Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have you ever...?

Seen something that infuriated you the second you saw it?? Well, let me tell you today that happened to me. We went to the Lower Circular Road (Christian) Cemetery. Well...first let me upload the photos, and you can see for yourself before I go off ranting and raving (which I fully intend to do!)

This is what made me furious! You can see in the lower left corner the state of some of the graves!!!
 And here! The state of the grounds! :-(
 This is a sign dedicated to Charles Freer Andrews. He was a English priest for the Church of England. He was one of Gandhi's closest friends and confidant, and a Indian freedom fighter. Incidentally, he is also buried in this cemetery, which we didn't get to see because I was done. I am hoping to go back and visit his grave at a later date.
 And here, you can see an old man laying on a blanket listening to an english cricket commentary! ON A GRAVE!!!
This is the sign that leads to the final resting place of yet another famous man named John Elliot Drink Water Bethune (and yes his name is really Drinkwater!!!) He was a Anglo-Indian lawyer who promoted women's education in India. In 1849 he founded a school that would later would become the first women's college in India - Bethune College.

We went here today, for the architecture and a sense of history of Kolkata. Now, I will grant the cemetery this, there are some nice memorial stones, as you can see from the above pictures. However, there are also some that are in COMPLETE RUINS!! I am talking about graves from the late 1800's! This is history my dear friends! The letterings on the graves, although this is probably due to the acidic rain during the monsoons, is eroding and is getting hard to read. There are some grave sites that are completely shattered, where you can see the ground (and in some parts 1/2 - 1 foot) under the cement blocks that are placed under the headstones!

I am astonished! The way that these dead people are treated! Grant you, and I thank my DH for pointing this out, that many of the descendants of these families have migrated away, and are not here to care for the grave sites. But the way this cemetery hit me with a force, the force that here are people's loved ones, who are NOT being taken well care of. There are some that are being taken care of and are in very good shape, even some dating some 160-170 years ago. I am quite positive that by the elaborate headstones that these people were well loved and cared for while they were alive, but now they are not being taken care of. Also, the fact that some of these graves are of well known and famous people of India!

I will give the cemetery this one positive note, they did provide indigent burial plots. I was surprised at this and the fact that the people buried there had a very nice, although not as ornate as the rest, large white cross for a headstone. Much more than one would have gotten in the US.

Who is supposed to be maintaining this graveyard? And why are they not? I am horrified at the state of this cemetery.


  1. After spending 7 years in India I sadly know that what we consider history and would do our damnest to preserve in the west doesn't have the same value here. Heck I have several friend who went to see the Taj Mahal (I haven't yet) and were outraged at the total lack of respect quite a lot of people visiting have touching the marble, littering around, walking on the grass and apparently even tourist guids showing how "pietra dura" was done by scratching the in laid stones, if there can't be much more respect for what is claimed to be one of the new 7 wonders of the world, no one is going to care much more about a cementray, the one in Bangalores are in the same state too :-(

  2. @Cyn,

    Yeah...I'm learning that, but...still!!

    Sadly, I haven't been to the Taj Mahal either, but my siblings who visited have! :O, am saving that trip to go with my mom :-)

  3. sad just sad. bethun and deenabandhu have schools and roads named after them but no peaceful resting ground.

  4. its good to be hindu... burnt after death... no more responsibility of maintaining these graves and also no occupation of space.