Kipling and Afghanistan

A Study of the Young Author as Journalist Writing on the Afghan Border Crisis of 1884–1885


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About the Book

Alive with adventure, rich with exotic detail, the voice of Rudyard Kipling carried readers to faraway locations and brought new, exciting scenes to their doorsteps. Born and raised in India, Kipling became the voice of the eastern British Empire, and his writing extensively covered Central Asia. Early in his career, Kipling drew inspiration not from travels of his own, but from working with far-flung correspondents at the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, Pakistan, where he served as assistant editor. One of his chief correspondents was Dr. Charles Owen, a close friend of his father’s who served a tour of duty with the Afghan Boundary Commission between 1884 and 1886 addressing the border dispute between Great Britain and Russia. This historical biography provides a new perspective on Kipling’s days as an employee of the Civil and Military Gazette. Information garnered from newly uncovered letters and diaries of Dr. Owen (acquired by the National Army Museum in 1998) gives personal insight into Kipling’s life as well as firsthand perceptions of the Boundary Commission’s work. In addition, appendices provide a wealth of information regarding articles by Kipling, articles attributed to Kipling or his supervisor Wheeler, Kipling’s translations of Russian dispatches, and Boundary Commission reports.

About the Author(s)

Author and translator Neil K. Moran is an editor of the Canadian Oriental Rug Magazine. He has contributed articles to the Kipling Journal as well as several journals related to Central Asia. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Bibliographic Details

Neil K. Moran

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 243
Bibliographic Info: photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2282-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements      v
Preface      1

1: Prologue      3
2: The Journey to Sarakhs      14
3: The ABC Reaches Its Destination      29
4: Her Majesty’s Troops Retreat      48
5: England and Russia Face to Face in Asia      69
6: Forging the Boundary      86
7: The ABC in Lahore      96

Introduction to the Appendices      107
Appendix I: Articles by Rudyard Kipling      110
Appendix II: Articles on Central Asia and Afghanistan Attributed to Kipling or Wheeler      189
Appendix III: Translations by Rudyard Kipling      190
Appendix IV: Afghan Boundary Commission Reports from Correspondents      204
Appendix V: Members of the Afghan Boundary Commission      206
Notes      213
Selected Bibliography      221
Index      225

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Well-illustrated…fascinating reading…based on intensive research”—Kipling Journal