Punjabi Farmer on a Branded Mare, by John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911). This is another of the illustrations for Chapter VIII, "Of Horses and Mules," in Beast and Man in India (1891), facing p. 209. Rather amusingly, Kipling reports that horses imported from cold countries needed caps in India to prevent them from having sunstroke or headaches (he illustrates this as well), but indigenous breeds were better acclimatised. This full-page illustration shows the typical farmer's steed, rather ill-kempt but not particularly skinny and not deprived of her foal. "Branded" reminds us of the comment:

The British Government has for many years been trying to improve the horses of the country by importing English thoroughbreds, Arabs, and Norfolk trotters who stand as sires at the service of farmers under certain conditions, which include the branding of approved mares. [208]

Elsewhere, Kipling writes with frank disgust about cruel branding methods for other animals, but there is no sign that this mare has been unnecessarily scored by the hot iron. In general, he is often critical of native ways, and Sandra Kemp feels that his "conservative and racist views" are found not only in his journalism but in this book as well (307). On the other hand, he does say that things are improving among "persons of quality" — crediting the English for this (see 217); and there is surely affection for the many villagers, like this farmer with his little son clinging to him, who appear in his drawings.

Scanned image, and commentary, by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned it and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Related Material


Bryant, Julius, and Susan Weber, eds. John Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London. New York: Bard Graduate Centre Gallery; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2017.

Kemp, Sandra. "My Bread and Butter: Kipling's Journalism." In Bryant and Weber. 301-27.

Kipling, John Lockwood. Beast and Man in India: A Popular Sketch of Indian Animals in Their Relations with the People. London: Macmillan, 1891. Internet Archive. Contributed by the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. Web. 22 January 2017.

Created 22 January 2017