“Oh, East is East, and West is West,
And never the twain shall meet,
Till earth and sky stand presently,
At God’s great judgment seat”wrote Rudyard Kipling in Ballad of East and West. India was called the “Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire.”
Since ancient times, India had approximately 20 percent of the world’s population, speaking over 1,000 different languages and dialects.
India drew its name from the Indus River, which came from the old Persian name “Hindus“, derived from the old Sanskrit word “Sindhu,” meaning “large body of trembling water,” as the river cascaded from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean.
Evidence of habitation dates back to 3300 BC, with a Harappan civilization from 2600 to 1900 BC.
Famous Iron Age Vedic kingdoms were the Magadha (1200-321 BC), and Mahavira (599-527 BC), during the time of Gautama Buddha.
Alexander the Great crossed the Indus River in 326 BC to conquer India, but after the Battle of the Hydaspes his army mutinied, refusing to fight further east across the Hyphasis River.
His Machiavellian royal advisor, Chanakya, strategically fanned hostilities between various Indian kingdoms allowing Chandragupta to take control.
The Golden Age of India was during the Gupta Empire 320-550 AD.
Marco Polo traveled from Europe across India on his way to China in 1271, where he worked for Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan.
In 1398, an heir of Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, called the “Sword of Islam,” conquered into India.
Tamerlane, determined to kill as many ‘infidels’ as possible, executed hundreds of thousands in Delhi. He told his men to come back with a head in each hand, which they piled up to leave pyramids of skulls.
When Muslims cut off land trade routes to India and China, Europeans looked for a sea route, beginning The Age of Discovery.
Columbus thought he had sailed to India in 1492, so he named the inhabitants “Indians,” and the Caribbean Sea, the “West Indies.”
In 1498, Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama finally reached the southern coast of India, colonizing the province of Gao.
They encountered Christian churches in southern India which traced their origins back to the Apostle Thomas. These churches continued early Christian traditions until the Portuguese forced them to adopt European traditions.
In 1519, a Muslim descendant of Tamerlane was Babur, who conquered northern India and established the Muslim Mughal Dynasty.
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in 1653 as a tomb for his beloved third wife Mumtaz Mahal. Legends persist that to prevent another building built to rival its beauty he had the workers’ hands cut off.
Dutch, French and Danish colonies were established in India until driven out by the British.
The British East India Company was founded in 1600 and traded in valuable commodities such as tea, cotton, silk, indigo (blue) dye, salt, saltpetre (needed for gunpowder) and opium, which they forcibly imported into China, causing the Opium Wars.
Tea from the British East India Company was thrown in Boston’s Harbor by America’s Revolutionary patriots during the famous Boston Tea Party
The British East India Company strategically fanned hostilities between various Indian kingdoms, supplying arms and ammunition to different sides, which allowed them to take control of most of India by 1757.
A hundred years later, the people of India rebelled against the British East India Company, resulting in the British Crown taking direct control of India in 1858.
Queen Victoria began using the title Empress of India in 1876.
The introduction of the English language positioned India to become a leading economic power later in the 20th century.
During this time, Rudyard Kipling was born in India on DECEMBER 30, 1865, in the city of Mumbai, which the British called Bombay,
His grandparents on both sides were Methodist ministers.
At the age of 5, Rudyard Kipling was sent back to England for schooling.
Poor eyesight ended young Kipling’s hopes of a British military career and in 1882, at the age of 16, Kipling returned to India as a journalist.
At the age of 22, Kipling published numerous collections of stories: Plain Tales from the Hills; Soldiers Three; The Story of the Gadsbys; In Black and White; Under the Deodars; The Phantom Rickshaw; and Wee Willie Winkie.
In 1889, Kipling left India and traveled to Rangoon, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, finally landing in San Francisco.
Kipling traveled across the United States to New York, where he met Mark Twain.
They married in 1892 and settled in Vermont, where two of their children were born.
Rudyard Kipling wrote captivating stories, such as:
The Jungle Book (1894);
The Man Who Would Be King (1888);
Baa Baa Black Sheep, Georgie Porgie, and
Captains Courageous (1897).
In 1896, Kipling moved his family back to England.
In 1898, they began what would become a yearly winter holiday in South Africa. There Kipling gained first hand knowledge of the Boer War.
Kipling declined King George V‘s offer of knighthood, Poet Laureate and Order of Merit, though he accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.
Kipling’s son John was killed in World War I at the Battle of Loos in 1915. He was 18 years old.
Kipling’s daughter Josephine died of pneumonia at age six.
In Recessional (1897), Kipling wrote:
In The Conundrum of the Workshops, Rudyard Kipling wrote:
“Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the Four Great Rivers flow,
In The Last Chantey, Rudyard Kipling wrote:
“Then cried the soul of the stout Apostle Paul to God:
Ronald Reagan, upon ending his term as President of the United States, gave a speech, December 13, 1988, in which he quoted Rudyard Kipling:
“As I prepare to lay down the mantle of office… I cannot help believe that what Rudyard Kipling said of another time and place is true today for America:
‘We are at the opening verse of the opening page of the chapter of endless possibilities.’
Thank you, and God bless you.”
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
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!
For God’s Glory Alone Ministries thanks Bill Federer and www.AmericanMinute.com