HISTORIC EUROPEAN CEMETERIES IN INDIA: TAPPING THE POTENTIAL BY DR ROSIE LLEWELLYN-JONES, MBE AND CHARLES GREIG

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For more than 300 years Britons and other Europeans came to India seeking fame and fortune. Some achieved success and reward and returned ‘home’, others including family members found their last resting place in the subcontinent. Life for many was just two monsoons. Around two million souls lie in hundreds of cemeteries and isolated graves scattered across the country: victims of disease or frontier wars, attacked by tigers or death from exploding soda bottles. Many of those who came never returned, but their graves tell fascinating stories. They are testament to the centuries of British involvement in the subcontinent. These European cemeteries and burial grounds are part of India’s built heritage – just as much as the Taj Mahal or the Buddhist monuments of Sarnath.

The CHF has joined with BACSA – the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia – to explore the tourism potential of India’s European cemeteries. Our speakers will explain the cemeteries’ place in India’s heritage and also their potential as tourism, community and environmental assets. We will tell the stories of some of the fascinating personalities who contributed to India’s history and are part of the underlying bond between India and the UK.

Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, MBE

Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, MBE studied Urdu and Hindi at the School of Oriental & African Studies in London. Awarded a First Class Honours degree in 1973 and completed her PhD there in1980 which was subsequently published as A Fatal Friendship: the Nawabs, the British and the City of Lucknow in1985. She has written a number of books, including a trilogy on Major General Claude Martin, founder of La Martinière Schools in India and France and is an honorary Old Martinian. Other books include Murshidabad: Forgotten Capital of Bengal with Dr Neeta Das, and Portraits in Princely India. She is a noted scholar on the city of Lucknow.

Her biography of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah The Last King in India published in 2014 was a critical success in Britain and India and a Bollywood director has recently proposed a film based on this book. She has just completed a book for the new HarperCollins India series on India’s Historic Battles, Lucknow 1857 to be published later this year (2021) and is one of the very few female military historians to examine the Uprising.

Rosie has published numerous articles and chapters on colonial India, including catalogues for exhibitions at major London galleries. She lectures at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London on the Asian Arts course and for the Indian Art Circle in London. She is also the editor of Chowkidar, the Journal of the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA) which records and restores British graves of those who died before 1947. She visited the subcontinent frequently before the pandemic, leading a number of tour groups in Bengal, and was an invited speaker at recent Jaipur Literature Festivals. She was archivist at the Royal Society for Asian Affairs for ten years and was a Council Member of the Royal Asiatic Society. She was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA) and British Indian studies.

Charles Greig

Charles Greig is an art historian and scholar of Indian history. His mother’s family have a long connection with the Subcontinent going back to the 18th Century. He was the Art Historical adviser to the Calcutta Tercentenary trust in the early 1990s. He has contributed to numerous publications including an essay and cataloguing the Indian paintings for the Zoffany retrospective exhibition at the RA in 2012 and a substantial chapter for the recently published ‘Estate of Claude Martin at Lucknow – An Indian Collection’. He served for 5 years as Treasurer of BACSA.

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