The Bridge-Builders

Notes on the text

These notes, edited by John Radcliffe, are partly new, and partly based on the notes on this tale in the ORG. We are much indebted to Professor Harish Trivedi of the University of Delhi for advice on a number of points. The ORG Editor, Reginald Harbord, received much assistance on technical matters from P.W. Inwood. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of The Day’s Work, as published and frequently reprinted between 1898 and 1950.

[Page 1, line 21] C.I.E. Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire. Instituted in 1877 by Queen Victoria, Empress of India.

C.S.I. Companion of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1861. Always takes precedence over the Order of the Indian Empire. See Rustum Beg of Kolazai in “A Legend of the Foreign Office” (Departrnental Ditties).

In the small world of public servants and officials in British India, everyone knew everyone else’s rank and salary, and there was a strong sense of hierarchy. To receive a decoration was to gain recognition among one’s peers for one’s professional achievement. The same is true today in the much larger world of the Civil Service in the United Kingdom, where officials often get paid less than their equivalents in the private sector, and where public honours for professional excellence are given and much prized.

[Page 1, line 14] C.E. Civil Engineer.

[Page 1, line 16] revetments facings to sustain an embankment at a slope greater than its natural angle. See the reference to “Bell bunds” in the headnote.

[Page 1, line 19] one mile and three-quarters this is consistent with the length of the Sutlej Bridge between Ferozepur and Kazur mentioned in the Headnote.

[Page 1, line 20] lattice-girder one of the methods of spanning the gaps between the piers.

[Page 1, line 21] truss a combination of structural members so arranged that by being connected at their ends they form a rigid frame on which to support the bridge. In the theoretically perfect truss the component parts enclose between themselves rigid triangles. Although the basic principle of truss design, that of the rigidity of a triangle, is simple, the scientific design of trusses is a matter of recent development. (written in the 1960s)

[Page 1, line 23] twenty-four feet in diameter that is, each covered the area of a fair sized room. (About 7.5 metres in diameter).

[Page 2, line 1] Agra stone the towers of the famous fort at Agra itself (right), on the right bank of the Jumna River below Delhi, were built of this red stone by the Emperor Akbar in 1566.

In the case of bridges built of stone, detail drawings are prepared of each stone to be dressed and these are sent to the quarries from which the stones are to come, so that each stone can be cut to exact size in the quarry and numbered to indicate its place in the bridge structure.

[Page 2, lines 2-5] Above them ran the railway-line fifteen feet broad; above that, again, a cart-road of eighteen feet, flanked with footpaths.

These bridges had to carry not only soldiers and domestic passengers, but the busy traffic of bullock carts, and palanquins, and horses, and people on foot of all castes and conditions, that made up the tide of life along the Grand Trunk Road.

This picture shows the two levels of the Malviya (formerly Dufferin) Bridge. It was renamed the Malviya Bridge in 1948, after Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya (1861-1946) the greatest Indian Nationalist leader associated with Kashi (Benares), and the founder in 1915 of a University there.

[Page 2, line 6] loopholed for musketry and pierced for big guns The Sutlej Bridge, on one of the main routes from south and central India to the North-West Frontier, was strategically important as a means of moving troops swiftly in case of need.

[Page 2, line 7] ramp the slope of the roadway up to the bridge.

[Page 2, line 10] borrow-pit excavation from which earth has been taken to build the embankment.

[Page 2, line 16] cribs Structures of heavy crossed timbers. Timber cribs have been used instead of trestles for railway and heavy road bridges where timber is plentiful and. the height required small. They were much used during the Boer War for the repairs of demolished railway bridges, railway sleepers being employed in their construction. Timber crib construction is very convenient since no skilled labour is required. When placed in water they are usually spiked together and filled with stone.

[Page 2, line 20] spile-pier a pier built on piles or large timbers driven into the ground for the crane to work on. (See Kipling’s poem, “The Land”, stanzas 10 and 11).

