Page 254. " Very fat; but I perceived in a little his mind was wholly given up to useless things "

 Kim is full of passages that mock Huree Chunder Mukherjee as the stereotype of a Bengali intellectual: overweight, verbose and fearful, as well as a show-off and a sycophantic Anglophile. Kipling was well-known for his supposed dislike of Bengali intellectuals. Nirad Chaudhuri, the Bengali scholar, admitted to having avoided reading Kim for years, bearing in mind the author's reputation.

Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali artist and writer who was Kipling's contempory and fellow Nobel laureate, was vehemently opposed to Kipling and his work, and is widely believed to have written his novel Gora ('white person') as a response. 

This said, the Bengali babu has often been hailed as one of the book's most loveable characters. It can be argued that Kipling's portrayal of Huree Mukherjee simply falls in line with the satirical spirit of Kim as a picaresque novel.

Page 256. " a sheet of strangely scented yellow Chinese paper, the brushes, and slab of Indian ink "
Calligraphy Brush
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCalligraphy Brush - Credit: Ayelie, wikimedia commons


Calligraphy is central to Tibetan culture. A high lama such as Teshoo lama would almost certainly have been trained in the art. Most high religious writing involved calligraphy, which is particularly evident on Tibetan prayer wheels.


Page 262. " an all but naked, ash-smeared, ochre-barred, dusty-haired Saddhu "
Creative Commons AttributionSadhu - Credit: paalia, Flickr


A sadhu, or shadhu, is a type of Hindu holy man. He can be a mystic, an ascetic, a yogi (practitioner of yoga) or a wandering monk. To earn the name ‘sadhu’ a person must be absolutely dedicated to achieving Moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth, re-birth and suffering). Sadhus are often clothed in ochre: a colour associated with renunciation.