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


English as it was spoken in India in the late 19th century featured many Hindustani words that had been Anglicized. Some of these would enter the mainstream of global English (i.e., "bungalow," "pajamas"), while others would remain local to British India or disappear from common usage in English as the legacy of colonialism receded in the mid-20th century. The way the Kiplings in particular (especially Lockwood and Rudyard) invoked northern Indian languages is fascinating and worthy of more scholarly scrutiny than it has hitherto received. 

To maximize the readability of the works presented on this site and to provide a service to scholars who will use it, we have been working diligently to annotate the texts we are presenting as richly as possible. We are drawing on our own knowledge of Indian languages (in many cases, the Kiplings use fairly straightforward vocabulary from spoken Hindustani), but also on "Hobson-Jobson" (using the Hobson-Jobson online resource hosted by the University of Chicago), and Michael Smith's Anglo-Indian glossary for the Kipling Society website. Some Glossary entries for obscure words not derived from Indian languages use other sources, including the Oxford English Dictionary. If readers have any corrections or improvements on our glosses, we would very much appreciate feedback. Feedback can be sent to amsp AT lehigh DOT edu. 

Wherever possible, we have tried to add usefulness to the glossary by including variations on the Roman spelling of various Hindustani words. In the late 19th century, Anglo-Indian writers might have represented a turban as "pugree" or "pagree"; today, writers would be more likely to write "pagri." We have tried to include all of these variations in each entry. 

This page is a work in progress. At present it contains about 200 entries; when the site is complete, it may contain many more. 

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