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Babu English and Rudyard Kipling Insults

E M Forster (1872 - 1970) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. He is most famous for his novels, most of which have been filmed. His most famous novel was A Passage to India (1924)

He contemptuously wrote about Indians to Goldworthy Lowes Dickenson on May 31, 1921:  

“In fact I was coming round a little to your view of the Indian or anyhow the Hindu character – that it is unaesthetic. One is starved by the absence of beauty. The only beautiful object I can see is something no Indian has made or touched – the constellation of the Scorpion which now, hangs at night down the sky. I look forward to it as to a theatre or a picture gallery after the constant imperfections of the day.”  

(source: The Raj Syndrome: A Study in Imperial Perceptions - By Suhash Chakravarty. Penguin Books. 1991 p. 248). Refer to The Bible Unmasked 


Among the ways in which it is common for many of the British in India to humiliate and insult the Indian people, one of the most unwarranted and galling is that of criticizing their use of English language and laughing at their mistakes. “Babu English” is a phrase of ridicule heard wherever Englishmen (not all, but certain large classes) speak of India or Indians. And singularly enough, it is applied oftenest to the Bengalis, who intellectually, and especially in linguistic attainments and ability, are not second to any Indian people, if to any people in the world. “Bengali Babu” is applied as a phrase of peculiar contempt.  

The British rulers of the land insist on Indians everywhere addressing them, conversing and doing business with them, in a foreign language – the English. Suppose the tables were turned, and those same rulers were compelled to converse and write and do all their business in Bengali, the Hindustani, the Tamil or some other languages of India. Would they make fewer mistakes? Everybody knows they would make far more and worse.  

There are no classes of Indians that the English so much dislike and take so much pains to insult as the educated classes. The uneducated they despise, neglect and treat almost as slaves; but they do not take the studied pains to humiliate and insult them as they do those whom they recognize as their equal in intelligence. 


A British memsahib in a tonjon or a ladies carriage carried by her Indian servants.

Refer to Loot: in search of the East India Company - By Nick Robins and How India became poor -


As Sir Henry Cotton says: 

“The very thought of equality rankles in the Englishmen’s minds; the more intelligent, cultured or intellectual the Indians are the more they are disliked.”

We have the following remarkable tribute to these despised and insulted Bengalis from Hon. G. K. Gokhale of the Viceroy’s Council (himself not a Bengali): 

“The Bengalis are in many respects a most remarkable people. It is easy to speak of their faults; they lie on the surface. But they have great qualities which are sometimes lost sight of. In almost all walks of life open to Indians, the Bengalis are the most distinguished. Some of the greatest social and religious reformers of recent times, have come from their ranks. Take law, science, literature: where will you find another scientist in all India to place beside Dr. (now Sir) J.C. Bose, or Dr (now Sir) P. C. Ray or a jurist like Dr. Ghose, or a poet like Rabindranath Tagore? These men are not freaks of nature. They are the highest products of which the race is regularly capable.” 

Such is the race and such are the individual men whom the British take particular pains to ridicule…The Englishman has been the worst offenders against the Indian people in the ways mentioned above, or at least the one whose insults have been most galling because his writings have been so widely read, is Rudyard Kipling. The fact that Kipling was born in India and spent his earlier years there, very naturally causes his readers to take for granted that his representations are true. It is as true as a German or Russian writing about England. 

Kipling seems to have cared little for the real India, the great India of the past and the present, with its history and its civilization…he seems to take pleasure in heaping ridicule upon the educated classes and in describing the Indian people generally by the use of such contemptuous expressions as “a lesser breed without the law.” And “new-caught sullen people half devil and half child.” 

Such of Kipling’s writings as are connected with India have always stung the Indian people to the quick. Their popularity in England and the wide acceptance of their misrepresentations as true, have done more than almost any other cause to exasperate leading Indians… 

Professor Gilbert Murray said: “If ever it were my fate to put men in prison for the books they write, I should not like it, but I should know where to begin. I should first of all lock up my old friend, Rudyard Kipling, because in several stories he has used his great powers to stir up in the minds of hundreds of thousands of Englishmen a blind and savage contempt for the Bengali. You cannot cherish a savage contempt for anyone without it being quickly reciprocated…” 

But Kipling is not the only offender. It is hardly possible to conceive anything more galling to the Indian people than the tone of condescension with which they are nearly everywhere and always spoken of and referred to by the British, in their books, about India…It is the same; they the British, are in India because they are superior (of course, they are white). They are there on a high and noble mission – the mission to “bear the white man’s burden.” Of course, the fact does not count, that for more than 3,000 years before they, the British, came, India ruled herself wholly and was one of the leading nations of the world.  

Says The Democrat of Allahabad  (June 5, 1921), 

“Kipling writes of the ‘White man’s burden." He has numerous admirers and imitators in England. But we in India find the white man full of arrogance and race conceit. With their egoistical ideas of ‘racial’ superiority the British talk of ‘educating Indians in the art of self-government,’ as though this ancient nations of ours, which for millenniums and millenniums has been self-governing, is to sit like children at the feet of the self-appointed foreign masters to learn our first lessons!” 

