Friday, July 24, 2009

DUTCH CEMETERY AND THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS



KOCHI has a vast hinterland growing spices such as ginger, pepper and cardamom. Arabs, Jews, Dutch, Portuguese, French and English came here to buy our spices and sell their goods. The Dutch, when they left our shores for good, forgot to take the bones of their dead companions. We did not want to throw these bones into the sea and instead we have made the Dutch Cemetery a tourist attraction.(Please click on the photos for a larger view.)





I was astonished to see there were no Crosses on the tombs. All Christian tombs have Crosses.Perhaps you can make a guess.
I wonder how many cities and towns in the world can boast of an exclusive cemetery for foreign nationals who don't live there any more.

Here is an old house left by the Dutch. No one is living here. But I think this house must be infested with insects, mosquitoes, cockroaches, lizards, rats and of course giant spiders with magnificent webs.
Talking of spiders and their webs reminds me of the book written by Jonathan Swift called The Battle of the Books. Here he compares the spiders to the Modern writers and the bees to the Ancient writers. He says that the modern writers are narrow and limited in their knowledge and their work will not last just like the spiders web. On the other hand the Ancient writers are like the bees. They gather their material very selectively and carefully from far and wide from Nature and their writings will last for ever. I am not going to elaborate on this wonderful book but lovers of literature will surely find it interesting. This book has an allegory within an allegory.

48 comments:

Kat said...

wow, those photos are beautiful. I'm glad they left it just the way it was, because its a beautiful site to see. Most of the time cemetaries are more frightening than not, but that is a beautiful cemetary. Thanks for taking the photo and showing the beauty of your surroundings. God Bless... Katrena

Blogaire said...

Hello again Joseph, I hope you are well!
This story is most interesting. I was actually unaware of a Dutch presence in India so I must do a little bit of research to find out more.
I suspect that the graves don't have crosses because the Dutch were most likely Protestant Christians and to my knowledge they don't use symbols like crosses the way Catholic Christians do. The only comparison I can make with this graveyard is that there is a small graveyard in Dublin, belonging to French Huguenots, who were Calvinists and had come to Ireland to avoid persecution in France.

Mel said...

Hi Joseph!

It is very noble of the people of India to keep a graveyard for the Dutch who no longer live there. I enjoyed reading your post and viewing the pictures, very much! As to why there are no crosses on the graves, there must be a reason... I'm just not sure what it is. I'll be interested to hear what other people have to say about that.

The house reminds me of a house in a video game I used to play. It's remarkably well preserved. :)

God bless you, dear Joseph! I pray your life is full to overflowing with His presence and peace. :)

Affectionately,
Mel

Valerie said...

An interesting post and an admirable thing to do to create a 'foreign' cemetary. We have a German cemetary for the war dead which is or was maintained by students. I haven't kept up with the details.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

Hello Joesph, I enjoyed your post about the Dutch Cemetary, must be interesting to visit. The photo's were up to your usual good standard.
I think I must be the spider you metioned in your quote, very thought provoking.
Have a good week-end.

Yvonne.

Mel said...

P.S. I can't wait to read that book! :)

Brian Miller said...

interesting post. set aside for foreigners and then turned into a tourist attraction. would be interesting to walk among them i am sure...

Tickled pink said...

Hello sir
The pics are great. I couldn;t guess why there aren't any crosses.Pls tell me.
I'll surely visit this place when I visit Kochi.Thanks for the info.
take care.

Creativity!! said...

Hello :)

Greetings :)

Beautiful Place :) Thanks For Sharing Photos :) From this, can understand that, atleast to some extent still there exists greenery :D which is being destroyed for infrastructural development in some parts of the country......

Excellent Post......Will Surely Visit This Place :) Thanks A Lot For The Info :)

Tickled pink said...

And Yes I've been a literature student and I've read about Swift's battle of books and about what he has done to the modern writers.A brilliant piece.
Gulliver's Travels is also a wonderful allegory.
Thanks for mentioning about Jonathan Swift and relating his work to your post.
Very interesting.

