The Story of Muhammad Din

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Plain Tales from the Hills, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.

[Heading] This is believed to be a translation of “Hymns of the Saints”, a Sanskrit manuscript discovered and translated by Professor Peter Peterson (1847–99)

[Page 297, line 1] polo-ball usually made of bamboo-root or willow,

[Page 297, line 3] khitmatgar a servant who waits at table – a butler.

[Page 297, line 5] the Heaven-born  An expression of respect to a person of a higher rank, often used  by Kipling to convey in English the sense of such a dialogue. Harish Trivedi notes that it is not a direct translation of a phrase in Punjabi or Hindi.

[Page 298, line 22] budmash properly bad-ma’ash from the Persian bad meaning ‘evil’ and Arabic ma’ash meaning ‘means of livelihood’. [Hobson-Jobson].

[Page 298, line 24] jail-khana a hybrid word for ‘prison’ commonly used in the Bombay Presidency and elsewhere. [Hobson-Jobson].

[Page 299, line 4] Tahib Sahib – a polite form of address; the child is lisping. (This is an early example of Kipling’s rendering of the speech of small children, which has often irritated critics and readers.)

[Page 299, lines 10 / 11] Talaam, Tahib more lisping – Salaam, Sahib from the Arabic. Salam means ‘peace’ and is often accompanied by a courteous gesture.

[Page 299, line 28] water-man … well-curb Indian gardens usually had a well and a man to do the watering.

[J. McG.]