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Literary Geography: Gun of Zam Zamma

Kim's GunKim by Rudyard Kipling opens with the boy Kim sitting “astride the gun Zam Zamma”. It’s from his perch on the cannon that Kim first sees the lama he follows to the end of the story. Thanks to its prominent place in Kipling’s book, today it is often called Kim’s Gun.

The gun stands in front of the Lahore Museum in Pakistan, just as it did in Kipling’s day.

An inscription on the cannon calls it a “mighty fire dispensing dragon” which reportedly has led the term “zam zamma” to be used in the region as a somewhat admiring (or derogatory) term used to describe a man with considerable sexual prowess.

There are a lot of places on the subcontinent that I’d like to visit. And if I ever make it to Lahore, I’ll get a picture of me standing with Kim’s Gun.

Books Mentioned in this Post:

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

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