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Kim calls the Ranee 'mother', and Mahbub Ali recognises that he and the lama, for all their differences, have both been fathers to Kim. The lama finds his river, but understands that his love for Kim means more than nirvana. When Kim lies on the earth, the narrator tells us that it carries the seeds of grain, but, unlike grass, is eternal. The earth is symbolic of Kim's attachment to India itself, as well as of his youth and potential power. Before he sleeps, he revolves in his mind the words: 'I am Kim.

The same distinctions are evident when Kim is disturbed by the sexual approaches of the woman of Shamlegh. He has been worrying about the security of the spies' letters, evidently an English anxiety, but now a new note enters, calling for another mental language: 'This time Kim thought in the vernacular as he waxed down the oilskin edges of the packets' (278). 7 WRITTEN LANGUAGE Written language can also create misunderstanding. The letters exchanged between Father Victor and the lama mystify both, because the process of translation and transliteration has obscured the intended meaning.

Kim insults a Sweeper, a member of one of the lowest castes, by calling him an Od, a casteless one. The lama lives in the temple of the Jains, a sect who go to great lengths to avoid killing any form of animal life, however small. The most significant contribution of Hinduism to the novel comes in Chapter 11, where Kim, in a moment of depression, meets an aged holy man, a bairagi, who recognises Kim's state of mind, and wishes him well: ' "Go in hope, little brother", he said. " Kim did not feel so lonely after this' (203).

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