Cemetery conservation is Bacsa’s key aim and its key conservation principle is to work with local people. Earlier attempts to restore cemeteries had worked from the top down by approaching the Indian authorities and had got almost nowhere. Bacsa works from the bottom up by seeking local partners to whom it can make grants for cemetery restoration work. Partners may be the local parish council or cemetery committee, the local minister, committed lay member of the Christian community or a local cemetery enthusiast, or sometimes a heritage body such as The Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
Whoever they are the essential point is to engage local interest and commitment from local people to ensure that something gets done. Bacsa relies on these local partners to send us photographs demonstrating the work required and obtain builders’ estimates, and then if Bacsa approves the proposal and makes a grant, to supervise the work while it is carried out and send us photos to show what has been achieved. Bacsa is very conscious of the need to see that its money is well spent. It therefore assesses restoration proposals very carefully, and does its best to ensure that its grants go only to trustworthy partners for practicable cost-effective projects.
Bacsa’s voluntary area representatives act as its eyes and ears in South Asia. The majority live in the UK but often have links with their area through family, work, past residence or other connection. They guide concerned local groups in preparing and carrying out conservation projects. If you would be interested in undertaking this role for an area of India or another South Asian country you know well, please contact the Honorary Secretary.