Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Mention may justifiably be made here to Rudyard Kipling who worked on the Civil and Military Gazette and the Pioneer and at the same time, produced his early literary works. Born in India in 1865, Kipling returned to India at the age of 17 to join the editorial staff of the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, the only other member being Stephen Wheeler who was in full charge. He threw himself with enthusiasm into his work which consisted of nearly all the proof-reading and the re-writing of dull government reports into readable articles. He took a month off in the summer, which he spent in the hills in Simla, and back he was at his work in the heat of May. A number of his poems was published in the Civil and Military Gazette. Soon, those poems were published in book form. Rudyard Kipling had the first edition of Departmental Duties and other Verses published under his own supervision. It sold out in a few weeks and he entrusted the second edition to Thacker Spink & Co. of Kolkata, who thereafter published all his later works.
True to his well meaning disposition to journalism and writing, as if specially sent by God to work and guide others in the field, Kipling was none too happy with his position on the Civil and Military Gazettee and the proprietors of the Gazette and the Pioneer were not satisfied with the paper as it was then produced. A new editor, was taken in. Robinson, and he and Kipling introduced many changes in the Gazette including short stories and light verse. One of Kipling's heroes was Lord Roberts but that did not prevent him from writing in the Pioneer, to which he was transferred in 1887, that the General was putting too many of his friends and relatives in positions of military authority. This almost landed Kipling in trouble, but he lived it down and took full advantage of the unlimited space available to him in the Allahabad paper. The atmosphere of the Pioneer was heavy and allowed little room for Kipling's light verse. He, nevertheless, kept up his literary activities in the little spare time he had.
His frivolous treatment of government news for publication in the Pioneer embarrassed the proprietors and they looked on him as a liability rather than an asset. In order to keep the paper free of his mischief, they sent him off on a roving mission to other parts of India. Towards the end of 1888, he was badly in need of money and he sold his rights in his books and went off on a roving mission again, this time to Kolkata, Moulmein, to Penang and Singapore, to Hong Kong, Osaka, Yokahama and finally to San Francisco. While in the United States, he interviewed Mark Twain for his paper. He landed in England and a while later, he set out for Africa in 1891. He was back in Lahore for Christmas, but he left for London again immediately after. He traveled for seven years, writing for his paper and then settled down to a quiet life in England. Right through his travels, he sent accounts to his papers some of which probably did not see print, but Kipling's name is remembered in the office of the Civil and Military Gazette today, a room being set apart where Kipling's relics are preserved, the Pioneer sold away some of his first editions for a rupee each and they drifted away into the second-hand book shops from which some of them were retrieved, one of them being sold in the United States in the thirties for £2000.

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