The Man Who Would Be King

by

Rudyard Kipling

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Kafiristan Term Analysis

A region in northeastern Afghanistan. The inhabitants practiced Hinduism, so the Muslim residents of the surrounding areas referred to them as Kafir, which means “infidel” in Persian. Kafiristan appears on some British maps from the Victorian period, but the British knew very little about the place, so Kipling felt free to invent the details of the setting and its inhabitants.

Kafiristan Quotes in The Man Who Would Be King

The The Man Who Would Be King quotes below are all either spoken by Kafiristan or refer to Kafiristan. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Morality and Colonialism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Knopf edition of The Man Who Would Be King published in 1994.
The Man Who Would Be King Quotes

“Would two lunatics make a Contrack like that?” said Carnehan, with subdued pride, showing me a greasy half-sheet of notepaper on which was written the following. I copied it, then and there, as a curiosity—

This Contract between me and you persuing witnesseth in the name of God—Amen and so forth.

(One) That me and you will settle this matter together; i.e., to be Kings of Kafiristan.

(Two) That you and me will not, while this matter is being settled, look at any Liquor, nor any Woman black, white, or brown, so as to get mixed up with one or the other harmful.

(Three) That we conduct ourselves with Dignity and Discretion, and, if one of us gets into trouble the other will stay by him.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot
Related Symbols: Contract
Page Number: 228
Explanation and Analysis:

They went up and up, and down and down, and that other party, Carnehan, was imploring of Dravot not to sing and whistle so loud, for fear of bringing down the tremenjus avalanches. But Dravot says that if a King couldn’t sing it wasn’t worth being King, and whacked the mules over the rump, and never took no heed for ten cold days.

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:

Then ten men with bows and arrows ran down that valley, chasing twenty men with bows and arrows, and the row was tremenjus. They was fair men—fairer than you or me—with yellow hair and remarkable well built. Says Dravot, unpacking the guns—“This is the beginning of the business. We’ll fight for the ten men,” and with that he fires two rifles at the twenty men, and drops one of them at two hundred yards from the rock where he was sitting. The other men began to run, but Carnehan and Dravot sits on the boxes picking them off at all ranges, up and down the valley. Then we goes up to the ten men that had run across the snow too, and they fires a footy little arrow at us. Dravot he shoots above their heads, and they all falls down flat. Then he walks over them and kicks them, and then he lifts them up and shakes hands all round to make them friendly like.

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker)
Related Symbols: Martini-Henry Rifles
Page Number: 235–236
Explanation and Analysis:

One morning I heard the devil’s own noise of drums and horns, and Dan Dravot marches down the hill with his Army and a tail of hundreds of men, and, which was the most amazing, a great gold crown on his head. “My Gord, Carnehan,” says Daniel, “this is a tremenjus business, and we’ve got the whole country as far as it’s worth having. I am the son of Alexander by Queen Semiramis, and you’re my younger brother and a God too! It’s the biggest thing we’ve ever seen. I’ve been marching and fighting for six weeks with the Army, and every footy little village for fifty miles has come in rejoiceful; and more than that, I’ve got the key of the whole show, as you’ll see, and I’ve got a crown for you! I told ’em to make two of ’em at a place called Shu, where the gold lies in the rock like suet in mutton. Gold I’ve seen, and turquoise I’ve kicked out of the cliffs, and there’s garnets in the sands of the river, and here’s a chunk of amber that a man brought me. Call up all the priests and, here, take your crown.”

Related Characters: Peachey Carnehan (speaker), Daniel Dravot (speaker)
Related Symbols: Golden Crown
Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kafiristan Term Timeline in The Man Who Would Be King

The timeline below shows where the term Kafiristan appears in The Man Who Would Be King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Man Who Would Be King
Civilization and the Colonized Theme Icon
...stop scraping together a living from odd jobs and extortion. Instead, they will travel to Kafiristan, a country “at the top right-hand corner of Afghanistan,” and set up a kingdom there.... (full context)