Unfortunately mr. Ganesh Nandy of the Indian Netherlands Friendship Society fell ill. The INSF could not receive me in early February 2020. I was very lucky that I had been approached a few days ago by Byapti Sur who I know from our earlier Dutch India heritage group. She happens to be in Chinsurah for the marriage of her brother.
At the Chinsurah train station Byapti picked me up at 10:00. Her parents live nearby so I could drop off my suitcase there.
We started at the Portuguese church in Bandel. It was too catholic for me, too much pomp and glory.
Auto taxi’s brought us back to Chinsurah where I saw for the first time the pleasant effect of the renovation of the most visible Dutch monuments: the cemetery and the Susanna Maria Yeats- Verkerk tomb. The Archeological Survey of India has created lots of green at these sites making it look like a garden around monuments. Byapti was very surprised how good they looked now compared to what she remembers from her childhood.
We walked to the nearby Hooghly Imambara. That was impressive, with a massive front and spacious inner court.
We toured around some of the highlights from the booklet produced from the technical analysis of Dutch buildings done by Ayshwara Tipnis heritage architect. She did similar work for the French heritage in Chandernagore. I saw here and there near some of the buildings info-signposts that also result from the revamp.
The project also produced two websites with valuable content. One is www.dutchinchinsurah.in. The other one is www.dutchcemeterybengal.com, which’s gives individual information on each of the persons buried on the Dutch cemetery. Students of the Presidency University in Kolkata helped produce pictures and researched backgrounds.