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"Gunga Din" And How to Read Racist Poetry

Poem: "Gunga Din" By Rudyard Kipling

Gunga Din is a "blackfaced crewman" who brings water to British troops in "Injia" If any of those words seemed racist and offend you, by god you had better run for the hills! That is only the beginning.

Just Google these two words "Racist Poetry," And Gunga Din is one of the top poems selected by El Googlio for being racist.

If words can "trigger" someone and make them uncomfortable or even violent, then almost all of the words in literature and poetry must be condemned. This is a poem that may trigger some people. It may make you uncomfortable. But progress by its nature requires discomfort. We cannot grow our muscles by sitting in a locked room staring at a wall and protecting our arms: "The metal is too harsh! I need my safe space!"

In this story, a soldier tells the tale of a water bearer he met in India, while the British soldiers were battling some native savages. Go on the journey of discovery with this soldier as he begins to question his own assumptions. Perhaps, you will question yours too.

Gunga Din


You may talk o’ gin and beer

When you’re quartered safe out ’ere,

An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;

But when it comes to slaughter

You will do your work on water,

An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that’s got it.

Now in Injia’s sunny clime,

Where I used to spend my time