Rain said...

Hello Joseph! Wonderful photos, and thanks for pointing out the lack of crosses, I was looking at your pix and said out loud "that's an odd looking cemetery"...only because I'm smack dab in Roman Catholic land here in Quebec, I'm just used to seeing crosses.

Amrita said...

That looks like a desolate place full of cobwebby memories and lamentations. A pathtic testimony to the people who came to conquer but were slain by their last enemy.

I do wonder why the graves don 't have crosses. Were theyt vandalized?

In Allhabad too were have cenetaries of the British. Some are beingpreserved by the archeological dept. Many monuments have been defaced and vandalized.

I would like to read that book.
These dyas I am reading The Sketch Book by Washington Irving.

Leo said...

Good shots. Do the Dutch families ever visit I wonder. You know how I like spiders and webs. You should have gone inside the building and taken some shots. Ha-ha. Only kidding. Still. . . .

Trudy said...

Hello Joseph! Very interesting pictures and I think it is wonderful that they have left things just as they always were. I really don't know why there wouldn't be crosses, it's kind of sad, don't you think? I think the book sounds fascinating and I will be checking with my local library to see if they have it on hand.
The pictures were wonderful, as always!

God bless you richly dear Joseph!

Trudy

Creativity!! said...

Hello Sir, Have Replied To Your Confused Question About Rain Poem :) Hope You Visit To See The Reply In Your Free Time :) Thanks A Lot For Dropping by :)

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Hi Joseph
An amazing post- a Dutch cemetry as a tourist attraction! Is it by any chance near the Dutch Palace ?The photographs are wonderful. I wonder why the Dutch house is not occupied by some Government dept or officer. Who maintains these places ? I shall certainly make it a point to visit this unique spot next time I am in Kochi.
Incidentally how is the monsoon now? Hope the worst is over, and the waters have subsided.
Regards Ram

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rain:)

I am not able to access you blog. Kindly look into this problem.

Wish you a wonderful day:)
Joseph

Rain said...

Hi Joseph! I shut down my blog, due to problems, but as soon as I have the new one up and running, I'll let you know!!!
:)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rain:)

I am spellbound at the speed of your reply. It looks like we were thinking of each other at the same time. Amazing isn't it? or do you have a crystal ball? :)

Please keep me informed when you start your new blog. I was shocked and upset when I could not access your blog. I also left a message with Brian.

Have a beautiful Sunday:)
Joseph

Rain said...

LOL...crystal ball, maybe? :)
I had written a post last week saying I was on hiatus, but decided to just shut it down..I was hoping most people had read my message before I deleted it! But the new one should be ready to go soon, I spent yesterday uploading photos and designing it!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rain:)

This is what I love about you. Your adventuress spirit, ready to explore, to experiment, to change, to take the risk and of course your energy, your bright and smiling face spreading happiness all around.

How can I forget that you went riding for 28 miles in pouring rain. How can I forget your charming smile in trying to compete with the tree? All this is firmly embedded in my heart:)

I don't even know your name. I know you only as Rain. When you deleted your blog I thought you had vanished into the thin air leaving only your memories behind:)

Three cheers to you for all happiness:)
Joseph

Rain said...

Oh thank you so much Joseph!!! What thoughtful words!!! That touched my heart. My real name is Rain actually! So you know me better than you thought...lol!
:-))

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rain:)

I believe your name is Rain yet something tells me Rain is not your name. I have not come across a unique and special name like this in my entire life. But since you say your name is Rain I believe you.

I wonder who decided to give you this extraordinarily wonderful name?

Best wishes:)
Joseph

Rain said...