[Page 3, line 2] a few thousand tons this is one of the places where Kipling is exaggerating, for it would take a very long ballast train indeed (200 ten-ton trucks) to transport even two thousand tons of stone and other material so that it could all be thrown out simultaneously to make the roar and grumble.

[Page 3, line 13] his work was good an echo of the First Chapter of Genesis which describes the Creation.

[Page 3, line 16] raw and ugly as original sin see the 9th of the 39 Articles of Religion in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England:

Original sin … is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil…

[Page 3, line 21] Hitchcock See the note on page 1 line 1 above.

[Page 3, line 22] Kabuli pony a hardy breed of pony from Afghanistan. These particular ones from north of the capital, Kabul, are often known as Northern Horses. (See John Lockwood Kipling’s Beast and Man in India p. 26).

[Page 3, line 28] Cooper’s Hill this was the familiar name of the Royal Indian College of Civil Engineering situated near Englefield Green in Surrey, which closed down in 1906. It took public school men and gave them a three-year course in engineering subjects of particular interest for India and Burma and in less degree for the Sudan. These graduates had a fine reputation. George Beresford, the original of “Turkey” in Stalky & Co. studied there.

[Page 5, line 1] half an acre of calculations a bit of an exaggeration, of course, but this does not appear so great when it is considered that the re-calculation might involve re-design of the whole structure. (Half an acre would represent over 2000 sheets a metre square).

[Page 5, line 6] commission the immemorial custom of India, and in this case bribery. There was perhaps some excuse for this in earlier times when rulers ‘forgot’ to pay their immediate staff who therefore had to fend for themselves. The British in India made some efforts to stop it.

[Page 5, line15] put the fear of God into a man ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (Psalms 111,10).

[Page 5, line 19] cholera an often fatal water borne disease. See Dr Gillian Sheehan’s notes on “Kipling and Medicine”.

[Page 5, line 21] smallpox an even more dreadful disease which was long endemic in India but is now officially and effectively eradicated. See Dr Gillian Sheehan’s notes on “Kipling and Medicine”. See also the notes on “The Tomb of his Ancestors” (p. 127, line 22) later in this collection.

[Page 5, line 22] the fever they had always with them This was malaria, which certainly in the 1890’s ‘was for ever hampering work’. See Dr Gillian Sheehan’s notes on “Kipling and Medicine”.

[Page 5, line 23] a magistrate of the third class with whipping powers such magistrates were allowed at that time to order corporal punishment for theft and other offences.

[Page 5, line 28] freshets streams of water flooding from a river after heavy rain.

[Page 6, line 11] lascar a sailor from India or one of the other countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

Kharva a Hindu people from Gujarat in western India, to which Peroo belonged.

Bulsar in Surat in the state of Gujarat.

[Page 6, line 12] Rockhampton is in Queensland on the east coast of Australia.

[Page 6, line 13] Serang the boatswain (pronounced bo’s’n) in charge of a Lascar crew.

British India Steam Navigation Company, now amalgamated with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (‘P & O’).

[Page 6, line 31] jammed in the eye of the crane the new rope would be stiff and possibly liable to come out of the sheave at the end of the jib, and then jam between the sheave and the side.

[Page 7, line 8] donkey-engines small but powerful auxiliary steam-engines used in ships for hoisting weights, and for similar work on jobs like the bridge.

[Page 7, line 12] Mother Gunga or, as we should now spell it, Ganga, Gunga being the Hindu and Hindustani form of the westernised ‘Ganges’: Gunga is worshipped as a goddess because the waters are believed to cleanse from sin and even able to make a low-caste man into a holy one; Mother Gunga is sometimes shown as an alligator.

[Page 7, line 22] Kutch Mandvi Mandvi is on the Gulf of Cutch (or Kutch) some 250 miles north of Bulsar on the west coast of India.

[Page 7, lines 31-33] sea-priest a priest who serves seamen.

Black Water the open sea, the ocean.

[Page 8, line 11] Shiva (or Siva) The Blessed One; the third person in the Hindu Family, commonly known as the Destroyer of Life. He is the favourite deity of Hindu ascetics, though in other guises he is a jovial free liver and magician. He is also the Creator and Preserver. (See The Bull later in the story).

