“To seek another’s profit

And work another’s gain”

–The White Man’s Burden by Rudyard Kipling

 

On this day, December 30th, 1865 Rudyard Kipling was born in India. He was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist and is famous for ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Kim’ and ‘The White Man’s Burden’. It is still widely debated whether ‘The White man’s Burden’ was meant to be satirical or not but it illustrated the importance of colonialism and urged the U.S. to take up the “burden” of empire, as had Britain and other European nations. It caught Theodore Roosevelt’s attention too, who at that time, was just starting on his colonialist agendas and interventions. He copied the poem and sent it to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, commenting that it was “rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.” Today, several facets of imperialism and colonialism are justified by the very idea embedded in ‘The White Man’s Burden’- which believes that the duty of the white man is to’ free’ the ‘uncivilized’ stratas of the world.