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In Kipling's defence.

Byline: Zahid Islam-Karachi

THIS is with reference to the letter 'Kipling and Forster' (Aug 8) which suggests that injustice was probably done to E.M. Forster by depriving him of the Nobel prize, unlike Rudyard Kipling, who, despite being a racist, became the first British writer to win the Nobel prize for literature. There have been many deserving British writers who never won the Nobel. Thomas Hardy, for example, whose novels and poems have fascinated millions from every walk of life for over five decades, was one of them.

Kipling was not just a writer of stories taught in schools. Many of his short stories and poems are simply unforgettable and remain etched in one's memory for years. His description of the Grand Trunk Road in a chapter of his magnum opus, Kim, is an example of 'impressionist' prose never excelled by any British writer.

He is also one of the most quoted writers in journals and magazines. Here is a fine example from the poem Tomlinson: 'For the sin that ye do by two and two, ye must pay for one by one!'

I remember watching Zia Mohyeddin as Dr Aziz in Forster's A Passage to India that was screened by Pakistan Television (PTV) many years ago, and his portrayal of the character is the finest I have seen so far, yet the nuances and subtle differences that Forster wanted to convey have seldom reached the average reader or audience.

On the other hand, Kipling is not restricted to high-brow intellectuals or university students, but is enjoyed by the common reader around the globe, and that is the reason why his works have been continuously in print since 1910. He truly deserved his Nobel prize.

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Author:Zahid Islam-Karachi
Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 15, 2021
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