Hi Joseph! You can believe that every word I utter is the truth! :) It's no secret that when I left my past behind me, that I legally changed my first and last names. I chose Rain as my first name because I wanted to represent my love for water and the weather. It also signified a "cleansing" as rain washes away the old and creates growth for the new! I felt I needed a completely fresh start in order to get past the past, so to speak! I actually had some arguments from the Quebec government here, they refused Rain as a first name because they said it was QUOTE "Too Holywood"...silly huh?...so I wrote a 10 page letter as to why it would be beneficial to my happiness, and after 2 years of bureaucracy, they accepted it in 2006! That was my decision and I've never looked back! Thanks for asking!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rain:)

WOW! That's amazing! Incredible! You had to fight with the bureaucracy for two long year for accepting your name and that too you gave an explanation of 10 pages justifying the name. You had an extraordinary will power and determination to fight for your name. Amazing! I salute you in admiration and wonder!

But then, it is just like you. A very special person. Someone we don't normally come across. You do what you believe. And you will fight for your belief. You are not one of the masses. This reminds me of a quote--EITHER I WILL FIND A WAY OR MAKE ONE. This quote truly describes you.

Your explanation for choosing the special name Rain is also marvelous. You have thought very deeply about this. I am completely bowled over!

Your friend and admirer:)
Joseph

Ayesha Parveen said...

Hi Joseph!

Thank you very much for sharing these pictures with us.

A cemetary reminds one of mortality; but the drama of life and death also teaches us that there is something bigger than just coming and going..there is God's grace in the promise of eternal life.

Have a happy time :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
I was watching a travel channel on the television just the other day, where they visited the markets in India. Wow, what a vast array of spices, piled high and wide. I can just imagine the fragrance they produce.

I think the fact that India kept the cemetery of the Dutch, says something very good about the heart of Indian people. Very respectful.

Interesting contrast with the old and new authors. I would agree for the most part, but I have read authors that sought material like the ancient writers, and having even more to choose from, have written some brilliant thoughts.
God bless Joseph,
Fred

A New Beginning said...

Hey Joseph!!The battle btw the ols and the new will go on forever..each one has his/her own importance as far as my opinion goes:)The world keeps changing isnt it:) I like your posts, they are filled with information, Cochin is beautiful..thanks for such informative posts , full of beautiful pictures..My compliments to the photographer:)All the very best to u!!

Blue Moon said...

Hello! Sir,
Thanks for your WONDERFUL COMMENT ON MY PREVIOUS POST.
Your present post is well-written & the knowledge which you shared through it ,is commendable. Since I’m a literature student, I know that Swift has beautifully presented writers of ANCIENT & MODERN TIMES in a unique manner in his book “THE BATTLE OF BOOKS” & your present post is also exhibiting UNIQUENESS.
Well Done………
Do visit My blog…………
Good luck for next posts………….

I’ll be eagerly waiting for your comments on my posts.

Have a gr88888888888 day ahead………..

Keep Smiling……!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love,
Manjari

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

History is never really buried to a point that it no longer exists. As the ''bones of those who died' as too, the monuments that stand in memory of life that was, IS! Our past and the experiences we have had will ever be - our perception may change, may completely transform the reality it once defined and so we chart a new beginning. This I feel to be the underlying concept of this most interesting post.

Dear Joseph, may we gather as bees...
"On the other hand the Ancient writers are like the bees. They gather their material very selectively and carefully from far and wide from Nature and their writings will last for ever."

Your response on APOGEE Poet is itself a poem, nectar gathered and shared. Thank you for the beautiful feelings conveyed. This evening is filled with heavy summer rain. The sound as I post this, a soft night tapping serenade, the window panes gently caressed by each rain drop. And so the romance of a summer day lingers on and fills the night with rain's tender touches of grace.

Bluebirdy said...

This is really fascinating Joseph, as is everything you share with us! I have missed you. I have not had the strength to reply to all my blogger commenters and I apologize for that, but I still keep you in my heart. Out of sight but not out of mind. My progenitors are Dutch, yet I have had an unexplained attachment and love for Indian people. I have pictures of relatives as far back as cameras existed, and one lady looks TRULY East Indian,(Married to a Dutchman) so I do wonder if I have East Indian in my blood, and this is why I love India so much.
Just today I was wondering what is the difference between an herb and a spice. I will have to research it. I know pepper, cinnamon, cardomom etc. are spices, but when herbs like basil, rosemary, lemon grass are dried, they are also called spices. So maybe spices are dried flavorings? I don't know.
You should get awards for your photots. You should be published in National Geographics or other travel magazines!
Bless you Joseph!
Sheila

hpy said...

