Nicholson Cemetery

Resting place of Brigadier General John Nicholson, a British-hailed hero of the Uprising

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The Nicholson Cemetery is named after its most famous inhabitant, Brigadier General John Nicholson, an army officer in the British East India Company. Nicholson achieved fame and became a Victorian folk hero through his part in the relief of Delhi during the 1857 Uprising.

He was well known for his forthright views, bad temper and was contemptuous of incompetence. He was famously dismissive of his vacillating superior, General Wilson, and said, “Thank God I have yet the strength to shoot him, if necessary“.

A famous story is told of a night during the Mutiny when Nicholson marched into a British mess tent and told the officers, “I am sorry, gentlemen, to have kept you waiting for your dinner, but I have been hanging your cooks.” He had been told that the cooks had poisoned the soup and when he insisted they taste it for him, they refused. Then he had it fed to a monkey and when it died on the spot, he proceeded to hang the cooks.

Nicholson was badly wounded in the battle for Delhi and died of his wounds some days later. His grave is surrounded by railings and can be found just past the entrance on the right. He lies under a marble slab plundered by the British soldiery from the captured Red Fort.

Other British soldiers and officials, and their families are buried here and their gravestones tell how difficult life could be in India.

Another grave of interest is that of Yasudas Ramchandra who was Professor of Mathematics at the Delhi Government College until 1857. As a converted Christian he was resented by his fellow Indians and was also not accepted by the British. There is a story that he was trying to escape from a mob when he ran into a British officer astride a horse. When the officer went to hit him, Ramchandra protested, saying that he was Christian. The officer’s response was, “So what! You’re still as black as jet!”

Metro: Kashmere Gate on Lines 1 & 2

Also nearby: Qudsia Bagh, Kashmere Gate, St James’ Church

Categories: See & Do: Historical |

At A Glance

Club Road, Civil Lines, North Delhi
Delhi Delhi 110054

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