Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Grave Yard Story from Bolghatty

If the St. Sebastian's Church is more than 150 years old, so should be the cemetary or grave yard. One point of time, it was very small, yet, in it there was a section to dump bones, for, the graves were recycled and reused, the bones, of the previously buried parishioner, picked and dumped in the bone cabin like area.

Then there was another section for the rogues bodies, called pit for rogues or themmadi kuzhi in Malayalam. Bodies of the excommunicated or of those of who committed sucide were to burried. Once a boy ate poinson fruit called othalanga and committed suicide. There was a procession of people who carried lit candles, and then I guess people buried his body in the rogues pit.

The very rich were permitted to lease a family grave for 75 years. At one point of time only such permanent grave was that of Domingo, of Veliath Azwez family, and rest of the parishers were buried in the standard graves, which could be used again and again.

The lease value was not reivised from time to time, so as value of money depreciated, people earned more and could buy (rather lease semi permanent) graves who were permanent looking graves could be built.

The first one, that of Domingo, had marble engravings. The letters have faded, rather are eroded by polluted rains, however, the engravings look bold and beautiful even now (2009).

One of the regular graves, is that of Ganet D'Souza, who died childless. His partner, was poor or dead may be, his brother picked up his body , when Garnet died in a hospital , and brought to own old parish to bury. There is no deocorate covering, like others in the grave yard, well, this is what happens if you have no children to bury you.

The permanent graves, made it necessary to expand the cemetary. These days, making or expanding a cemetary is no easy job, so many permits and approvals are needed, well, the cemetary has expanded till the easter river (back water) side, yet, it is full. Ha ha , houseful, so many dead having permaent graves over them.

Another , famous name, after the Domino, is that of Monsignor Xavier Kaniampuram, who was principal of St. Albert's College. Therae are two Joseph Kaniampuram graves, both are cousins, and Joseph is a common enough name.

Portuguese name s are there plenty, like D'Souza, Paiva, D'Silva, Sementhy, Azwes, Gonsalves, Rodgrigues.
Bolghatty is where many Portugese landed and never went back. They married locals, their children and grand children still carry these names.

Where is the bone pit gone?

1 comment:

  1. Sir*** i am really appreciated your work. please go on....i wish to know more about bolghattians and their relations with portughese.