The Naulahka – XI

Notes on the text

by Sharad Keskar

[Page 133, line 11] The agent sahib a senior British official, representing the Indian Government. This was a method adopted by the British Raj in 1877 to curb the excesses of the less public-minded Rajahs and other rulers of native states in India.

Roger Lancelyn Green, the then Editor of the Kipling JOurnaL reported to the ORG Editors that when, as a boy, he was reading The Naulahka, his maternal grandfather (Colonel C. W. H. Sealy, who had been a Political Resident in India for fifteen years, having served in several of the States between 1890 and 1905) talked to him about the novel. He said it was incredible how Kipling could have drawn such an accurate picture of conditions in such a State, of the mentality of a typical Rajah, of the difficulties of a Resident and of the relationships of the Residents to the Rajahs. He said Kipling had exaggerated nothing—rather he had toned things down.

[Page 133, line 22] the shopkeeper people the Maharajah in referring to the English as what Napoleon called them: that “nation of shop keepers”.

[Page 134, line 12] Windsor chair a wooden chair with rounded back formed of upright rod-like pieces, sometimes with arms, possibly first made near Windsor on the River Thames in Berkshire.

[Page 135, line 4] Cutch mare one of several local breeds of horses—some of them very well-known. This one came from the districts around the Gulf of Cutch and the Great Rann of Cutch to the north of Bombay.

[Page 135, line 29] Jeysingh a common Rajput princely name, especially in Jaipur.

[Page 136, line 5] Indur Indra, in Vedic theology the chief god of Heaven and of thunder; equivalent to the Norse god Thor.

[Page 136, line 26] Musk at that time there were two sources of the very heavy scent, a secretion of the musk-deer, and the plant Mimulus Moschatus, which had a strong musky odour: in Britain this plant lost its aroma during the quarter century 1900-1925, and has not recovered it.

[Page 137, line 11] Pundit teacher, scholar.

[Page 137, line 25] ‘Tiger, Tiger, burning bright…’ these seven lines are from William Blake’s (1757-1827) famous poem “The Tiger”, one of the Songs of Experience (1794). The ‘last line’mentioned is part of the penultimate verse.

[Page 139, line 9] Miss Estes this ought to be either Mrs. Estes or Miss Sheriff but it is the small boy speaking.

[Page 141, line 30] Shabash a congratulatory exclamation (Hindustani). ‘Well-done!’

[Page 142, line 11] ‘Maro !’ ‘strike !’ (Hindustani).

[Page 142, line 22] I rode pig went pig-sticking.

[Page 143, line 13] Granite-topped hills presumably the ancient Aravallis.

[Page 144, line 5] the Poonah cup there were good race meetings at Poona (near Bombay); no doubt this was the chief race at one of these meetings.

[Page 144, line 6] A bay pony bay-coloured, i.e., of a dark reddish-brown colour. A bay ranges from dark brown to black.

[S.K.]