Inscriptions on gravestones and memorials – ‘Monumental Inscriptions’ – often provide valuable information for the family history researcher, and some of the data on the Fibis website comes from this source.
Such information is also to be found on the website of our sister organisation ‘The British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia’ (Bacsa) www.bacsa.org.uk, but Bacsa’s principal focus is on the preservation of the cemeteries in which the Monumental Inscriptions are to be found. There are thousands of British and other European cemeteries, isolated graves and monuments in India and elsewhere in South Asia. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s remit extends only to military cemeteries of the two World Wars. There is no official body to look after the graves of the thousands of British soldiers who died at other times in South Asia, nor indeed of the hundreds of thousands of civilians who died there from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Many of these cemeteries have fallen into a sad state of desolation and disrepair. They are frequently overgrown by jungle; tombs are often crumbling and sometimes being used as a source of building material; some cemeteries are vandalised, encroached on, or even used as latrines; some have entirely disappeared under new roads or housing.
Bacsa’s mission is to do what it can to preserve at least some of these cemeteries, and where this is impossible, as it so often is, to record the names of those buried in them. Our logo is an image of a chowkidar or ‘watchman’, for Bacsa acts as a kind of watchman over those many thousands who lie ‘gone but not forgotten’ in India and elsewhere in South Asia.