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Cemeteries, Public Memory and Raj Nostalgia in Postcolonial Britain and India

From: History & Memory
Volume 18, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2006
pp. 5-42 | 10.1353/ham.2006.0001


This article examines how, and why, decaying colonial-era European graveyards in India became targeted for conservation starting in the 1970s by the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA). Cemeteries serve as a barometer signaling how both ex-colonizers and the ex-colonized have assessed colonial spaces, artifacts, and empire more generally after decolonization. Alongside working to preserve graveyards and record tombstone inscriptions in the Indian subcontinent, BACSA members—many of whom count as "old India hands"—also helped make Raj nostalgia a recurring feature of British public culture in the late twentieth century.

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