(source: India in Bondage: Her Right to Freedom - By Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland p. 92-104).

Mark Twain (1835-1910) a prominent literary opponent of the Philippine-American War and he served as a vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League from 1901 until his death. He also wrote the essay "To the Person Sitting in Darkness". 

He had remarked on Kipling's poem: "The White Man's Burden has been sung. Who will sing the Brown Man's?"


Dr. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) was India's most distinguished sons of the present century, art critic and museum curator. He has observed:

"The English speaking peoples have, indeed labored under one great handicap, that of their domination by Rudyard Kipling, a skilled performer to the gallery, to be sure, but one whose irresponsible and un-instructured mentality represented all that an Englishman’s ought never to have been. He, by giving free expression to his resentment of his own inability to synthesize the East and West in his own experience, has probably done more than any other one man to delay the recognition not alone of their ultimately common heritage, but even of their common humanity; more than any other Englishman to make it true for Englishmen that east of Suez “there ain’t no Ten Commandments.” You English-speaking peoples listened to him, nevertheless, and gave him a place in your literary pantheon where, in fact, he held up the mirror to the adolescent imperialistic mentality and carries its and his “white man’s burden” so bravely. How can we think of you as grown-up men, as long as you play only with such toys as Kipling gave you, and only babble of green fields – the playing fields of Eton? It is high time that the Hollywood picture of India was forgotten."


"East of Suez “there ain’t no Ten Commandments.” "It is high time that the Hollywood picture of India was forgotten." - wrote Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy 


Gunga Din is a landmark movie of racism featuring civilized British soldiers vs. naked Indian savages. The poster advertising the film Gunga Din outside British cinemas just before the Second World War. The Americans made no fewer than 35 films between the Hindoo Fakir in 1902 and Gunga Din in 1939, with a common theme of the British putting down their rebellious Indian subjects.

In Indonesia , Indo-china , Burma , Ceylon , men educated in the West – the ‘Wogs’ (Westernized Oriental gentlemen) as European contemptuously called them. 


(source: The Wisdom of Ananda Coomaraswamy - Presented by S. Durai Raja Singam p. 51-52 and India Britannica  - By Geoffrey Moorhouse p. 18). For more on Ananda Coomaraswamy refer to chapter on Quotes.

President Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919) of the Republican Party, was a strong supporter of British colonialism in India .

In fact in an address to a Methodist Episcopal Church group in January 1909, he stated that he considered British rule of India to be:

"..the greatest feat of the kind…since the Roman Empire …one of the most admirable achievements of the white race during the past two centuries…".

His feelings would set the tone for collusion between the British and American governments to squelch efforts by Indian students (in the "land of the free" - America ) to support freedom in India .

(source: The Indian Caste System and the British - infinity foundation).

A brilliant piece of propaganda for the British Empire

Complicity of the British in Mayo's Work - To Secure American Support for the British
Katherine Mayo's Hatred For Hindus

The British wanted to project an image of India and the Indian people as basically not ready for Independence and the necessity of Britain continuing her good work to lift the Indian masses out of their self-made morass of debilitating Hindu religion, its cruel customs, and abominable ritual and social hygienic practices.

Katherine Mayo (1867-1940 ) was ardently Anglophile and believed in Kipling's doctrine of the White Man's Burden. Behind much of her advocacy, however, lay her own preoccupations with Anglo-Saxon racial superiority.

She criticizes Mahatma Gandhi for whom Mayo had nothing but disdain. She criticizes the Hindu religion, its gods, its social code, its rituals, its castes and the debilitating ethos...She remarks that "If only Gandhi and his agitators are kept away the Indian villagers would live in paradise indeed." Mayo's book on the Slaves of the Gods deal with the institution of the Devadasis - or temple dancers. 

She came out to condemn India and she succeeded marvelously in shaping the image of India in the average American mind.  In fact her book is the most negative of all writings by foreigners on India.

Miss Mayo forgot that every civilization has its own skeletons in its many cupboards and India is no exception. The British were mightily pleased with here efforts and were delighted with what she had to say. Miss Mayo confirmed and made explicit Western racism in aspects of thinking about the non-West."

Gandhi was painfully wrote to Mayo: "I am sorry to have to inform you that the book did not leave on my mind at all a nice impression." He asked the publishers of Young India to send her a copy of his own review of the book entitled "A Drain Inspector's Report." To what wicked length Mayo and her British collaborators went in their hatred for Hinduism is illustrated by the papers in the Mayo Collection. The motives for publishing of Mother India were primarily political; to win American support for the British cause in India. To frighten even British liberals into giving up the constitutional reforms that they envisaged for India. The British masters of India were anxious to win American opinion in their favor and cleverly used American journalists, writers, publicists and propaganda men to work which would serve the British interest. And who better to pick than Katherine Mayo who had written The Isles of Fear? 

Katherine Mayo's Hatred For Hindus - Glimpses III). Refer to QuickTime trailer and Part One of the film The God Awful Truth.

