Notes on the text
(by Roberta Baldi and Alastair Wilson)
The 'Glossary for English Readers' appended to the 6th edition of Departmental Ditties specifically states : 'Tonk, a state and city in Rajputana.' This must have been written by Thacker, Spink & Co., since the descriptions of places such as Tonk are taken directly from the index which accompanied their Reduced Survey Map of India. Kipling presumably approved it, so I think that we can take it that this is the Tonk he meant.[Line 31] glee Jubilant delight, joy.
In line with the other militant folk that Kipling mentions, who are all armed with weapons specific to their region or country, Chimbu Singh, the Rajput from Bikaneer, has a Rajput weapon, the jezail, or locally made musket, from Tonk. Tonk was then a small native state on the eastern edge of Rajputana, sandwiched between Bhopal to the south and Gwalior to the north. It was not an area that one would have immediately associated with a local arms industry and it may be that Kipling chose it more for the fact that Tonk fitted the line of verse than for factual accuracy” [R.C.A.]
The Yusufzais were Pathans and one of the main Eastern Afghan tribes, living just north and east of the Khyber Pass, and Kipling used the adjective 'Khyberee' to describe a tribesman living in the area of the Pass.[Line 33] quoit The ancient weapon of the Sikhs. It is circular, and sharp on the outside edge, and when thrown will cut through a plantain stalk at a distance of 80 yards. [Ralph Durand p. 7].
However, the Departmental Ditties glossary gives an alternative spelling (Khaibari) and identifies this as an Afghan tribe living in the neighbourhood of the Khyber Pass. In my extensive reading on the place and the period I had never come across such a tribe and it does not appear in Sir Olaf Caroe's definitive work Pathan, (Macmillan, London, 1958 & Revised Edition Oxford University Pess, Karachi, 1973).
However, I did find a reference to it in Across the Border - Pathan and Biloch, by E.E. Oliver, (Chapman and Hall, London, 1890), where the writer pours scorn on the ideas of some English politicians who thought that all one had to do was to reach agreement with the 'Khaibaris' to settle the problems in the area, unaware that the country was inhabited by a considerable number of tribes, between whom was a great deal of mutual distrust, conflict of interests, downright hostility and blood feuds. So it would seem that 'Khybaree' was more than just a description of tribesmen who lived in the area, it had become a political buzz-word in England amongst those without real knowledge of the situation. I'll bet Kipling was smiling with his tongue in his cheek when he put that word in. [RCA]
Then an Akali, a wild-eyed, wild-haired Sikh devotee in the blue-checked clothes of his faith, with polished-steel quoits glistening on the cone of his tall blue turban, stalked past, returning from a visit to one of the independent Sikh States, where he had been singing the ancient glories of the Khalsa to College-trained princelings in top-boots and white-cord breeches.[Line 33] mace A heavy mediaeval war club with a spiked or flanged metal head, used to crush armour.
Up flew Kim's hard little heel and caught him on his moist blue nose. He snorted indignantly and walked away ...[Line 48] The Indian Congress men The Congress was a political league founded in 1884-5 by A. O. Hume to give Indians an opportunity of expressing their political views. It had no official status at that time. Bengalis were active in the Congress movement. Kipling and his father, like most Anglo-Indians, were sceptical about how far it represented the aspirations of the peoples of India.
At first a small, urban-based organization dominated by Hindu lawyers, Congress began its existence in the 1880s, proclaiming an ‘unswerving loyalty’ to the British Crown and declaring that the continued affiliation of India to Great Britain was ‘absolutely essential’ to the interests of national development. In the early years it pressed for the admission of more Indians to the ICS and for greater Indian representation on the legislative councils ... But the initial British view that Congress was a loyal and harmless body slowly altered as its demands for representative institutions became stronger, and as officials gradually suspected it of becoming detrimental to Muslim interests ... When he [Kipling] was in India he insisted that the organization did not represent anybody except a small group of university-trained hybrids ...