[Page 8, line 12] Kumpani’s boats the ‘Kumpani’ was the British India Steam Navigation Company.

[Page 8, line 22] silver pipe The traditional bo’s’n’s whistle, known in the Royal Navy as a ‘Call’, not a ‘pipe’, which is the sound it makes to convey an order. The Boatswain’s Call has now been superseded in the Royal Navy by modern methods of communication.

[Page 8, line 24] dungaree the blue cotton denim material from which overalls are made.

[Page 9, line 15] Mother Gunga eats great allowances Mother Gunga is hungry, for space, and will eat away at the embankments.

[Page 9, line 17] Chota Sahib the ‘Little Master’, as distinct from the Burra Sahib, the ‘Big’ or ‘Chief Master’ – Findlayson.

[Page 9, line 23] Quetta A cargo ship of British India Associated Steamers, which was wrecked on an uncharted rock in February 1890.

[Page 9, line 29] the Burra Malum The First Mate, the senior officer below the Captain on a cargo ship or liner.

[Page 9, line 33] jiboonwallah made-up word to mean ‘baboon-man’ or ‘stupid fellow’.

[Page 10, line 5] Nerbudda another British India steam-ship, named after another great river which flows westwards across Central India into the Gulf of Cambay.

[Page 10, line 5] Tuticorin was a port at the southern end of the South Indian Railway. The British India Steamship Company ran boats from there to Colombo in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon).

At one time in the far distant past Sri Lanka was connected to India by an isthmus about 75 miles long. Now there are two islands and three sea gaps, the chief one being about 30 miles long and filled with sandbanks and reefs. All this is called Adam’s Bridge from the legend, still believed by some Muslims that Sri Lanka was the place provided for Adam and Eve on their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. (See Hanuman’s reference to this ‘bridge’ on page 31, line 13).

[Page 10, line 16] sills like the lower horizontal part of a window-frame, to restrain the overflow of water.

[Page 10, line 18] we have bitted and bridled her we have held and restrained the river, as a horse is restrained by its rider.

[Page 10, line 20] in irons held like a prisoner in manacles.

[Page 10, line 30] poojah (or puja) obeisance.

[Page 11, line 8] sentry-path Findlayson had walked to and fro along the verandah like a sentry on guard duty.

[Page 11, line 12] eaten booted and spurred They dined in their working clothes, unlike men in less demanding jobs in British India, who would probably have changed for dinner. (See “In The Rukh” in Many Inventions page 211, line 28, in which – execpt when he is is out in camp – Gisborne, the Forest Officer, dresses for dinner every night, to preserve his self-respect.)

[Page 11, line 26] guru priest.

[Page 12, line II] tar (Hindustani) literally ‘wire’, a telegram.

[Page 12, line 18] Ranigunga a tributary of the Ganges. It is a difficult river to follow on the map, but rises east of Nanda Devi in Almora and runs into the Ganges above Cawnpore.

[Page 12, lines 20-21] Melipur Ghazi … Latodi Small places up-river.

[Page 12, line 32] Ganges Canal a large canal between Delhi and Cawnpore, some 350 miles from Varanasi.

[Page 13, lines 13-14] construction lines and turning-spur Presumably temporary railway lines, and a means of turning a locomotive or mobile crane.

[Page 13, line 29] conchs instruments like trumpets, made out of big sea shells.

[Page 13, line 33] ‘Stables’ McCartney must have been in the British Cavalry in his time and may be one of the comparatively few British soldiers, who – like Mulvaney in “The Big Drunk Draf'” in Soldiers Three – took their discharge in India, where there was no difficulty in obtaining employment. It must have been the only call he could blow, otherwise he would have sounded the ‘Alarm’.

[Page 14, line 25] Cribs timber frames forming foundations; here providing a base for the iron girders before they were put in place on the piers.

