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Bob’s Banter by Robert Clements Enid Blyton and Kipling..!

Robert Clements Robert Clements
21 Jun 2021

Racists! That’s what the two have been branded as! Two writers, Enid Blyton and Rudyard Kipling, who shaped our formative years, both in reading and in the unleashing of childhood imagination, and who today, are not there to defend themselves have been flagged as racists by a charity called English Heritage.
The charitable trust goes on to say, that Enid Blyton’s work, contained ‘racism, xenophobia and a lack of literary merit.’ And on Kipling, the writer’s, ‘racist and imperialist sentiments’!
Whoa! Whoa! That’s crippling Kipling and blighting Blyton indeed!
I have only one argument for such criticism; that views expressed by thinkers are influenced by the times they live in!
Unfortunately, we judge those views by the times we live in now.
Take for example the idea of women having equal rights! Just over a hundred years back, the US thought women did not have the ability to choose who would sit in government. It was only after the Great War, when weary men trooped home after playing their war games, realized that home and hearth had been held, stitched and patched together by the very women they thought were the weaker sex both physically and intellectually. Today, a hundred years later, yes, one hundred full years later, a woman finally sits a heartbeat away from the White House!
While writing my daily column for the Khaleej Times, Dubai, I once called the Hezbollah, terrorists, and was firmly censured by many readers there, who wrote they were freedom fighters, which made me realise that many of our country’s own freedom fighters who fought for our independence were branded terrorists, mutineers and traitors by our then British rulers.
Today they are not.
My mind strays two thousand years to another rebel hanging on a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem. Even as he is spat upon, pierced, and nailed by his hands and feet he cries out to a God above, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”
He meant that his killers, the Jews who were under the Romans, expected a Messiah who would save them from the tyranny of Roman rule, and so were killing him, because they did not understand, that he had come as a bigger savior than just for the Jews of that era.
They did not know what they were doing.
And that is how we need to understand the past. Today, our people are stirred up by politicians who bring back memories of past atrocities inflicted on us, and armed with such recollections we attack their descendants for crimes they were not part off.
Enid Blyton and Rudyard Kipling were brilliant writers, powerful storytellers, and stirred the childhood imaginations of millions. Let’s not judge yesterday, by today’s enlightenment, even as we hear a dying voice cry out to us, “Forgive them for they didn’t know what they were doing..!’


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