Chhatisgarh town's 'Titanic' connection
New Delhi: Nestled in remote area of
Chhatisgarh, Janjgir-Champa is a town hardly anyone would believe to have sent a passenger for the luxury liner
Janjgir-Champa indeed sent a passenger, a missionary
Annie Clemmer Funk, who had made this town her home. She was
among the 1500 souls who perished onboard Titanic on April
15, 2012. Annie was on her way to visit her ailing mother in
Annie arrived in India as a Mennonite missionary in 1906
from America and served in Janjgir-Champa on her mission. In
1908, she opened a one-room school and hostel for poor girls
and taught 17 students initially. She also learnt Hindi during
her India stay. The school was later renamed as Annie C Funk
Not much is left of Annie's school with only outer walls
surviving the wreckage of time but her story is a legend in
Janjgir-Champa. All that is left of Annie's time here is a
small plaque which describes her brief but extraordinary life
and her tragic death onboard the liner.
According to Sarojini Singh, the principal of Saint
Thomas school here, the memorial school was running till
1960 but was closed soon after.
The story of Annie is equally heartbreaking as that of
the liner. From Janjgir-Champa, Annie reached Mumbai via rail
and boarded a ship for England. She was to take 'SS Haverford'
from Southampton for America but the ship was laid off because
of a strike by coal labourers.
She was offered to change her ticket for Titanic for 13
pounds. Annie bought a second class ticket, whose number was
She also celebrated her 38th birthday on the ship with
her co-passengers, according to Gameo.org, an online
encyclopedia on Global Anabaptist Mennonite.