[Page 15, line 24] two feet of wire rope … a terrible thing to lash a man with. Ordinary rope would be bad enough but this would lacerate dreadfully; used more to frighten than to strike with.

[Page 16, line 10] Tarakee stone The stone for facing the embankments must have come from somewhere nearby. We have not traced the source of the name.

[Page 17, lines 16-18] sand … whisper and fizz This is very realistic, and easily remembered by one who has worked in these conditions; the sand absorbs vast quantities of water.

[Page 18, lines 9-13] there was a shriek … bellies the wall of flood-water swept away the timber cribs that supported the spans between the piers; the ironwork creaked as it moved.

[Page 20, line 9] Sumao there must have been several instances of bridges in India failing in such circumstances, but this seems to be an invented name.

[Page 20, line 15] Findlayson bolted shoe and the truss are imaginary patents but James Bell, the engineer who built the Sutlej Bridge, had devised many such. (See the note on page 1, line 1 above).

[Page 21, line 21] son of a pig An insult. It is in fact unlikely that any Hindu, however unorthodox, would have called anyone of whatever religion, soor-ka-bacha, however disreputable, in any circumstances, however trying. It would be even more insulting to a Muslim.

[Page 21, line 27] the wire rope colt In the Royal Navy up to comparatively recent times Boatswain’s Mates and Ship’s Police were armed with small ropes ends known as ‘colts’ or ‘starters’.

[Page 22, line 8] sheers (or shears). ‘sheer-legs’, two or three spars lashed together at the top and suitably guyed, by which to hoist heavy gear by tackle.

[Page 22, line 8] now we are in the hands of the Gods Here the story begins to turn from practical bridge-building to religious fantasy, the imaginations of the most imaginative of all great religions, here speeded up and enlarged by small doses of opium. Much of the Hindu Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses passes by, represented by their animal vehicles.

[Page 22, line 11] Toddy probably the fermented juice of the toddy-palm; there is also coconut-palm toddy.

[Page 22, line 17] Malwa In Central India. For more about opium, see Kipling’s article of 1889, “In an Opium Factory”.

[Page 24, line 20] pegged and stitched craft boats made without fastenings other than wooden pegs and stitches of coconut fibre to hold the planks together. They last quite well until the stitches rot.

[Page 25, line 6] duck about move erratically.

[Page 25, line 8] gunnel Gunwale, the top section of a small boat’s sides.

[Page 25, line 17] Accha! literally ‘all well!’ or ‘Good!’ – so ‘O.K.’

[Page 25, line 20] a rest for the sole of his foot see the Old Testament, Genesis 8,9, where the dove Noah sent out of the Ark to find dry land found no rest for the sole of her foot. Also Deuteronomy 28,65: ‘Neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest.’

[Page 26, line 9] indigo a regular crop grown for its rich dark-blue dye.

[Page 26, line 22] Deluge a great flood. When used with a capital “D” it refers to that associated with Noah in the Book of Genesis.

[Page 26, line 28] peepul or pipal trees, or bodhi-taru (bo-tree). A sacred fig-tree. Vishnu is said to have been born under its leaves and Gautama, the Buddha, sat under one and attained enlighten ment. It is therefore sacred to all Buddhists. It grows to great size and age.
From here to page 45 there is a debate about the bridge between the various Hindu deities. For readers for whom these are unfamiliar it may be useful to give a brief summary of the main points in that rich and complex system of ideas.

[For an introduction to Hinduism and its Gods, see also Hinduism, by
K. M. Sen, Pelican 1962.]
The Great Hindu Triad

  • BRAHMA the Creator
  • VISHNU the Preserver
  • SIVA the Destroyer

form the Trimurti

Brahma (right) is the supreme god of Hindu belief, and in the later pantheistic systems, the Divine Reality, of which the entire universe of matter and mind is only a manifestation.

The personal god, Brahma, is evolved from the above abstraction, and with Vishnu, the Preserver, and Siva, the Destroyer, forms the triad. Brahma is now less worshipped by Hindus than the other two. A Brahmin or Brahman is a member of the highest or priestly caste named after the god, who was so far removed from man that he remained in calm repose at all times. (See Page 39, line 30).

