Maniktala Christian Cemetery & Toru Dutt
Maniktalla Christian Cemetery!! A Lost Cemetery
I was astonished during my visit to Maniktalla Christian Cemetery. In every square inch of the graveyard, there was an impression of negligence. Surprisingly, the cemetery is still in use. People those who stays within the proximity of 2/3 minute walking distance, they even not aware of this cemetery. A family is staying inside the compound of the graveyard but as per their statement, they are not officially associated with Maniktalla Christian Cemetery. Only one person is appointed officially to look after the cemetery, but it seems, no take care is taken by the person. The whole area overgrown with shrubs, weeds, trees and almost all the graves are in broken state. As it seems to me the tombs are vandalized and most of the walls are broken. It needs real attention for restoring the graves and beautification of the area. So that, it can attract visitors. It was really tough for me, even get inside and search for graves.
I have tried a lot to find out the year of establishment of the Maniktalla Christian Cemetery. But unable to find the same, as nobody is aware of it.
After that, I have tried to contact with the Bishop of Kolkata over the phone to collect some information about this cemetery and he provides me the number of his Personal Assistant Rev. Abir Mazumdar. I have called him several times but after few days he stopped responding me. I have collected some information about this cemetery. It is recorded as a “Church Mission Society Cemetery” and it is included in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation heritage list as a Grade I Heritage. When I have written a blog post on the same for my Blog, after my post some fellow bloggers also take interest on it and published blog posts on the same on their blog. Although nothing has been done so far for this cemetery by the authority. Still I hope, after that some positive initiative will be taken.
The most remarkable grave inside the cemetery is the grave of Toru Dutt (Born March 4, 1856 – Died August 30, 1877) a poet from Calcutta. She wrote in English and she studied higher French in England. Toru Dutt was the youngest daughter of Govin Chunder Dutt and graves of Govin Chunder Dutt is also there. Govin Chunder Dutt and her wife, Daughters Toru Dutt, Aru Dutt and his only son Abju Dutt still sleeping inside the graves. On 4th March 2007 graves of Dutt family members were restored by the joint initiative of “Pather Panchali” and former Transport Minister os West Bengal, Mr.Subash Chakraborty. But presently, the graves are covered with trees, shrubs, and weeds. It’s very difficult for someone to locate the graves. There are many organizations those who working on restoration and preservation of historical cemeteries of India. From them, if anybody is presently reading this post, I would like to appeal to them to come forward. Requesting them, please do something as soon as possible before this heritage gets completely destroyed.
I have also discovered a tomb during my first visit, which is covered with shrubs and weeds. After removing the trash I could read the inscription, it reads as (It was really hard to read the lines as words are washed away by time) “Sacred To The Memory of Matilda the beloved wife of the Revd. Charles H Bradborn Who Departed This Life on December 1880 After Three Years Devoted Service Among Bengali Boys In The C.M.S Boarding School Amherst St”. It seems to me that the grave of an important person and it needs to be explored.
If anybody wants to visit to Maniktalla Christian Cemetery, this place is situated between Maniktalla Crossing and Sookias Street. Just beside the Leprosy Hospital and 2/3 minutes walking distance from Maniktalla Crossing.
Recently I have found a documentary on Toru Dutt on Youtube. Here is the link for it.
Address of Maniktalla Christian Cemetery :- 259B Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Kolkata, Near Maniktalla Crossing.
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