By the nineteenth century, models of just and civilized sociability in the Anglophone world came to encompass forms of obligation to the nonhuman, and the colony assumed the status of a crucial theater for thinking about forms of cruelty, sympathy, and protection. On the terrain of the Indian colony, this new moral economy of care and inclusion encountered an existing Indic economy of vegetarianism and nonkilling of animals, which it sought to cast, not as kindness to animals, but as a form of cruelty to them—of vegetarian cruelty if you will. Using John Lockwood Kipling’s Beast and Man in India (1891) as its text, the essay examines the encounter of these two contrasting economies of animal protection and animal cruelty, especially Kipling’s understanding of carnivory as the basis not only for human sociability but also of kindness to the nonhuman.
On Verminous Life
Parama Roy is Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Indian Traffic: Identities in Question in Colonial and Postcolonial India (UC Press, 1998) and Alimentary Tracts: Appetites, Aversions, and the Postcolonial (Duke UP, 2010), and co-editor of States of Trauma: Gender and Violence in South Asia (Zubaan, 2009). Her current book project is titled “Empire and the Nonhuman.”
Parama Roy; On Verminous Life. Representations 1 November 2019; 148 (1): 86–113. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2019.148.1.86
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