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“Soldiers Three – Part 2” is a collection of short stories written by Rudyard Kipling,
an English writer and poet known for his tales of adventure and colonial life in India. The book is a sequel to Kipling’s earlier collection, “Soldiers Three,” and continues the adventures of the three British soldiers – Privates Mulvaney, Ortheris, and Learoyd – as they navigate the complexities of life in the Indian Army.
In the introduction, Kipling sets the stage by describing the setting in which the stories take place. He notes that India in the late 19th century was a land of contrasts, where ancient traditions and modern technology coexisted in uneasy harmony. The British soldiers who served in India during this time were often caught in the middle of these conflicting forces, and were forced to adapt to a world that was both familiar and foreign.
The stories in the book are all told from the perspective of the three soldiers, and offer a glimpse into their daily lives and struggles. The soldiers are portrayed as rough-and-tumble men who are fiercely loyal to each other, and who have developed a kind of code of honor that governs their behavior. They are also shown to be deeply human, with their own fears, desires, and weaknesses.
One of the recurring themes in the book is the relationship between the British soldiers and the Indian people they encounter. Kipling portrays the Indians as complex and multifaceted, with their own customs and traditions that the soldiers struggle to understand. At times, the soldiers are shown to be dismissive or even hostile toward the Indians, while at other times they show a grudging respect for their ways.
Another theme that runs throughout the book is the idea of duty and sacrifice. The soldiers are constantly reminded of their duty to the British Empire, and are called upon to make sacrifices for the greater good. At the same time, Kipling also shows the toll that this duty takes on the soldiers, both physically and emotionally.
Despite the challenges they face, the soldiers are shown to be resourceful and resilient, and are often able to triumph over adversity through their wit and ingenuity. In one story, for example, the soldiers outsmart a group of bandits who have kidnapped them and are holding them for ransom. In another story, they foil a plot by a corrupt British officer who is stealing from the Indian treasury.
Overall, “Soldiers Three – Part 2” is a vivid and engaging portrait of life in the Indian Army during the late 19th century. Kipling’s writing is marked by his trademark wit and humor, as well as his deep understanding of the complexities of colonial life. The book is a fitting tribute to the British soldiers who served in India during this time, and a testament to their courage, resilience, and humanity.