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"Gunga Din" (1892) is a poem by Rudyard Kipling.
The poem is a rhyming narrative from the point of view of a British soldier, about a native water-bearer (a "Bhishti") who saves the soldier's life but is soon shot and killed. In the final three lines, the soldier regrets the abuse he dealt to Din and admits that Din is the better man of the two for sacrificing his own life to save another. The poem was published as one of the set of martial poems called the Barrack-Room Ballads.
In stark contrast to Kipling's later poem "The White Man's Burden," "Gunga Din" is named after the native, and portrays the native Indian as the hero while the British soldiers are portrayed as callous and shallow, and ultimately inferior to Gunga Din.
Although "Din" is frequently pronounced to rhyme with "bin" (/ /), the rhymes within the poem (as well as the pronunciation in the 1939 film) make it clear that it should be pronounced // to rhyme with "green".
The poem inspired a 1939 adventure film of the same name from RKO Radio Pictures starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joan Fontaine, and Sam Jaffe in the title role. The movie was remade in 1961 as Sergeants 3, starring the Rat Pack. The locale was moved from British-colonial India to the old West. The Gunga Din character was played in this film by Sammy Davis, Jr.. Many elements of the 1939 film were also incorporated into Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
In 1962, Sonny Gianotta recorded a novelty song "The Last Blast Of The Blasted Bugler" based on Gunga Din.
In 1969, The Byrds recorded a song named "Gunga Din".
- Jaap van Ginnekan, Screening Difference: How Hollywood's Blockbuster Films Imagine Race, Ethnicity, and Culture, p.143. ISBN 0-7425-5584-4, ISBN 9780742555846143 "Spielberg conceded that Gunga Din was one of the major sources of inspiration for the second Indiana Jones movie, and it does indeed contain many of the same elements."
- George Robinson: Gunga Din (article on the 1939 Hollywood film). Soldiers of the Queen (journal of the Victorian Military Society). September 1994.