Mutiny Route and Cemetery Tourism
news for the British, European, Anglo-Indian and other such whose
ancestors or relatives are buried in India. The country, it appears,
has woken up to the potential of packaging cemetery tourism to
cater to this segment of tourists.
in cemetery tourism is spurred further by the special 'mutiny'
tours being planned by British travel companies to commemorate
next year the 150th anniversary of the 'sepoy rebellion' of 1857
- which some historians now prefer to term as India's 'First War
of Independence'. This unprecedented 'revolt' and massacre that
followed, accounted for a sizeable number of those buried in the
then British garrison, cantonment and residency townships in north-India
- especially at Mirath (Meerut), Cawnpore (Kanpur), Lucknow, Delhi
bookings are in full swing, it is learnt, for premium tours that
will traverse in May 2007 the 'mutiny route' of bloody battlefields
and scenes of massacre spread over 1857-59
at Meerut where
it all started, Badle-ki-Sarai in Delhi, Sasia near Agra, the
Residency at Lucknow, and Satichaura ghat on the Ganga at Kanpur
Bali the tourism minister of India's northwestern state of Himachal
Pradesh went on record recently with his initiatives to repair
and renovate the neglected cemeteries in the state to promote
tourism. There are plans to list cemeteries systematically and
document information on people interred in each - if necessary
by consulting records on those who lost their lives in undivided
India of the Raj maintained in church records or the India Office
records in the British archives.
townships in Himachal state like McLeodganj, Dalhousie and Kasauli
were home to large populations of foreigners during the colonial
era. For many others, they were places to frequent every year
to escape the summer heat of the plains. The state capital Simla
also used to be the country's summer capital then. Consequently,
church cemeteries are full of graves of foreigners - today the
hunting ground for their progeny in distant lands, in search of
family and ancestral links to loved ones of an era gone by.
the apathy and neglect for over half a century, the task of the
Indian authorities is actually made easy by work pioneered in
the field by private individuals. Volumes of archival data is
available in various websites and elsewhere, thanks to the enterprise
of those who came earlier in search of their own family roots,
remains and memorials of ancestors and loved ones whose mortal
remains never returned to the land of their origin. Most have
lamented for long the utter neglect, desecration and destruction
of the graves - and crusaded on to document and index, to identify,
restore or renovate.
British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA) set up
in 1976 to care for, and to record, European cemeteries wherever
the East India Company set foot, estimates that some two million
European men, women and children are buried in the Indian subcontinent
alone. Apart from showcasing examples of preservation work, lists
of cemetery monumental transcriptions etc, the BACSA website details
an archive built up over 26 years to form a unique record of over
1,300 cemeteries based on official sources with inscriptions and
impressive website is of Cathy Day who visited cemeteries in South
India in search of her own ancestors. In the links on her website
is an index to over 235,000 names of Europeans who were in India
during colonial times. These are a series of lists of Europeans
from original sources, such as military and church records. There
were over 200,000 Europeans in India during the last years of
the Raj, and almost double that number of Anglo-Indians.
Rajpura Road cemetery was entirely devoted to those who lost their
lives in the mutiny. The portal http://members.tripod.com/~Glosters/memindex3.htm
provides information on officers who died in 'The Indian Mutiny
1857-59' compiled mainly from 'The Mutiny Casualty Roll' by I.
Tavender, 'Soldiers of the Raj' (1912) by Rhe-Phillipe & 'Hodson's
Index'. The website of 'Families In British India Society' (FIBIS)
helps those researching their ancestors and the background against
which they led their lives in British India.
Ronnie Johnson has attempted to restore sentimental heritage in
the Agram Cemetery of Bangalore - with transcription work on surviving
headstones. He has in addition a webpage on the Baithkol Cemetery
near Mangalore, with photos and inscriptions of the graves there.
Barry Lewis has visited Ramandroog, a former hill station in the
Sandur Hills of Bellary District and has photographed and transcribed
all existing gravestones.
Nicoll from Scotland has transcribed all the Church of Scotland
burials in the cemetery in Assam for the period 1939-1959. Fredie
and Bas from the Netherlands have transcribed all the names from
the records of the Dutch Church at Cochin. Many French people
lived and died in India, and some cemetery transcriptions have
been done for French cemeteries.
those whose ancestors died this century whilst serving with Commonwealth
armed forces (of Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand)
their graves would be in special cemeteries maintained by the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which are beautifully maintained.
Copyright © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sector-23, Gurgaon-122017
Tel: 0124-4111026 & 2360568; website: http://www.
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