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Rudyard Kipling was born on December 30, 1865 in Bombay.
His father, John Lockwood Kipling, was a professor of architectural
sculpture, curator of the Lahore Museum, a painter and an illustrator of
some note. Rudyard’s parents were English.
As a child Rudyard was quick to learn, alert in games and in solving
puzzles. He spent his childhood in Lahore. The boy was the idol of the
Hindoo servants. Hindoo was the first language he spoke.
At 6 young Kipling was taken to England and educated at an English
College in North Devon. From March 1882 until June 1883 he was
editor-in-chief of the school paper “The Chronicle”. This training was
the natural step to the editorial position, which he later occupied.
As far as his studies were concerned, he was not brilliant in
mathematics, but in history he was very well. When he went back to India
in 1883, he took with him the gold medal of the college for a prize
essay on history.
Returning to India, Kipling engaged in journalism. At 17 he became
sub-editor of the Lahore “Civil and Military Gazette”. At 21 he
published his first volume. Departmental Ditties, a small book of verse.
A year later he attracted public attention as a story-teller with Plain
Tales from the Hills. Before he was 24he had brought out six small
collections of stories, which showed his mastery in the form. Among
these early narratives some of the best are :”Soldiers Three”, “The
Phantom Rickshaw” and “Wee Willie Winkie”. These and the stories, which
followed, were astonishing in their vigour, brilliant colour, accurate
observation and , above all, their remarkable inventiveness. Here was a
new master of fiction.
All his life Kipling was admired by the people he came in touch with. He
was respected for his generosity, sense of humor and pleasant ways. He
was said to be extremely modest.
Rudyard loved India and its inhabitants. His respect for the country
and for the peoples of Asia remained with him throughout his life and
coloured much of his writing. But still he never forgot that he was a
white man and an Englishman.
Kipling’s talent was quickly recognized in India, but it was not till
his books reached England that give true rank was appreciated and
Between 1887 and 1899 Kipling traveled around the world. He visited
China, Japan and lived for a few years in America, where he married an
American-Caroline Starr Balestier.
During this period he wrote several of his most popular works, which
took the reading public by storm. These were his stories for children,
which became classics: The Jungle Books (1894-1895), Captains Courageous
(1897) and Just So Stories (1902). He appealed equally, to youth and age
with Kim (1901), Puck Of Pook’s Hill (1906) and Rewards And Fairies
(1910).These works are fine examples of the modern treatment of history.
Kipling had a profound sense oh history and his history was always
human, and human of the common people, never of kings and aristocrats.
During the South African war (1899-1902) Kipling supported the policy of