Chapter VII

Notes on the text

(by Sharad Keskar)

[Page 163, verse heading] ‘Unto whose use the pregnant suns are poised’; Kipling’s attribution to Sir Jihn Christie is mere sophistry. It is by Kipling, and is included in The Definitive Edition.[p. 569] of his poems.

pregnant suns pregnant in the sense of giving life.

By Adam’s father’s own sin bound This line is correctly punctuated to read: “(By Adam’s, fathers’, own, sin bound alway)”, which underlines (as Kim is about to cross the threshold of learning), the Wheel of Life, in which the sin of Adam, the sins of our fathers, and our own, visit us.

Say which planet mends thy threadbare fate or mars as Kim crosses the divide between ignorance and learning, what indeed does the future hold? What fate is in the offing for this “Friend of the Stars”.

[main text, line 14] Bhotiyal Tibet or Nepal.

[Page 164, line 32] cheroot a thin, small cigar with square ends.

[Page 166, line 17] Bibi Miriam literally, Lady Mary. The Mother of Jesus is also venerated by Muslims.

[Page 166, line 23] a chain-man “the first step on the ladder of Survey, as the chain is the first stage on the road to a map; the chain is 66 feet long”. [Brigadier Alec Mason, in the ORG]

[Page 169, line 6] brother-in law the Hindi word for wife’s (not husband’s) brother is sala, which is also a demeaning term of abuse — used so often that it has lost value and become a general term of light abuse, and seldom taken too seriously.

[Page 170, line 2] tum [Hindi, pr. toom] is “you” in the familiar form when addressing equals, as opposed to ap which is the formal “thou”, for elders and superiors.

[Page 170, line 23] Imambara one of the world’s largest vaulted halls built by Asaf-ud Daula in 1784. He lies buried there. [Imambara is a term which also applies to a tomb of a Shi-ite Moslem saint.] From its roof can be seen spectacular views of Lucknow.

[Page 170, line 24] Chutter Munzil A Royal pavilion with the familiar Hindu-Saracenic architectural roof-top “stone” umbrellas. [chutter or more correctly chattari means ‘umbrella’]. There are two such pavilions in Lucknow and at least one housed the women of the royal household.

[Page 171, line 4] great old school La Martiniere College, built by Major-General Claude Martin, a French soldier of fortune and businessman. He was taken prisoner in Pondicherry in 1761, but later served in the East India Company, simultaneously offering his services to the Nawab of Oudh. He amassed a fortune and built a palatial home for himself. Much of the building was designed by him, and the result was a huge folly of mixed architectural features in the grand manner. But before this stately home was completed he died. Martin left money and instructions for the house to be his mausoleum and used as a school.

Another important grave in the school is that of William Stephen Raikes Hodson, who raised Hodson’s Horse, a cavalry regiment [still extant in the Indian Army] which he led in the Mutiny of 1857. The next year, he was wounded and died in Lucknow aged 36.

[Page 173, line 26] a Pathan A Muslim inhabitant of the North West Frontier Province, now the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

[Page 175. Line 28] Dhurrumtollah in Calcutta a district popular among Eurasians; hence it houses families with such names: Pereiras, De Souzas, and D’Silvas.

[Page 176, line 1] Howrah opposite the River Hoogly from Calcutta, and now linked by the impressive Howrah Bridge.

[Page 176, line 2] Monghyr and Chunar towns on the Ganges. Monghyr in Bihar and Chunar, 10 miles south-west of Benares; places to which Anglo-Indians retired on pension.

[Page 176, line 3] Shillong capital of Assam.

[Page 176, line 29] Akas Brigadier Alec Mason, in the ORG, says: “a primitive savage mountain tribe against whom in 1883 an expedition was sent, east of Bhutan and north of the Brahmaputra.”

[Page 178, line 33] bullock-trunk leather covered wooden chest.

[Page 179, line 1] bedding-roll a strong canvas and leather waterproof holdall to encase bedding kit.

[Page 179, line 22] Naikan Feminine form of Nai [barber]; a woman barber.

[Page 180, line 23] hubshi Hindi for African.

[Page 180, line 17] Shaitan Urdu for Satan. In Islam, Satan is Iblis, not Lucifer.

[Page 183, line 17] the Great Game read Peter Hopkirk’s book with that title to get the full impact of this military game of espionage between, mainly, Britain and Russia, to gain supremacy in South Asia.

[Page 183, line 21] jackal a wild dog-like animal, not unlike the Australian dingo, looks like a fox, but is larger; hunts in packs and is a scavenger.

[Page 185, line 1] Salaam-Sahib Peace! O pure one! [Brigadier Alec Mason, in the ORG]