Darjeeling and the Dooars: Christian Cemeteries and Memorials 1842-1995

Christian Cemeteries and Memorials 1842-1995 by Eileen Hewson 

BACSA 2006. 92 pp.

Price £10.50 plus post UK £1.00 Europe £2.00 Overseas Airmail £4.00

Edited review from Chowkidar Autumn 2006

This corner of India bordering Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Bangladesh holds many surprises for the family historian seeking Scottish ancestors in the tea Industry and memories of the British Raj. In Darjeeling there is a scattering of illustrious incumbents from all over Europe.  A Hungarian Csoma de Koros of Tibetan language fame whose grave is now protected by the Archaeological Survey of India and the Hungarian Government. A German missionary Carl Niebel who was the first to translate the scriptures into Lepcha, An Italian Louis Mandelli, a fugitive from the Garibaldi times who while managing a tea estate earned an international reputation as an ornithologist. Mentally walk among the cemeteries including the long abandoned military ones and visit the isolated graves of planters who died far away beyond the reach of doctors and clergy.  The author is to be congratulated for this compilation of written records from the Oriental & India Office Collections in the British Library and surveys undertaken by tea planters and BACSA members. There is a beautiful picture on the front cover of Darjeeling as seen from Jalapahar and a frontispiece of the Teesta river flowing to the Dooars, both taken by a sixteen-year old schoolboy in 1940 and ten pages of recent photographs from almost every cemetery covered. It is a must for anyone looking for their roots in the tea trade.