Vishnu (left), the second god of the triad with Brahma and Siva, is thought of as the Preserver. He had many incarnations, which were assumed when some disaster threatened the world.

[Page 27, line 7] Brahminee Bull The Bull is the manifestation of Sivam or Shiwa (right) , the third of’ the three great ones, regarded as the destroyer, while Brahma is the creator and Vishnu the preserver. However these three gods seem to be more or less interchangeable in their powers.

The Shaivas or Shiva-worshippers, on the grounds that, the eternity of the individual being reincarnation, destruction must precede creation, assign to him the first place in the triad. They identify him with creation as well as with destruction, and so constitute him the Supreme Being. He rides on a white bull, and is especially worshipped at Kashi, which is Varanasi. It is apparently as the Supreme Being that, in the form of the bull, he appears in this story.

Shiva is worshipped under a phallic symbol and is represented with three eyes, a necklace of skulls and a serpent wound about him. He is worshipped in particular at Kalighat, near Kolkata (previously called Calcutta). His wife is Durga – whose other names are Devi, Uma, and Kali. His symbol is a trident (line 8).

[Page 27, line 25] the Flood the capital “F” in this word is commonly reserved in English literature for Noah’s Flood as described in the Bible.

[Page 27, line 33] a green parrot one of the symbols of Krishna, the great deity of later Hinduism, worshipped as an incarnation of Vishnu, the second of the Trimurti. Krishna appears in the form of a handsome boy, the mischievous child who grew into the lovely young man. Many ages in Indian history over past centruries have contributed to the idea of Krishna as a symbol of life lived with passion and delight, expressing lyricism and love.

By fusion with the Vishnu of the older theology he becomes one of the chief divinities of Hinduism and is indeed an avatar of Vishnu, or else Vishnu himself. In his own physical character mingle myths of heaven and of the sun. In the epic he is a hero, invincible in war and in love: brave, but, above all, crafty. He was a brother of “Rama the Strong”. The parrot is an emblem of beauty and Krishna is the fifth main incarnation. cf Vishnu.

[Page 28, line 3] black-buck symbolising Indra, one of the oldest gods of the Aryans, worshipped by Hindus in the first stage of their religion, was, in Vedic theology the chief god of the sky and air, the rain-giver and type of beneficent power struggling against evil demons. Later subordinated to the great triad. Indra comes thundering, bringing the showers so needed by man, also with fire (the sun’s rays) and the lightning flashing from his horns.

[Page 28, line 10] a tigress This is the animal ridden by Kali (left) the consort of Shiva; in her images the body is black or dark blue and the insides of her hands are red. Her dishevelled hair reaches to her feet and she has a necklace of human heads, a cincture of blood-stained hands as she stands on the body of Shiva.

Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, which is marked with blood from the sacrifices which are made to her. She has a celebrated temple at Kalighat, near Kolkata and personifies destroying time: “Mother of Death” and “Mother of Sorrows”. She also gives her name to Kolkata.

[Page 28, line 13] Grey Ape a monkey chief who is a conspicuous figure in the Ramayana. He and the other monkeys who assisted Rama in his war against Ravana were of divine origin and superhuman powers: Hanuman jumped from India to Ceylon in one bound, tore up trees, carried away a peak of the Himalayas and performed other wonderful exploits. Accompanying Rama on his return to Ayodhya, he received from him the reward of perpetual life and youth. His armies toiled in Lanka, the habitation of Ravana and his demons, whose conquest by Ramchandra (Rama) after his wife Sita had been carried off by Ravana forms the subject of the Ramayana.

As to the remark ‘I also builded no small bridge…’, this can be taken to refer to the bridge they built across the Palk Strait and, obliquely., to Darwin’s theory of the descent of man from the apes, mentioned in the conversation as ‘the wreck of his armies . . . ‘. There may also be an oblique reference here to the British being often referred to by Indians as monkeys.