Despoliation and Defaming of India: The Early 19th century British Crusade  - By Dharmapal

It seems that by the mid-1920s the British created images of India as depraved, ignorant, and wretched had got worn out. Hence the need for similar but newer presentation on India. Therefore, Miss Mayo’s Mother India, and a large number of similar works were written and published.  

In the mid-1920s Miss Katherine Mayo, hailing from the United States of America had made a long visit to India, was feted by the British Viceroy, and looked after his administration in her travels round India, and, sometimes later, she came out with a book titled Mother India.

The book was felt as an outrage, there was an around public condemnation of it in India, and perhaps elsewhere too, and Mahatma Gandhi called it “Drain Inspector’s Report.” 

The materials, speeches, and writings by the great Englishmen on India Mr. William Wilberforce (1813), Mr. James Mill (1817), and Mr. Thomas Babington Macaulay (1835, 1843), were far more virulent than Mother India, in their observations on India, and paint India in the darkest possible hues.   



Mr. William Wilberforce, Mr. James Mill and Mr. Thomas Babington Macaulay.

The materials, speeches, and writings by the great Englishmen on India Mr. William Wilberforce, Mr. James Mill and Mr. T B Macaulay, were far more virulent than Mother India, in their observations on India, and paint India in the darkest possible hues.   

Evangelical Imperialism combined with high moral fervor?


The British could not generally conceive of coexistence of people of different ethnic backgrounds, or even of different religious backgrounds, as for instance, with the people of Ireland. 

The conquered in their view, had ultimately to disappear, if not wholly physically, at least as a culture and civilization. In Australia, and New Zealand practically all the local inhabitants were wiped out soon enough; in North America near complete elimination happened, over 300-400 years, and in Ireland only partially. The indigenous population of the Americas had been estimated at 112 to 140 millions in 1492. 

In India a large number perished by British brutality and deliberate creation of famines, violation of persons bodies and dignity; in Palnad in Andhra, half of the population was said to be have perished every ten years, during several decades after the subjugation of the areas by Britain. 

It seems as if the intellectuals and leaders of Britain hated India, and felt outraged that in spite of all their brutalities, smashing of Indian institutions, high extortions, and tortures, men made famines and expropriation of Indian resources to the British state, and thus the all round breakdown of Indian society, the Indians on the whole, could not be wiped out that easily.

Much could be said about the practices of European and British society during the centuries. Two of these practices are mentioned here. 


One of them, the more known, was witch burning during the 15-16-17 century which led to the burning of several million men and women in Europe, and around 1,00,000 or more in Britain. Some persons were still burnt as witches in Britain at the end of the 17th century.  

Child Abandonment

The other widespread practice, perhaps beginning around the start of the Christian era and continuing till the 18th century, was the abandonment of 20% to 30% of all European children by their parents. A large proportion of children so abandoned, died soon after in the very places they were exposed. A proportion were taken to be adopted in families, another proportion taken by the Christian church to later become monks and nuns, a few of whom reached high status in the Christian hierarchy, and the rest taken by other people and turned into slaves, prostitutes and the like.  

To illustrate what used to happen we may quote, the 18th century European philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rosseau (1712 - 1778) wrote: 

“My third child was thus deposited in a foundling home just like the first two, and I did the same with the two following: I had five in all. The arrangement seemed to me so good, so sensible, so appropriate, that if I did not boast of it publicly it was solely out of regard for their mother….In a word I made no secret of my action…because in fact I saw no wrong in it. All things considered, I chose what was best for my children, or what I thought was best…” (Confessions: Paris, 1964, p. 424). 

(source: Despoliation and Defaming of India – By Dharampal  p. 1 - 17). Refer to QuickTime trailer and Part One of the film The God Awful TruthFor more refer to chapters on First Indologists and Glimpses XVIII.

Civilizing the Heathens?

British aristocracy ‘ate human flesh’

THE highest members of European aristocracy took part in cannibalism to find remedies for ailments up until the end of the 18th century, a new book reveals.  European royalty and eminent scholars took pride of place among those who swallowed parts of the human body as medicine, including flesh, blood and bones.

For more than 200 years, even as they denounced cannibals of the New World, Europeans applied, drank, or wore powdered Egyptian mummy, human fat, flesh, bone, blood and brains.

The British aristocracy consumed human flesh, a new book on medicinal cannibalism reveals. The well-off in Britain and Europe swallowed parts of the human body, including its flesh, blood and bones, as medicine until the end of the 18th century.

Even as they denounced the cannibals of the New World, they applied, drank, or wore powdered Egyptian mummies, human fat, flesh, bone, blood, brains and skin. Dr Richard Sugg, a Durham University academic, writes: “James I refused corpse medicine; Charles II made his own; and Charles I was made into corpse medicine. Users included Francis I, Elizabeth I’s surgeon, John Banister, William III, and Queen Mary.

Refer to Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires - By Dr Richard Sugg

(source: British aristocracy ‘ate human flesh’ - 





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