Maniktalla (Maniktala) Chirstian Cemetery And The Grave Of Poetess Toru Dutt

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Last week when Indrajit Das called me up and informed about the Christian cemetery near Maniktala on A.P.C. Road (Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road), for the first few minutes I tried hard to locate the place, only to realise I have never noticed anything even close to a cemetery in that area. It took lesser time for us to finalise that we would be visiting the place next Sunday.

Location

The cemetery is behind the Maniktala leprosy hospital (The Leprosy Mission) with the entrance to the left of the hospital. From the Maniktala crossing if you start walking towards Rajabazar crossing it is on the left after a two minute walk.

Maniktalla Christian Cemetery Gate

Maniktalla Christian Cemetery Gate

Maniktalla Christian Cemetery

Maniktalla Christian Cemetery

Maniktalla Christian Cemetery

Maniktalla Christian Cemetery

 

The nondescript gate of the cemetery is easy to miss, unless you look up to read the text “Maniktalla Christian Cemetery” almost hidden by the branches of a tree. Sliding inside through the narrow gap between the half closed doors we found a lane approaching an open space full of overgrown shrubs and bushes. One look and its clear that we have in our front one of the most badly maintained cemetery. The place is still in use and we saw a grave dated 2006 which looked like atleast two decades old.

We went looking for old graves and found one dated 1880. In it was written –

“Sacred to the memory of
Matilda the beloved wife of Revd Charles H Bradburn
who departed this life on December 1880
after three years devoted service among Bengali boys
in the C.M.S. boarding school Amherst St”

The letters on this grave have almost faded out and we had to connect the existing dots to decipher the lines.

Grave of Matilda Bradburn

Grave of Matilda Bradburn

Unknown grave

Unknown grave

Graves of Dutt family

Graves of Dutt family

 

Moving further we found that only few graves can be reached easily with most surrounded by overgrowths. On our right a narrow trail lead us almost to a dead end. We had to make our way through the low branches to reach a relatively clear space and found on the left a walled area. The low black walls surrounded an elevated clear space containing 5 graves. These, we found, are the graves of Poetess Toru Dutt and her family. On the 150th birth anniversary of the poet, her grave along with those of her parents, her brother and sister, were cleaned and walled to protect from the surrounding overgrowths.

Grave of Govind Chunder Dutt, Toru Dutt's father

Grave of Govind Chunder Dutt, Toru Dutt’s father

Grave of Kshetramoni Dutt, Toru Dutt's mother

Grave of Kshetramoni Dutt, Toru Dutt’s mother

Grave of Abju Chunder Dutt, Toru Dutt's elder brother

Grave of Abju Chunder Dutt, Toru Dutt’s elder brother

Grave of Aru Dutt, Toru Dutt's elder sister

Grave of Aru Dutt, Toru Dutt’s elder sister

 

Grave of Poetess Toru Dutt

Grave of Poetess Toru Dutt

Graves of Dutt family

Graves of Dutt family

Gravse of Dutt family

Graves of Dutt family

 

It was sad to see how we have forgotten the resting place of a poet who is often called the Keats of the Indo-English literature. I sincerely hope this cemetery gets proper attention, is maintained properly and that visitors wont have to wrestle through the brunches of the trees to go and see the graves of the Dutt family members and many others.

Toru Dutt

Toru (Torulata) Dutt (March 4, 1856 โ€“ August 30, 1877), born into the Rambagan Dutt family, was an Indian writer, who wrote in English and French. She, along with her sister Aru, went to France at an age of 13 and then to Italy and England and stayed there till 1873. Excepting for a few months in France, the sisters were never put to school, but they attended the lectures for women in Cambridge. She died at an early age of 21 and her only work which was published during her lifetime was “A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields”.

57 Comments

Annika - Live Laugh Explore

Quite a place! Cemeteries can be very interesting to explore sometimes. I once wandered on a graveyard in a small Scottish town looking for my Australian friend’s heritage – And we found her great great great grandfather’s grave! It was quite the moment.

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Dave Cole

It’s sad to see the state of disrepair this cemetery presents, but you have conveyed it nicely. Visits to spots like these are usually done out of respect and awe for the deeds of the deceased and hopefully those doing so in the future will have a more pleasant environment surrounding them.

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Tracie Howe

I have to admit that I often visit cemeteries in new places. They can be so intriguing and different from what we’re used to. This one looks like it is no exception.

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Samantha

I like visiting cemeteries during my travels. People think its a bit strange and morbid but I always find the most interesting poems, memorials and sculptures…they can be fascinating places ๐Ÿ™‚

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Lauren

I wish that they could maintain the cemetery a little bit better to honor the deceased. Thank you for all of your photos and I am glad that you were able to go there and appreciate it!

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Milosz Zak

Seeing these photos reminded me of some of the prison islands that we have around the world, especially around Africa and Australasia. It’s a feeling of unease, and history that’s never all that uplifting – especially when delving into some of the dark secrets of European colonialism…

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Els

Interesting story. Yes, sad to read how a great poet like that can be so forgotten… Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

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Emily

A really interesting post and nice pics. I find cemeteries often offer a good insight to a places culture and architecture.

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Carissa

Thank you for sharing this location and the stories behind the cemetery. As much as I enjoy visiting secret little gems, its a shame something like this isn’t exposed for people to discover at least verbally.

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Ranjan Datta

It was interesting to see your post. I happened to belong to Dutt family of Rambagan and visited the place about two years back. I met the people who are looking after the cemetery and requested them to take more care. I belong to the Hindu stream and stay at Rambagan only.The house where Aru Dutt & Toru Dutt lived are still there.

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Sumit

Mr. Datta,

Sorry for replying so late. I am glad you found the post interesting. Would love to hear more from you about the Dutt family of Rambagan

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Ranjan Datta

Thanks.I will be in able to give you some information soon. In fact I am having some information which will be very interesting to share with others.

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Jessica

I like how green and ironically alive this cemetery looks. I rather enjoy visiting cemeteries when I travel, my favorite being La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Thanks for sharing!

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Janice

I never really thought that a cemetery could be an interesting place to visit just for fun. But this post made me realize that it can actually be a great learning experience.

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Ruth

What a timely post! I seldom go to cemeteries because we dont observe Halloween, but there is always something eery and sad about visiting or seeing a cemetery (even in pictures).

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Veronika

Well, I’m usually not a fan of seeing cemeteries while travelling but this one seems special, especially how it’s been forgotten. That’s quite some history to find graves from a century ago!
Thanks, you really are exploring Kulkatta in every detail!

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Revati

You’re really digging out the lesser known gems of Cal aren’t you? I love cemetries, but this is one of those few Indian cemetries that really captures the beauty of a place that houses spirits.

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Stephen

Hang on now, leprosy hospital?! I’m *at least* as interested in that as in the cemetery! Is it still active? Are the graves from people who died there? Tell me more!

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