Bhowanipore Cemetery - Christian and Jewish Cemeteries
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10-11-2018    476 times
Bhowanipore Cemetery

Surrounded by a high wall, The Military Burial Ground, otherwise known as Bhowanipore Cemetery, is located on15 Debendra Lal Khan Road, just about a kilometre away from the southern side of the Calcutta Maiden.

Bhowanipore Cemetery has been in use since 1864. Initially, it acted as the burial ground for the service personnel and also their dependents. Hence, in those days both the war graves and the civilian graves were mixed up haphazardly and asymmetrically throughout the yard. However, in 1954, it was decided to rearrange the whole area. Accordingly, the outlying war graves were moved by the Commission into the specific area with the largest number of war burials. This resulted in a separate service section for the graves of both World Wars. Today, the war plot lies at the back of the civilian cemetery, some 200 metres from the main entrance. This section is being perfectly maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and they have done a really good job regarding the restoration and beautification of the area.

Entrance to Bhowanipore Cemetery
Entrance to Bhowanipore Cemetery
Commonwealth War Graves - Entrance
Commonwealth War Graves - Entrance

Bhowanipore Cemetery accommodates 95 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, including the one brought in from Fort Chingrikhali Cemetery in 1934. It is interesting to note here that, the remains of the Fort Chingrikhali, locally known as the Purana Kella, can be found near the Diamond Harbour railway station. During the 16th century, the Portuguese pirates built this fort, when they conquered Diamond Harbour and made it their base for their network of the conquered countries.

Bhowanipore Cemetery - War Memorial Section
Bhowanipore Cemetery - War Memorial Section
Tombstone of Abrey Alexander Bond
Tombstone of Abrey Alexander Bond

Bhowanipore Cemetery also accommodates 617 Second World War burials and 187 non-war burials. Celebrated Indian author Ruskin Bond’s father who worked with the RAF, is also buried here. This is the place, where one can find war graves from the two great wars in all their crumbling glory. The inscriptions on the tombstones will make one realize that many of them lost their lives in young age. The history of the site and the epitaphs make for a solemn, but interesting, walk.

Unfortunately, the civilian part of the cemetery is not so well maintained.

Bhowanipore Cemetery
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Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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