The Kiplings and India: A Collection of Writings from British India, 1870-1900

A Legend of the F.O. (Rudyard Kipling)

This is the reason why Rustum Beg,
Rajah of Kolazai,
Drinketh the "simpkin" and brandy peg,
Maketh the money to fly,
Vexeth a Government, tender and kind,
Also—but this is a detail—blind.

Rustum Beg of Kolazaislightly backward native state
Lusted for a C. S. I.,so began to sanitate.
Built a Gaol and Hospitalnearly built a City drain
Till his faithful subjects all thought their Ruler was insane.

Strange departures made he thenyea, Departments stranger still,
Half a dozen Englishmen helped the Rajah with a will,
Talked of noble aims and highhinted of a future fine
For the state of Kolazai, on a strictly Western line.

Rajah Rustum held his peace; lowered octroi dues a half;
Organized a State Police; purified the Civil Staff;
Settled cess and tax afresh in a very liberal way;
Cut temptations of the fleshalso cut the Bukhshi's pay;

Roused his Secretariat to a fine Mahratta fury,
By a Hookum hinting at supervision of dasturi;
Turned the State of Kolazai very nearly upside-down;
When the end of May was nigh, waited his achievement crown.

When the Birthday Honors came, Sad to state and sad to see,
Stood against the Rajah's name nothing more than C. I. E.!
  *   *   *   *   *

Things were lively for a week in the State of Kolazai.
Even now the people speak of that time regretfully.

How he disendowed the Jailstopped at once the City drain;
Turned to beauty fair and frailgot his senses back again;
Doubled taxes, cesses, all; cleared away each new-built thana;
Turned the two-lakh Hospital into a superb Zenana;

Heaped upon the Bukhshi Sahib wealth and honors manifold;
Clad himself in Eastern garbsqueezed his people as of old.
Happy, happy Kolazai!  Never more  will Rustum Beg
Play to catch the "Lat Sahib's" eye. He prefers the "simpkin" peg.

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