[Humanist] 29.780 archive of the Scottish Cemetery in Calcutta

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Mar 14 09:33:34 CET 2016


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 780.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2016 17:51:37 -0500
        From: Souvik Mukherjee <prosperoscell at gmail.com>
        Subject: Digital Archive of the Scottish Cemetery in Calcutta


Dear All,

The Digital Humanities initiative at Presidency University, Kolkata (India)
is happy to announce the completion of the digital archive of the Scottish
cemetery in Kolkata. The archive is accessible at: 
http://scotscemeteryarchivekolkata.com and this project follows our previous
work on a similar archive http://dutchcemeterybengal.com on the Dutch
settlement in Bengal.

Some of the most interesting and poignant legacies of colonialism in Kolkata
are its colonial cemeteries. Much the most famous of these are the South
Park Street Cemetery (dating from 1767) which contains the tombs of key
names in the colonial history. Less well-known are the Scottish cemetery in
Kareya Road or the Sudder Bazaar Cemetery in Barrackpore. These cemeteries
(and their counterparts in Scotland) represent an invaluable resource that
has not been adequately studied. To facilitate research into these
unexplored layers of cultural history – on one level from the tombs
themselves and on another, tracing emergent connections between the names of
those buried here and key events during the early period of British
colonialism – is the major focus of a strand of the  ‘Narratives of
Migration and Exchange’ project under the UK-India Research Initiative
(UKIERI) funding received  by Presidency University, in collaboration with
the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Although much has been said about prominent figures in the Raj, there has
been little research on the quotidian lives of the ordinary thousands who
migrated from their homes in Scotland and England to run the complex
mechanism of Empire. Even less is known about their interactions with the
other communities in the land they governed or ran businesses in. This
digital archive of the Scottish Cemetery begins to explore the untold
stories of the colonial India that we rarely get to see.

Besides our collaboration with the University of St. Andrews, this project
owes a lot to the assistance received from the Kolkata Scottish Heritage
Trust (headed by Lord Charles Bruce) and the St. Andrews Kirk in Kolkata. We
hope that this archive will benefit researchers from across disciplines,
genealogists and those generally interested in life in colonial India. We
welcome suggestions, comments and more information about the lives of the
people featured in our database.

As part of out Digital Humanities initiative, we also plan to create similar
databases for the other colonial cemeteries in India and to aid the efforts
of any others who wish to do so. Your feedback on the project as well as
expressions of interest and support are warmly welcome.

More detailed information about the project can be found below and of
course, on our website itself
http://readinggamesplayingbooks.com/scots/node/194#overlay-context= .

Thanks and regards,

Souvik

Dr Souvik Mukherjee
Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, Presidency University
email: prosperosmaze at gmail.com, Weblog:
http://readinggamesandplayingbooks.blogspot.in/
Videogames and Storytelling: Reading Games and Playing Books
<http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/video-games-and-storytelling-souvik-mukherjee/?isb=9781137525048>
 (Palgrave MacMillan 2015)

The Scottish Cemetery in Calcutta

Some of the most interesting and poignant legacies of colonialism in Kolkata
(earlier called Calcutta) are its colonial cemeteries. Much the most famous
of these are the South Park Street Cemetery (dating from 1767) which
contains the tombs of key names in the colonial history. Less well-known are
the Scottish cemetery in Kareya Road or the Sudder Bazaar Cemetery in
Barrackpore. These cemeteries (and their counterparts in Scotland) represent
an invaluable resource that has not been adequately studied. To facilitate
research into these unexplored layers of cultural history – on one level
from the tombs themselves and on another, tracing emergent connections
between the names of those buried here and key events during the early
period of British colonialism – are a major focus of a research project
under the UK-India Research Initiative (UKIERI) funding received  by
Presidency University for the ‘Narratives of Migration and Exchange’
project. Although much has been said about the prominent figures in the Raj,
there has been little research on the quotidian lives of the ordinary
thousands who migrated from their homes in Scotland and England to run the
complex mechanism of Empire. Even less is known about their interactions
with the other communities in the land they governed or ran businesses in.
This digital archive of the Scottish Cemetery begins to explore the untold
stories of the colonial India that we rarely get to see.

The Narratives of Migration project, in collaboration with our British
partners, the University of St. Andrews is aimed at jointly researching the
lives and the impact of the groups of people who left their countries to
settle elsewhere, whether willingly or under duress (for example, during the
partition of India). This particular strand within the larger project aims
to research the role of cemeteries as repositories of collective memory.
Continuing our Digital Humanities initiative of archiving colonial
cemeteries, we focus on creating a digital archive of the Scottish Cemetery
on Kolkata’s Kareya Road - a unique space for researching the history of
colonial India and of the global impact of the Scots.

The role of the Scots in building modern India, although well known, has not
been researched adequately. Likewise, the impact of India on Scotland is
also an area of much academic enquiry. The cemeteries project is an attempt
in opening up such fields of enquiry : the aim here is to create fully
searchable digital databases of the cemetery records that will contain as
much data and metadata that can be gathered about those who were buried in
these cemeteries. For instance, not only does the a database record details
such as the year of death, location of the tomb and the cause of death but
it also records more detailed information that is available from other
sources, such as biographies, periodicals, obituaries, wills and even
advertisements. Such a database will potentially benefit academic research
in history, anthropology, sociology and cultural studies.

Besides our collaboration with the University of St. Andrews, this project
owes a lot to the assistance received from the Kolkata Scottish Heritage
Trust (headed by Lord Charles Bruce), St. Andrews Kirk in Kolkata and Dr
Neeta Das. Besides our work on the Scottish cemetery, we have also completed
a similar database on the Dutch settlement in Chinsurah, last year. The
website is available at: http://dutchcemeterybengal.com.

As part of out Digital Humanities initiative, we also plan to create similar
databases for the other colonial cemeteries in India and to aid the efforts
of any others who wish to do so. Any expressions of interest and support are
warmly solicited.




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