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Articles and ViewsKipling's Poem and the Beja of eastern Sudan (1892) by حسن أدروب
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Kipling's Poem and the Beja of eastern Sudan (1892) by حسن أدروب

07-29-2021, 04:11 PM
د.حسن علي أدروب
<aد.حسن علي أدروب
Registered: 05-30-2021
Total Posts: 11





Kipling's Poem and the Beja of eastern Sudan (1892) by حسن أدروب

    04:11 PM July, 29 2021

    Sudanese Online
    د.حسن علي أدروب-عمان
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    د. حسن أدروب
    Dr. Hassan Adrob
    Fuzzy Wuzzy is a historical poem that was written by the English novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling. The poem is considered a source of pride to all Sudanese as it appreciates the Beja fighters’ roles in the battles against the English Army in the eastern of Sudan from the Empire writer’s perspectives. Kipling, the writer of this poem, was the one who documented most of Britain Empire's victories and subsequently, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.
    The poem was first appeared in “the Scots Observer's weekly magazine”, and then it was republished in Kipling's book in March 1890. The term, "Fussy Wuzzy”, originally mean "shaggy-haired" to denote the unique haircut of the Beja people and their distinctive hairstyles, but later when the British soldiers' stigmatisation of disdainfully using it to describe Negroes, writers criticised its uses as they considered slanderous and racism.
    In the period between 1883 AD and 1885 AD, eastern Sudan witnessed fierce battles between the British armies, equipped with the latest weapons at the time, led by their senior generals, such as General “Graham” and the Beja revolutionaries on the other hand, led by Prince Osman Digna, who were only equipped with faith in their cause and with traditional weapons. They faced the British army in the battles of Tamia, Al-Tib , Sinkat, Toker, Sawakin, and Arquette, with the presence of the international poet Kipling who participated in those battles and documented them by this poem.
    This poem is presented from the perspective of the British infantry forces in their face-to-face combat with the Mahdist forces, and through it, the poet described the English square tactics and strategies that failed to withstand in front of the Beja fighters. Not only the Beja fighters defeated the British forces in a specific battle, but their impact was extended to the English army's reputation as an empire on which the sun never sets. For this reason, in each stanza the poet praises their sudden attack which lead to the victory of the Beja revolutionaries in battles and the mysterious way in which they fought their battles.
    This article recirculates as a result of the speech of the Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Maryam Al-Sadiq in Arkawit, eastern Sudan, in July 2021in which she surprised the youth with historical information including names of several battles from which they only recognised the name of Prince Osman Diqna. Therefore, this article aims at clarifying some of those battles and the valor of the Beja fighters on the battlefields by referring to the poem written by Kipling, the poet of that empire, and the translation of Abdel Moneim Khojaly.
    The structure of the poem
    This poem consists of eleven stanzas and a different number of poetic lines. The last four words of each stanza were in praise of the courage and success of the Beja fighters, while in the first two stanzas of his poem focus on the way they celebrated their victories from the perspective of the British side. The last two stanzas described the Beja's military tactics and their bravery status which were praised and appreciated by the leaders of the British forces.


    Text translation by: Abdel-Moneim Khalifa Khojali, Muscat: 1995
    Text translation http://amoneim.blogspot.com/2009/07/blog-post_2266.htmlhttp://amoneim.blogspot.com/2009/07/blog-post_2266.html
    Video:




    Literary Appreciation
    In the last four lines of the first stanza, the poet presents examples of the Beja fighters courage and how they persevered, as well as the way they tore up the guards in Sawakin to penetrate their ranks.
    Although the Beja were less equipped with weapons, they were, according to Kipling's opinion, strong fighting men of the "first class". Therefore, he advised that the Beja fighters who participated in those battles should be divided among the British soldiers who were marked on two levels and were given certificates at each level, with a certificate of qualification of a first-class fighter because of their military skills. He also added by saying: "If they would like to sign these certificates by the competent authorities in the British army, the spokesman for the Beja forces can arrange for that with them."
    Kipling concluded his poem with what was reported by some official British newspapers with some incorrect information about the reality of the battles against the Beja and their neutrality from the truth. Instead he confirmed that “Fuzzy Wuzzy” completely hit the British Army in their strongholds. In an explicit text, he said: "They beat them even though they had few military resources."
    The poem “Fuzzy Wuzzy” is supposed to be considered as a historical epic that is celebrated annually, its memory is commemorated, and its tactics are taught in military colleges, for the praise it found from the Generals of the Great Empire. It should also be perpetuated its memory as a symbolism for the younger generations in order to teach them the values and meanings of sacrifice and the sincere patriotic spirit that distinguished the fathers in confronting the invading forces. In addition to steadfastness in front of them by presenting a huge number of martyrs for the unity of Sudan. It is also natural that the poem should be shown at the beginning of every academic book beside the national anthem in all academic stages because of the frank confessions it contains from the greatest poets of the most powerful empires in the nineteenth century.
    The understanding of Kipling's poem and its status has led to appreciation of the Beja fighters' role in eastern Sudan, which was supposed to be promoted through the schooling system. It was also shame to report that Sudanese university graduates who supposed to be experts in the history of their country were missed these information, and accordingly they were also surprised by the justification of defending why such important as these information was not included in the Sudanese curricula whereas our curricula are flooded with thousands of unrealistic stories that our students study, which are not related to the present nor the history of Sudan.
    This rich history deserves to be as part of the Ministry of Education’s plans in order to integrate it into the major academic subjects such Arabic and English texts. Moreover, it can be a linguistic and literary subject for university levels especially for those who intend to study English language, because it does not require any examination or scrutiny as it is already set in volumes of British History in Africa and it appeared in their films. In addition, these films should also be shown through Sudanese public and specialized channels in documentaries, in order to highlight this national role.
                  

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