The Ramayana is one of the two great Hindu epic poems (the other being the Mahabharata) and was originally composed about 300 B.C. Hanuman, the monkey-god, known as Maruti in South India, is one of the most-worshipped of all the gods of the Hindus. In the story he is called ‘beloved’ and ‘Jester of the Gods’ – it has been suggested that the English may be descended from him through a female servant. In parts of India it is believed that monkeys can talk, but don’t choose to do so: ‘The monkeys are wise, and know that if they could talk man would make them work.’.

[Page 28, line 18] a drunken man an incarnation of the monkey-god.

[Page 28, lines 27-28] a crocodile the incarnation of the spirit of the great river Ganges, or Mother Ganga. (right) See page 29, line 4 and page 37, line 16, where the name ‘Mugger’, used by the common people, is used. See also “The Undertakers” in The Second Jungle Book. This drawing, with the bridge in the background, is one of Lockwood Kipling’s illustrations to that story.
Mugger is the Hindi name for the crocodile. He is the vehicle of Mother Gunga, and thus her representative in the Council of the vehicles of the Gods.

[Page 29, line 8] Punchayet of the Gods a council of discussion after the manner of the Hindu lawgivers and their courts.

[Page 29, line 13] a great trunk and gleaming tusks the first mention of the Elephant who here represents Ganesh (Ganesha), the Lord of the Ganas, or troops of inferior deities, especially those attendant on Shiva. He is the god of wisdom and the remover of obstacles, propitiated at the beginning of any important undertaking and invoked at the commencement of books. (See the covers of the Pocket Edition and elsewhere.) He is the son of Shiva, and is the god of good luck. There are many ways of spelling these names in English.

[Page 29, line 21] Kashi is without the Kotwal i.e. Varanasi, or the bridge, is without her guardian; Kotwal can mean Chief of Police, Town Magistrate or Guardian.

[Page 29, line 33] spotted sickness small-pox – the goddess Sitala is responsible for this dreadful disease for she is one of the ten manifestations of Kali the destroyer and her vahan or steed Mata. (see the note on page 5, line 12 above)

[Page 30, line 2] nose-slitten hide-worn Ass For many centuries the donkey was the worst treated of all the animals, scarcely ever fed and cruelly beaten, because he was said to bear some of the blame for Mata, the personification of small-pox.

[Page 30, line 8 and 9] Sitala and Mata Marriamman or Sita, that is the dread small-pox. If it does not kill, it disfigures.

[Page 31, line 11] great ape the monkey-headed one who assisted Vishnu at the time he was undertaking his service.

[Page 31, line 18] Lanka an early name for the capital of Sri Lanka sometimes applied to the island itself.

[Page 31, line 21] fire-carriage the railway train, especially the engine.

[Page 31, line 31] Mombassa Another British India ship, built in 1889.

[Page 32, line 4] mahajuns Ganesh is the god of the book-keepers; some of the most assiduous keepers of books are the moneylenders and bankers.

[Page 32, line 31] Bhairon A minor god of Northern India, usually depicted as a stout black figure, a fierce manifestation of Shiva.

[Page 33, line 3] Pryag Correctly Prayag, the old Hindu name for the city later called Allahabad by the Mogul Emperor Akbar (1556-1605).

[Page 33, line 33] Pooree or Puri, the town in Orissa with the celebrated Hindu temple with the statue of Juggernaut (Jagan-Nath, the Lord of the World), one of the titles of Krishna, and mentioned in the story “The Bisara of Pooree” (Plain Tales from the Hills).

[Page 34, line 2] bound the sickness to the wheels Indian people had always travelled considerable distances to make pilgrimages and to see relatives even before the railways, but the iron roads increased the numbers of people travelling, and therefore increased the spread of smallpox.

[Page 34, line 24] the new faith Christianity.

[Page 34, line 25] the Woman Mary, the Mother of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, who seems to be represented like the previously most important goddess in India, Kali, as having twelve arms. Hanuman is probably trying to suggest that the Indian Christians have evolved a Divine Mother, fundamentally the same as the Hindus.

