The Indian Seal Case Study: The Reunion

On 7 April 1978 Dr Nandy wrote to the 9th Baronet to introduce himself as the biographer of his ancestor, Cantoo Baboo, and the two families met the following month after a gap of 210 years.  In a letter of 10 June 1978 Dr Nandy said “It was a pleasure to meet John again in London.  The way we cropped the time together was almost like a romance in terms of reality.  We felt so close, so known to each other that an outsider would take us to be friends for ages.”  (f.n. S C Nandy to J Sykes) 

reunion photograph

At Basildon Park 1978 – 10th Baronet (John), Dr Nandy, Charles Sykes, Lady Sykes (Susan) and 9th Baronet (Francis)

On 1 July 1983 Dr Nandy wrote “The seal of……Sir Francis Sykes of 1765 is a little iron (sic) tablet with ‘Francis Sykes -6’ written in Persian……The seal was the hall mark of a gentleman in 18th century Bengal (particularly as many of them were either totally or almost illiterate), when instead of thumb impression he or she was allowed to put the seal.  It became customary to put the seal even after signing personally.” And subsequently on 25 June 1993 he wrote “I am so glad that you reminded me of the seal of Sir Francis Sykes (written Sikshi – as the Persian alphabets are very archaic) which we have decided to present you.  This gift to you and your family will complete the circle of friendship that was begun 250 (sic) years ago.” (f.n. Letters from S C Nandy to J Sykes)

Dr Nandy has visited the 10th Baronet and his family almost every year since 1978 and has entertained the 10th Baronet at his home in Calcutta and at his palace in Cossimbazar on three separate visits, most notably for the marriage of his son Samit Chandra in Calcutta in 1988.

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sripur palace cossimbazar1

Sripur Palace, Cossimbazar

Presents for the bride1

Presents for the bride