No crosses? Maybe they were made in wood and have rotten away?

Salute said...

Hi Joseph,
Very interesting, beautiful pics and I can imagine how wonderful it would be to tour this Dutch Cemetery.

manivannan said...

Hi sir! Your post reminded me of my native coonoor, where nearby our place there is British commentary. I've taken a lot of photos there...possible one day I would like to share it with you.

And thanks a lot for the information about the book. Will try to read it soon!

Have a great day!

Rain said...

Hello Joseph, would you like to join me on A Walk In The Woods?
:)

Rajesh said...

Lovely snaps. I did not knew about this place in Kochin. I have been to Dutch palace there. It had nice collection of items.

May be I will see this place, next time when I am in Kochin.

Mitr - Friend said...

Hey this is an excellent piece of info. And your pics are too good... The greenery and the moss on the cemetry together looks so relaxing, and almost makes me think,"Well, they are resting in absolute 'Peace'..!!!".
And I have subscribed to follow your blog.. Hope you too would.. :) - My Travelogue

JM said...

Amazing cemetery! The tombs look fantastic surrounded by all that green. Great shots, Joseph!

P.N. Subramanian said...

"exclusive cemetery for foreign nationals who don't live there any more"
This is the true Indian spirit. However, Jewish cemeteries do not seem to have been given the same attention.

Mark in Spokane said...

What a beautiful and haunting set of photos, Joseph. Thanks for posting the pictures. As for the lack of crosses, perhaps it is because the Dutch were mostly Reformed Protestants? I see that one of your commentators made the same connection I did between the lack of crosses and Reformed faith, so maybe I am on the right track here...

I am always amazed by the stories and remembrances of those who travel far from their homelands to work and to live and in some cases pass away. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the rich history of your area of India and a glimpse at those who have over the centuries traveled there.

Cheers!

Rema said...

I don't have much idea about this subject. But yes I am surprised there is no cross. It is nice to know there is Dutch Cemetry. Thanks for the information.

Bemod said...

Hi Jospeh,

It was great post, i was not even aware of such a palce exist ther, even though my native is Cochin, I will surely be visitng here in my next trip to God's Own Country. Thanks a lot for sharing these details and for these wonderfull photographs.

Hope to hear much more in detail regarding other similar places.

Best Regards,

Bemod.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Bemod:)

Greetings:)

I'm glad you like the photos and the information. Kochi is a treasure trove. There are many lovely places of interest.

Many thanks for your visit and comment. I hope you will visit often.

I also note that you have started a blog. Please let me know when you start, so that I can post my comments there.

Have a lovely day Bemod:)
Joseph

Paula said...

Hello...I just found your blog while searching for information on this cemetery at Cochin. My 4th-great grandfather, John James Dupont (or Dupon), supposedly a Dutchman, was buried here in 1853. He was quite an important figure in the Mahratta force in India....I suspect that his wife, Eleanora and possibly two of his children are buried there as well - Henry, born 1807, died 1815 and Johanna Eleanora, born 1810, died 1815. Are any of the inscriptions legible? I am so wanting to visit India myself and to research more of my ancestors. Thank you for the wonderful photos! Paula

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Paula:)

Let me see if I can find out the details. If I get any information on this I will post it here.

Many thanks for visiting my blog and posting a comment.

Best wishes:)
Joseph

belle said...

I loved to read this article and it is good to know that so far away in India this graves are taken care of with respect.Chapeau for that!Indeed the reason for not having crosses on the graves is that the majority of the dutch were protestants,or even worse,reformatists.So called protestanten,calvinisten en gereformeerden.They never use crosses and do not maintain the graves as they are waiting for ressurection.Catholics on the other hand use crosses on the graves.

P.N. Subramanian said...

Dutch cemeterries looked very much like Jewish cemeteries