[Page 36, line 5] Gopis Milkmaids. Krishna indulged in much dalliance with them; once he took all their clothes and sat up a tree with them when the girls were bathing. (See also KJ 328 for Sep 2008 pp.25-26, for Guy Liardet’s description of Krishna engaging them in erotic play).

[Page 36, line 15] Karma Correctly Kama, the God of Love, the Hindu Cupid, husband of Rati, goddess of pleasure. The steed of Kama plays a leading part in folk tales and has come to be regarded as a guardian of domestic honour. (Karma is a Hindu and Buddhist concept with an entirely different meaning.)

The popinjay is an auspicious bird to have in the house. He is Mian Mittu of the Mohammedans (see “Without Benefit of Clergy” in Life’s Handicap). In parts of Europe the ‘popinjay’ may be the green woodpecker, but in India it is the parrot which Krishna seems willing to share with Kama, whose wife is Rati.

‘Popinjay’ is an old name for a parrot (of Arabic origin, also Greek papagos). In old England the first Sunday in May was the festival of the popinjay, which was a parti-coloured representation of a parrot placed at the top of a pole for shooting practice.

[Page 38, line 10] leaf-roofs probably the palm-leaves plaited into the roofs of the huts.

[Page 38, line 31] lotahs lotas, or lootahs, water-pots, usually of brass.

[Page 40, line 4] men from across the water the British brought the engineers who built the bridges and so challenged the old gods.

[Page 40, line 15] jester of the gods this seems to be Bhairon, the local god of the common people who is so named by Ganesh.

[Page 40, line 21] noosers of dogs people of such low caste that they lived on such unclean animals as rats and dogs which they caught in snares or nooses.

[Page 41, line 10] Goorkha or Gurkha still another British India Steamship, as was Rewah (page 45, line 5). Rewah was a state in Central India.

[Page 42, lines 22-24] When Brahm ceases to dream the Heavens and the Hells and Earth disappear. Be content. Brahm dreams still. Professor Harish Trivedi has noted that Brahm[a]’s dream is used by Kipling as a measure of eternity in this story, and he has suggested that it may be helpful to include some details of the traditional reckoning of time for Brahma.

  • 1000 Mahayugas = 1 kalpa = 1 day (day only) of Brahma, i.e. 4.32 billion human years; which is close to the scientifically estimated age of the Sun (4.59 Billion Years). Two kalpas constitute a day and night of Brahma.
  • 30 days of Brahma = 1 month of Brahma (259.2 billion human years)
  • 12 months of Brahma = 1 year of Brahma (3.1104 trillion human years)
  • 50 years of Brahma = 1 Pararddha
  • 2 parardhas = 100 years of Brahma = 1 Para = 1 Mahakalpa (the lifespan of
    Brahma)(311.04 trillion human years)
  • One day of Brahma is divided into 10,000 parts called charanas. The charanas are divided as follows into the four Yugas:
    • 4 charanas (1,728,000 solar years) Satya Yuga
    • 3 charanas(1,296,000 solar years) Treta Yuga
    • 2 charanas(864,000 solar years) Dwapar Yuga
    • 1 charanas(432,000 solar years) Kali Yuga

[Page 45, line 4] tufan An Arabic word, meaning a violent storm of wind and rain at sea. The English typhoon is derived from it.

[Page 45, line 5] life-lines A life-line is a rope rigged fore and after along the deck to provide a ship’s crew with a handhold when working in rough weather: without it a heavy sea could sweep them overboard.

[Page 46, line 7] Rao Sahib a small Rajah or large landowner.

[Page 46, line 11] Baraon probably an invented state or estate.

[Page 46, line 15] bear-led a ‘bear leader’ in this connection is a travelling tutor engaged to take a young man on a tour.

[Page 46, line 20] Morphus he tries to pronounce the Latin word Morpheus, the god of dreams.

[Page 46, line 31] tail of the island the downstream end.

[Page 47, line 4] seven koss Probably some 14 miles, though the length of a koss varies in different parts of India.


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