"In an Opium
Notes edited by David Page.
In preparing these notes, the present Editor
has drawn where appropriate on the ORG.
... (as) a way of infuriating his liberal opponents, Kipling was happy to explain the workings of the Ghazipur factory, focussing apparently nonchalantly upon ‘the actual manufacture and manipulation of the cakes.’
In fact the language of the essay is far subtler than this comment implies. It operates on a number of levels, suggesting firstly the great beauty, the poetry of the manufacturing process. . .
The actions of the cake-maker – and the factory as a whole – are described sensually, with a strange love for the process. Kipling allows this notion to play very ironically against the official Government terminology of the piece.