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Evidence of early Dutch presence in Indian subcontinent neglected

Local group searches for sponsor to restore cemetery

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AHMEDABAD, Gurajat, India - The local Earth Foundation has taken under its wings a neglected 17th century Dutch cemetery and monument located in a garden on the banks of Kankaria Lake. The monument already enjoys government protection as a historic site but the cemetery does not.

The inscriptions on the surviving tombs suggest that the burial site was in use between 1615 and 1700, although the Dutch (VOC traders) presence in Ahmedabad lasted till 1744. The tombs represent four types: domed tombs, pyramids, walled tombs and plain gravestones.

The burial site has been decaying for some time with the plasterwork pealing from some of the tombs while others have structural problems and show cracks.

The Earth Foundation wants to check the stability of the soil, restore the structures and repair the inscriptions. The group is looking for Dutch interests to fund or sponsor the work.

The Ahmedabad site is one of a series of such locations.