If. Rudyard Kipling
“If—” is a poem by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written in 1895. The initial publication of the poem “If—” was in the “Brother Square Toes” chapter of the book Rewards and Fairies (1910), a collection of Kipling’s poetry and short-story fiction.
The poem is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet’s son, John.
As poetry, “If—” is a literary example of Victorian-era stoicism, the “stiff upper lip” self-discipline, which popular culture rendered into a British national virtue and character trait, “If—” remains a cultural touchstone. The British cultural-artefact status of the poem is evidenced by the parodies of the poem, and by its popularity among Britons.
In India, a framed copy of the poem was affixed to the wall before the study desk in the cabins of the officer cadets at the National Defence Academy, at Pune and Indian Naval Academy, at Ezhimala.
The Indian writer Khushwant Singh considered the poem “the essence of the message of The Gita in English.”
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
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