New Delhi: Garrison Engineer Thomas Betes was the Major of Delhi in 1924. P Gibbals served as Magazine Engineer during the Sepoy Mutiny. T B Ryley was the conductor of the Ordinance - these British army officers may now exist only as epitaphs and tombstones, but the over 2 million European graves like these scattered all across Delhi, Meerut, Agra, Sahranpur, Kanpur and Farrukhabad has prompted the Government to plan a nostalgia trip for descendants.
This walk down the memory lane project is expected to bring in 1 million tourists in next three years, when Indian celebrates 150 years of the mutiny of 1857.
And what's more, the programme is already showing signs of early success in Europe.
Says Judith Campbell of the UK Heritage Fund, "A 150 years is a long time to track down anyone, but given the resurgence of interest in the history of one's ancestors - specially those of the military background - this is rather interesting.''
This is perhaps why the Tourism Ministry has now notified over 68 cemeteries associated with the Sepoy Mutiny as national monuments. The Central Government has also set aside special funds for their upkeep.
And to draw in crowds to these forgotten graves, the ministry has sounded out missions in the United Kingdom and others in Europe. What is also being planned are special packages that revolve solely around graves.
For experts, the Government's timing couldn't be more perfect.
Says Chairman INTACH, S K Misra, "The time even for the tourism sector is ripe. Cemetery tourism has great potential specially for places like the UK because it involves a lot of nostalgia and people want to track down the graves of their ancestors.''
If the 'Incredible India' campaign has to succeed, the Tourism Ministry will have to innovate and the ministry says these are occasions that have to be made the best use of.
In 1808 Quartermaster Sergeant Richard Walker of the Native Regiment was buried in New Delhi. Impressed with his sense of conduct, officers of his corp erected a monument in his memory.
For over 100 years Sergeant Walker has had no visitors, but perhaps with the Government's new found interest in graveyard tourism, Sergeant Walker may receive some flowers from his next of kin.