Ghosts of the Raj haunt cemetery

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AT THE height of the Indian Mutiny in 1857, Brigadier General John Nicholson stormed into the officers’ mess several hours late for dinner.

“I am sorry, gentlemen,” he said. “I have been hanging your cooks.” The entrance was typical of the Irishman who crushed the Mutiny, earning a reputation as one of the most brilliant but brutal figures of the British Raj.

Hailed at the time as the “Hero of Delhi”, he was more recently described as an “imperial psychopath” by the author William Dalrymple.

Yet as India prepares for the 150th anniversary of the Mutiny next year, the British Government has backed a project to renovate the Nicholson Cemetery in Delhi, where he was buried.

The renovation has drawn attention to the dire state of Indian historical monuments, 35 of which have simply disappeared because of unregulated property development.

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