Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Malabar:Christian Memorials- A new book on Malabar

Book on European graves in
Malabar released

 Kannur, Feb 6:

Malabar: Christian Memorials 1737-1990, a book on European gravestones and church memorials in the Malabar towns of Kannur, Thalassery and Mahe has been released at the International Book Fair in New Delhi. The book, researched and written by Dr John C. Roberts, a social anthropologist who worked at Oxford and Columbia universities, and N P Chekkutty, a senior journalist in Calicut, has details on the Portuguese, Dutch, French and English gravestones in the region. The book also has a complete list of Europeans buried in various cemeteries in these towns during the past two centuries,  based on the burial registers maintained in various churches.

The authors said research work on the book was launched in September 2010 and data was gathered from the extant gravestones in cemeteries, burial registers in churches, and quarterly returns on births and deaths maintained by the French and English governments on their citizens, kept in the British Museum and the French National Archives.

The book covers burials at the St Johns Anglican Church and Holy Trinity RC Church in Kannur, the St John’s Anglican Church and the Holy Rosary RC Church at Thalassery, and the St Theresa’s Church and cemetery at Mahe. The burials at the German Basel Mission cemeteries at Kannur and Thalassery are also recorded. The book has details on the European regiments and native troops stationed at the Cannanore Cantonment and details on deaths in armed forces.

The authors said the book gives a comprehensive picture of the health hazards faced by the Europeans in the colonial towns in 19th century, as most of the entries have details on the cause of death.

The 272- page book, with two maps and a large number of photographs, is published by the South India Research Associates (SIRA), a voluntary network of researchers and scholars, registered in New York.

The SIRA was launched as a network of scholars and researchers interested in the European and Anglo-Indian heritage in south India, with a view to the retrieval and recording of their cultural assets, which are facing serious threats. In addition to the present book, the SIRA is shortly to release two more volumes--The Nilgiri Hills: Christian Memorials 1822-2000 and Malabar: Christian Memorials volume two that will cover areas from Calicut to Travancore. another study, Coromandal: Christian Memorials Fort St. George 1652-1947 is now at an advanced stage of preparation and may be redy for release in 2014. Those who are interested in these projects may contact for details.