Colonialist Ideology in Kipling’s Kim

While Kim insists that he is an Indian, the narrator adamantly asserts Kim’s British origins. This struggle between Kim and the narrator continues throughout the novel. The struggle over the inheritance is resolved through a bifurcation of the paternal function: on the one hand, Kim’s personal and emotional allegiance to the Indians and, on the other, his impersonal and rational relation to the Englishmen.

I want to argue that this solution plunges the novel back into colonialist ideology. Hypothesis It is hypothesized that Kim is a Manichean allegory, according to which Europeans are rational and intelligent in opposition to the natives who are described as irrational and insufficient. Kim’s initiation into Espionage, his becoming an intelligence agent, allows the white Kim to serve colonialist power and the Indian Kim to concert with various natives who are emotional and sensuous.

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Kipling reveals the orphaned son of the Irish soldier called Kim. Kim spends his childhood as a vagabond in Lahore. With an old lama he travels throughout India. The writer creates a vision of harmony of India that unites the secular life and the spiritual life though there is identity crisis on him. Critic Abdul Jan Mohamed in his essay says,” Imperialist is not fixated on specific images or stereotypes of the other but rather on the effective benefits proffered by the Manichean allegory which generates the various stereotypes.

In the same way, he also opines on the attitude of colonialists toward the natives, “Colonialists are willing to examine the specific individual and cultural differences between European values, assumption, and habits in contrast to those of indigenous cultures”(66). He also asserts allegorical contrast in the comparison of two novels, and says,” Kipling’s Kim and E. M Foster’s The to India, attempts to find syncretic solutions to the Manichean opposition of the colonizer and the colonized. “(66) Similarly, Critic Philip E.

Wegner in his essay “Life as He Would Have It” says,” Kipling himself unable to dramatize the ‘fundamental conflict’ that was the central fact of imperial Indian history. “(130) Culture is the root cause of identity, so Wegner said,” the most effective ruler would be those who truly know India. Indeed, one character in Kim emphatically asserts that the good imperial agents are those who know the land and the costumes of the land. “(132) Another critic Gyan Prakash asserts his idea in his essay ” Orientalism Now” and says,” cultural framework and political discourse distort truth. ” (203)

He also says, “this criticism is not principally about differing assessment of scholarship of particular individual but about political authority and authoritative discourse. Said’s critics concede willingly that cultural prejudice and naked political interest have often marred western studies of other cultures but they regard such biases as matters of mentality. “(203)

This dissertation does not observe over these voices, but prolematizes struggle on the identity of the major character Kim which is the main issue of marginalized Indian people. Colonized people’s identity is about to ruin because of colonial domination. Kim as an orphan boy, seeks for identity but finally he finds himself as a British Espionage. This is how he plunges into colonialist ideology and colonial society.

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Colonialist Ideology in Kipling’s Kim. (2018, May 29). Retrieved from