The little brown tombstone in Tranquebar

Our visit to Tranquebar in the summer of 2014 took us to every corner of the small historical town. Our ‘My Danish India’ research team picked up lots of interesting information on the life of the people during time of the Danish in India (1620-1845) and even after. We had many memories to carry back, but there was one that I had mentally bookmarked to revisit sometime. This was a little brown tombstone in the compound of the 18th century Zion Church on King Street.

Zion Church

Continue reading

The First Ziegenbalg Monument

Here by the grace of God
landed on the 9th of July 1706
the first Ev Lutheran missionaries to India
Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg
Heinrich Plutschau.

Writing at Ziegenbalg's landing site

Erected by the grateful congregations
of the Leipzig Ev Luth Mission
in the Jubilee Year 1906.

So reads the inscription at the Ziegenbalg Monument erected at his landing site on the shores of Tranquebar in 1906, two hundred years after his arrival. Continue reading

Tranquebar: the history missing in our history books

We have all heard about the Europeans in India, right from the ancient times of Alexander The Great in 326 BC, to the modern times of the British monarch.

Looking through the history text books I used in school (DN Kundra, Part I & II, 1983 edition), a full section can be found devoted to the modern Europeans. Titled “The British Period”, it starts with Vasco-da-Gama who arrived in Calicut in 1498 from Portugal, and continues with the Dutch, British and French, and their East India Companies. So when anyone talks about the Danes in India, it would be a surprise, to even those who think they are well-read. The Danish travelers find no mention at all in our history books, and if you have heard about them, it is most likely by conversational chance! (Unless, of course, you are from Tranquebar.) Continue reading