An attempt should be made to prepare a moral text-book based upon the fundamental principles of natural religion, such as may be taught in all Government and non-Government colleges—Vide Resolution in this week's G-tte of I--a.The poem was reprinted in the Pioneer Mail on 22 July 1888, and the Civil amd Military Gazette on 23 July. It is collected, with some passages deleted (printed here within red brackets) in:
There had been a good deal of press comment in the course of the year on the report of an Indian Commission, which had commented inter alia on problems of discipline in Indian schools and colleges and on the fact that education there concentrated on the acquisition of knowledge to the neglect of moral training. Its proposals included the suggestion that a textbook of ethics of a non-sectarian nature should be prepared for use in schools.Rutherford explains in a footnote that these 'circumstances' had included a much-publicised riot at the Madras Christian College, during which Brahmin students had assaulted and insulted their Professors. The poem is, of course, Kipling's 'skit' in which he ridicules the attempt to write such a 'moral textbook' for general use. If the accumulated wisdom of thinkers through the ages could not achieve such a thing it was not likely to be within the powers of the Indian Government in the year 1888. It was a cry to a false god.
‘And who’, asked the CMG on 15 June 1888, ‘is to write or compile all these guides for morals ? The founders of Christianity, and Mahomedanism, (sic.) and Buddhism, and Hinduism, have all in their own grand ways set their hands to “moral text-books”, yet none of these will quite meet the general view in this land.
A Resolution of the Indian Government published in The Gazette of India for 14 July provoked Kipling to the comment, in a letter to Mrs. Hill:
'Ah me ! here comes a thundering Govt. resolution about education. I must wire an abstract to the Pioneer and write a skit on it afterwards…’Kipling's abstract, a full-length article on ‘The Education Policy of the Indian Government’, appeared on 17 July, and includes:
[Kipling Papers, Univrsity of Sussex, 16/3]
...On the subject of moral education it is remarked:– 'Attention has again been called to the proposal by the Education Commission that an attempt should be made to prepare a moral text-book, based upon the fundamental principles of natural religion, such as may be taught in all Government and non-Government colleges. The Government of India and the Secretary of State entertained doubts as to the wisdom of this recommendation at the time ,,, but circumstances have since occurred ... which have suggested to both authorities the desirability of making the attempt.
From Greenland’s icy mountains, from India’s coral strand;Assuages softens or mitigates.
Where Afric’s sunny fountains roll down their golden sand.
From many an ancient river, from many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver their land from error’s chain.
...he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat.[Verse 16]