Rudyard Kipling birthplace - literary landmarks in Mumbai
Architecture,  Books,  Culture,  Mumbai

A birth place of Rudyard Kipling – J J School of Art in Mumbai

Every time I went to the Crawford Market , I couldn’t stop admiring the building of Anjuman-i-Islam School, just like almost any other structure in the historical center of Mumbai.

Anjuman-i-Islam School Mumbai
Anjuman-i-Islam School, Mumbai

Right next to the school there is Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, and a  couple of days ago I found out it was actually a birth place of Rudyard Kipling. For many years his home was used as the residence of the dean of J J School of Art in Mumbai. His father, Lockwood Kipling, was a fine sculptor and  the Principal  of Architectural Sculpture in this school. Nothing makes me feel the essence of a particular epoch so vividly as visiting a museum of a writer I like. I suppose this effect can be explained by a double impact of historical heritage and the impressions from great works of literature.

birth place of Rudyard Kipling
A cottage where Rudyard Kipling lived. (Image source)

It was like that with the museum at the birthplace of Taras Shevchenko, for example. Hopefully, one day I’ll have a chance to visit The Maison de Balzac in Paris – the house museum of Honore de Balzac, whose works were a great consolation to me in my teens – it was much easier to bear the reality knowing you can always switch to one of the 91 books of his La Comédie humaine.

But coming back to the birth place of Rudyard Kipling – he’s never been one of my favorites, until I moved to India and his works actually started to speak to me. Just before moving I was advised to read his “Kim” – this is the best book to help one understand the spirit of the country, even though it was written more than a century ago. After becoming a mother and wondering what sort of people my kids might become, in my thoughts I often went back to Kipling’s “IF”.  No matter how idealistic it is, perhaps it’s idealism in the purest form what makes us better people.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaste

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


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