|Nicholson Cemetery,Delhi. indianexpress.com|
|.Nicholson Cemetery. Delhi .thedelhiwalla.com/|
|Nicholson Cemetery. Delhi.huffpost.com|
|Nicholson Cemetery. Delhi .thedelhiwalla.com|
John Nicholson, born on 11 December 1821 in Dublin, Ireland and son of Alexander Nicholson, a physician, went to college after his father's death in 1830. Educated at Dungannon, his maternal uncle, Sir James Weir Hogg, took keen interest in his welfare and got him a job in the Bengal Infantry of the East India company that was doing mercantile trading in India and running a proxy government there for the crown. Nicholson began his military career with the Bengal army - attached to the 41st native infantry. at Benaras (now Varanasi, UP). After December 1839, he was with the 27th native infantry and saw action in the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–1842) and First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846). His war experiences in the NW provinces against the tough people there in a rugged terrain changed his persona. He become a ruthless and an obdurate character, a hard-core army man who had no room for mercy. To him mercy to the enemies was an anathema.
It was during the great rebellion of 1857 in the Siege of Delhi, his devilish and demonic character showed his ugly face. The Indian Rebellion began as a small struggle at the East India Company's garrison on 10 May 1857 in the town of Meerut, MP. Because the English army failed to handle it in a fair manner, the trouble escalated into riots and later into rebellion across the northern states in the upper Gangetic plain and central India. Racial and religious discrimination besides, repressive British rule and unethical seizing of Indian kingdoms from the rulers, using some pretexts (Doctrine of Lapse and Subsidiary Allowance), etc gave an impetus to the brewing frustration and anger among the Indian soldiers with the EIC's Army. It slowly snowballed into a major revolt that went out of control for a pretty long time. It was considered the first major war of independence against the British that shook the foundation of the British empire; the reverberations were felt in other British colonies.
Indians never liked Nicholson for his racist attitude and rude behavior. Though looking quiet, he was quite intimidating and unscrupulous when treating the rebels caught by his troops. He sent numerous Indians to the gallows without any trial. In the wake of this rebellion, at Delhi there was a need for a burial ground for the large number of casualties resulted from the Siege. A new burial-ground for the Christians was opened in front of the Kashmere Gate, near to Ludlow Castle. The assault on Delhi that took place on 14 September 1857 was commanded by Nicholson. He was shot in chest by a sepoy of from the rebellion when he was storming the hideout near the Lahouri gate. He was taken to the hospital tent where he died after a few days on 23 September. Nicholson was among the first people buried there. A white marble slab from the Red Fort was taken to build his tombstone and epitaph on it reads:
''The grave of Brigadier General John Nicholson who led the assault of Delhi but fell in the hour of victory mortally wounded and died 23rd September 1857 aged 35.''
This cemetery was not renovated for a long time and the British High Commission in India had it renovated in 2006. The renovation work took nearly three years and the cost was around rs.7 lakhs. It hired British multinational security G4S (formerly Group 4 Securicor) headed in India by David I. Hudson to assist the restoration work. This historical grave used to be a hangout for drug addicts, hobos and anti-social vandals.