Scots team for India to save Scottish cemetery in Kolkata

November 6th, 2008 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 6 (IANS) Scottish heritage experts are travelling to India this weekend to save a piece of their heritage - a Scottish cemetery in the heart of Kolkata.Their aim is to restore the Scottish Cemetery in Dalhousie Square. Many of the 1,600-odd graves are damaged and it is difficult to read the fading epitaphs.

The Scots call it “a piece of Scotland in India” as even the gravestones are made of Aberdeen granite.

It is the resting place of Scotsmen - soldiers, missionaries, jute traders and businessmen - who made Kolkata their home in the colonial period. Economist James Wilson, who introduced income tax and paper currency to India, is said to be buried there, BBC News has said.

The team is going to Kolkata Nov 8 at the invitation of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust.

It is led by James Simpson of the Edinburgh-based conservation architects Simpson and Brown and comprises surveyors from the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and a cemetery expert from Scottish Highland Council.

Their task will be to carry out a first survey of the site and develop a plan for restoration.

Clare Sorensen, architectural historian at RCAHMS, said: “The Kolkata Cemetery is an important monument to the joint heritage of both Scotland and India, and we are delighted to be asked to survey and record this treasured place overseas.”

Linda Fabiani, Scotland’s minister for Europe, external affairs and culture, said: “The Scottish government’s International Framework highlights the importance that we place on strengthening the existing links between Scotland and India. The work of the Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust demonstrates how we can seek to build on historical links between our countries, and the opportunities for mutual benefit that this relationship can bring.”

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