Re-evaluating Kipling’s Indian and Colonial Fiction



A few years ago, a columnist in the New Yorker magazine has written that ‘in recent years Rudyard Kipling’s reputation has taken a beating that it has become a wonder any sensible critic would want to go near him now.’[1] Kipling has been to an extent persona non grata due to his often misinterpreted views that have variously labelled him as a colonialist, a jingoist, a racist, and a warmonger. This article is therefore not an attempt to defend the writer from all these charges as much as an endeavour to show that his views were more complicated and conflicted than he is given credit for. By delving into Kipling’s Indian fiction and exploring his pro and anti-colonial approaches, this article aims at re-evaluating Kipling’s notorious reputation and showing that embedded in the colonial narratives are dissonant discourses which inspire far more subversive readings than hitherto perceived.

[1] Charles McGrath, ‘Rudyard Kipling in America’, (Jul, 2019),


Rudyard Kipling; conflict; Indian fiction; Plain Tales from the Hills; Kim; re-evaluation; dissonant discourses; subversive readings

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