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Sunday, 1 September 2013

The White Man's Burden

The White Man’s Burden

Rudyard Kipling by Remigius de Souza

My information about Rudyard Kipling was limited only to:
  1. He was born in the campus of Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai, where I was studying architecture;
  2. He was a British poet.
I was doing my first year in architecture when I made this portrait. I copied a picture in pencil on handmade paper, taken from some book or magazine. That was years ago. I wanted to sell it. Thankfully it didn’t work.

Later I read a couple of his poems, but couldn’t stick any more. Decades later I saw an animated cartoon series, “Mogali”, or Jungle Book, on TV, once in a while. I was more interested in graphics, not the story.

The story is disappointing because the animals were made to talk and behave like humans; that’s an insult to animals. It was neither a work of imagination nor for the love of animals. Even to abuse any person by a name of any animal is an insult to that animal.

Kipling was an imperialist, that’s known. But whatever I learnt from the textbooks in school that projected Britain is a democratic country, which I could never believe.

Britain and its government and the people may be anything else, which is their right, but to call them democratic is preposterous. Certainly there may be few persons who believed in democracy and lived in democratic spirit and values, but that cannot be generalized.

Any country or society may be a superpower, which doesn’t mean it is superior to any other country or society or people.

How could any democratic society enslave or colonize or invade other people - other countries?
How could any country and its citizens go to the polar uninhabited region, put their flag there, and claim it is their land?
Such a civilization is a curse to the land and waters. Animals are better.

Perhaps, I shouldn’t refer to any country and/or its people in the place of their government – democratic, or fundamentalist, or totalitarian, or monarchy.
Better say, Indian government instead of India or Indian people. Better say Chinese government rather than China or Chinese people. Better say British government, neither Britain nor British people. That’s how I should address an issue if it refers to any government.

It is our present predicament that we are such weaklings.

Is there democracy in true sense anywhere? May be there is. I have heard about Vermont, but I don’t know anything about the place.
Certainly there is democracy: It is among the tribal – adivasi – aborigine communities, which still prevails in spite of onslaught by the civilized societies.
They are in fact the WORLD HERITAGE, which needs to be treated with care and caution.

DEMOCRACY can function only at a community level, small nations at human scale. Then we will not need any governments that exist in present forms, and we will not need cities – the symbol of centralized power.

NOTE: The White Man's Burden, poem by Kipling
Remigius de Souza | Mumbai

© Remigius de Souza., all rights reserved.


  1. WOW, what a beautiful sketch. Well as far as democracy is concerned, almost everything is corrupt these days.

    1. Thank you Saru! Democracy to me is a New Bottle for Old Wine that Feudalism. Now Democracy in this age is overtaking autonomy of Personal Domain of an Individual and the Collective (I don't use the word Society, which is decadent). People get the Government they deserve?

  2. A few lone voices , recognizing the heritage of adivasis. Rest , in the name of civilisation, plunder .

    1. Thanks Pattuji for checking this post. Kipling was an Imperialist, I later came to know. Well, most of us have feudal mentality