Kipling still relevant in the 21`st Century
Whenever I pass Port Lincoln’s War Memorial, I am so impressed with the new statue of the WW1 bugler –and particularly with the three large silver words ‘Lest We Forget’.
Those immortal words known throughout the English speaking world, were composed by the English Freemason Rudyard Kipling, and taken from his epic poem ‘The Recessional’. Kipling wrote the poem in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – and the last lines in the stanzas include the phrase. Kipling actually took the words from the Book of Deuteronomy in the Bible.
Kipling is regarded as one of the great writers of the 20th Century, and much of his work includes references to Freemasonry. He was initiated into Freemasonry in Lahore, which back then was part of India, but now part of Pakistan. Kipling was working there as a young newspaper journalist.
In later years be became friends with the founder of the Scouting Movement, Lord Baden-Powell, and he contributed towards the formation of the Cub Scout Section by taking elements from two of his best known publications, the Jungle Book and Kim.
Several years’ ago my interest in Kipling’s life was sparked when the publisher of his works, the Macmillan Press, donated a collection of 24 of his books to the Nyroca Scout Camp. Since that time I have attended several funerals where his famous inspirational poem ‘If’ was printed on the funeral card. It was written by Kipling as a paternal inspiration to his son John.
By way of inspiration to young people who visit Nyroca, one of Kipling’s well known quotes to stimulate the enquiring mind, is printed on a plaque at the entrance to the main building: ‘I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew). Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who’. His Six Honest Men is regarded by educationists as the ‘six thinking hats’ method for better thinking, and I am pleased that it now plays a small part of the Nyroca experience when youngsters stay here. It encourages young people to keep their curiosity alive, develop their power of observation and their mind alert.
Kipling gave us an immense gift for using words, and some 80 years after his death, his fine legacy remains all about us.