Friday, 22 June 2018

Job Charnock's mausoleum - the Englishman who developed Calcutta city

Job Charnock's tomb, St. John's church, Kolkata. Alamy
Marble slab. Epitaph Job Charnock's tomb. .funbuzztime.com
Tucked in a far desolate corner of the historic St John’s Church in  Kolkata,  the city’s one of the oldest churches in the B B D Bag area,  stands a forgotten   mausoleum of Job Charnock which is a popular tourist spot. Charnock was an employee of the English company and was instrumental in developing  the city of Calcutta (Now called Kolkata).  Prior to 2006, this historic mausoleum  was very poorly maintained and became more or less a neglected place. A great monument was wilting under age and  due to lack of attention it was crumbling slowly. None of the people in power after, India's independence, realized its historical legacy and its link with a man responsible for the development of Calcutta, the capital city  of British Raj.  Around the mausoleum there was  an overgrowth of trees and creepers and it was a  perfect example of how the government authorities could be lethargic and pushed the historical monument into a state of torpor. Among the graves in the church, the Charnock mausoleum is fairly being maintained.  Thanks to the Calcutta Municipal corporation  that  in 2006- 2007, as part of restoration work,  barricaded the mausoleum,  gave  a fresh coat of paint and did new landscaping to give  an impetus to tourism.  This Mausoleum built by Job Charnock's  son-in-law President of Calcutta Charle Eyre stands apart  in St. John's churchyard.  The church came up in 1787 AD dedicated to St. John.
Charnock's mausoleum. stjohnschurchcnikolkata.org

 Charnock  in  1690 established a fortified British trading post with a factory and warehouse and the city of Calcutta had a humble beginning. He worked for more than three decades for the English company - East India Company and put it on a firm footing.
Charnock died in 1969 and the four black tombstones within it include Job Charnock's family members.
A mausoleum was erected in 1695 over Charnock's simple grave by Charles Eyre, his son-in-law and successor and it is in the graveyard of St. John's Church, the second oldest Protestant church in Calcutta after John Zacharias Kiernander's Old Mission Church (1770).   Eyre's wife Mary died in 1693 and was buried next to her father. This Church along with the mausoleum is now regarded as a national monument.  The white colored mausoleum is octagonal in shape with a small dome and arched doorways, and inside you will see  the epitaph placed on the western wall with entrance from all the three sides. The small octagonal tomb sits on a low plinth and is built in two distinct levels, the upper being considerably smaller in its cross-section than the lower; externally the tomb is marked with slender pillars along each corner, simplistic battlements at the interfaces. The  jet black stone tablets, each etched with nicely artistic Latin, English and Arabic calligraphic obituaries in white paint. The English translation of the central tablet commemorating Charnock reads –
Tablets. Job Charnock mausoleum, Kolkata. pixels-memories.blogspot.com
"In the hands of God Almighty, Job Charnock, English knight and recently the most worthy agent of the English in this Kingdom of Bengal, left his mortal remains under this marble so that he might sleep in the hope of a blessed resurrection at the coming of Christ the Judge. After he had journeyed onto foreign soil he returned after a little while to his eternal home on the 10th day of January 1692. By his side lies Mary, first-born daughter of Job, and dearest wife of Charles Eyre, the English prefect in these parts. She died on 19 February AD 1696–7”.


The interesting aspect of this tomb is it is made of rock brought from St. Thomas mount, Madras (Chennai). None of the tombs in this region contained this kind of unique rock.  T.H. Holland, Sr. Geologist of the GSI, after elaborate studies concluded that it is an acidic granite rock variety earlier called Pallavaram black  gneiss. Actually it is pink granite or Hypersthene granite and the pink coloration is due to potassium.  Based on his study of rocks in the tomb, Holland named the unusual rock as Charnokite in memory of an Englishman who had a humble beginning whose character of conviction,  hard work and perseverance saw him through many ups and down in his chequered life. His foresight and good planning saw the development of Calcutta.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/Charnockrsquos-mausoleum-restored/article14904491.ec
http://pixels-memories.blogspot.com/2012/09/charnocks-tomb-calcutta.html