I was thinking about visiting Afghanistan from a long time and till date eagerly waiting for the moment. But then I came to know about an address: Duxbury Lane, Near Navy Nagar, S.B.S Road, Colaba, Mumbai– 400005. At first, I could not believe that this address is connected with Afghanistan. But now I can prove it logically and historically to you in few moments.

The Church

Actually, it’s a church, namely Church of St. John the Evangelist, better known as the AFGHAN CHURCH. It is situated in an isolated enclave of Colaba, Mumbai within the defence establishment areas. It is less visited by locals. However, it is still operational but in a limited manner. Because this church was constructed by East India Company in the mid-18th century, in honour of all the lives lost during the First Afghan War and the Battle of Kabul of 1838. That’s why it becomes a symbol of magnificent architecture from the mid-1800s with high rise pillars, colourful mosaics.

The Name:

I was surprised and intrigued by this name at first. Because logically the war was placed in Afghanistan, it happened between Afghans and British; then why India has a memento of that war? Then I decide to find the answers by my
own.

The History:

During the first Anglo-Afghan war, India was ruled by EAST INDIA COMPANY. It was in the year 1838. At that time British emperor send a troupe of 16000 soldiers which include Bengal regiment, Bombay regiment, and Madras regiment
along with British soldiers. This army of around 16,000 men was annihilated by the Afghan Warriors and only one survived, Dr William Brydon. I don’t doubt that after surviving the revulsion, the doctor had an amazing story
to tell to the world.

(Remnants of an Army’ by Elizabeth Butler portraying William Brydon arriving at the gates of Jalalabad as the only survivor of a 16,500 strong evacuation from Kabul in January 1842; Source – Wikipedia)

First Gothic Church of India:

When I came to know about the above history, I was overwhelmed. Such big war happened, so many soldiers died but only person managed to survive. During my visit when I looked around, I saw a notice board, which told me that the foundation of this church was laid in 1847. It was completed in 1858 while the spire completed in 1865. Not only that, it was only in 1995 that the building was declared a heritage building. Also, it was considered to be the first Gothic Church of India.

Unlike most probably any church in India, one unique thing about this church is the benches, which are from that mid-1800’s era and it includes rifles holders as well for troops that came for service to the church.

Also Read Hampi – A morning in the lap of History

                                                             
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