Causes for liberation of French colonies in India
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Many interrelated political, cultural, socio-economic and geographical factors contributed to the merger of the French Establishments in India with the Republic of India.
End of French control in former possessionsEdit
- Location: Southern region of Madras Presidency.
- Language: Tamil.
- Culture: There the culture and way of life of people was typical Tamil lifestyle.
- External factors: Then was the time, when the Tamil people in Madras Presidency were very powerful at Centre and State governments in Indian Union. They used to have large impact on local pondicherians.
- Views: There was a mixed proportion of nationalist and francophile sentiments prevailing in Pondichéry.
- Sphere of Influence: Pondichéry and its neighbouring communes were completely under the sphere of influence of Pondichéry.
- Location: 132 km to the south of Pondichéry in Madras Presidency.
- Language: Tamil.
- Culture: There the culture and way of life of people was typical Tamil lifestyle. It was the only colony in French India which does not have much of cultural and linguistic differences w.r.t Pondichéry.
- External factors: The changes political movements in Pondichéry and Madras State used to have very impact on Karikal.
- Views: From a long time, Karikal used to have anti-French sentiments prevailed in them.
- Sphere of Influence: It was completely under sphere of influence of Pondichéry.
- Location: It was located along the Malabar coast of Arabian sea in Madras Presidency.
- Language: Malayalam.
- Culture: There the culture and way of life of people was typical Malayali lifestyle.
- External factors: Keralite Congress politicians in Madras Presidency used to influence Mahé.
- Views: Mahé used to have strong impact of nationalist feelings.
- Sphere of Influence: It was largely out of sphere of influence of Pondichéry.
- Location: Along the coast of Godavari in northern region of Madras Presidency.
- Language: Telugu.
- Culture: There the culture and way of life of people was typical Andhra lifestyle.
- Sphere of Influence: It was largely out of sphere of influence of Pondichéry.
- Location: West Bengal State.
- Language: Bengali.
- Culture: There the culture and way of life of people was typical Bengali lifestyle.
- External factors: Bengal unit of Indian National Congress used to show large influence on Chandernagore.
- Views: Since Bengal Presidency was one of the birthplaces for Indian Nationalism, Chandernagore used to have strong feelings of Indian nationalism and predominant anti-French sentiments.
- Sphere of Influence: It was completely out of sphere of influence of Pondichéry.
Geographical and cultural divergenceEdit
Geographical and cultural divergence in the French India made the French weak in keeping their hold on these colonies.
Decolonization was a global phenomenon which was predominant in the colonial world between 1940 and the 1960s. Many colonies sought independence from the colonial empires. Nationalism and Socialism played an important role in achieving this in many colonies globally.
- Insignificance in population and area: This was one of very dominant causes for liberation of French colonies in India.
- Insignificance in territorial size: The insignificance in area compared with the Indian Union. The total area of the settlements was well under 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2), that of the Union (excluding Kashmir) well over 1,000,000 square miles (2,600,000 km2).
- Insignificant in population size: The insignificance in population compared with Indian Union. The total population of the settlements was less than 500,000 inhabitants on the eve of merger.
- Lack of clearcut frontiers with India: Very few of the settlements had clear-cut frontiers with India. There were many enclaves entirely surrounded by Indian territory, especially in Pondicherry district.
- Economic Factors: The very economic existence of the settlements depended on Indian goodwill.
- Lack of military resistance: If India wished to annex the settlements forcibly there was very little that France could do to stop her.
The above four factors are most important factors that existed in 1947 which ultimately led to merger of French colonies in India.
After independence, the factors that lead to merger are,
- Indian Nationalism: With the Independence of India in 1947, there was rise of Indian nationalism in the people of the colonies in India. This was clearly seen by the rise of nationalist local parties in those regions. Their increasing dominance in the politics of French India created an anti-French feeling in people.
- Shift of Socialists: This was the most important Post-independent cause, probably the sole cause that led ultimately to the liberation of French colonies in India. The members of the French India Socialist Party shifted their stance towards pro-Merger nationalist groups. This gave a catastrophic and devastating effect to the French rule in India. The switch of Édouard Goubert towards pro-Merger camp became the death knell to the French sovereignty in its colonies.
Immediate causes for independenceEdit
A momentous event in the independence movement of Pondichéry occurred on 18 March 1954, when most of the members of the executive council and mayor of Pondichéry and seven adjoining communes proclaimed their decision to merge with Indian Union without a referendum. All the communes in Karikal also followed suit. This decision was to be confirmed by the Representative Assembly and when the French India Socialist Party was preparing to move the merger resolution, the French Governor scuttled it by postponing the session. Provoked by this, the Socialists planned to capture the outlying communes one by one and move to Pondichéry. Accordingly, the leaders of the French India Socialist Party hoisted the Indian National Flag atop the Nettapakkam police station on the last day of March in 1954.
on 05.04.1954 Mr.S. NARAYANASAMY S/o. SANKARA GOUNDER leadership, with two members crew attacked and seized thousands of weapons from the Thirubuvanai French Police Station and then liberated a part of French collared Pondicherry region of Thirubuvanai Commune (renamed after liberation as Mannadipet Commune) with an extent of 23.48 square miles; and established the First French Liberation Government and took assumption of charge as Executive Minister by forming three members Ministry with portfolio and hoisted the first Indian National tri-colour Flag over Thirubuvanai French Police Station and ruled over the Commune by keeping Thirubuvanai Commune Panchayat Office as Administrative Head Quarter Building with effect from 10th April, 1954 onwards in Thirubuvanai Commune, Pondicherry.
This historic event was happened while French India Government ruled in the remaining French occupied Pondicherry regions. This event was a vital cause for liberation of entire French occupied Puducherry from French Administration.[This historic freedom struggle movement in Thirubuvanai Commune against French India Government was then completely hidden for political reasons].
Result of Governor General's interference,
- Capture of Nettapacom commune.
- Capture of Thirubuvanai Commune (renamed after liberation as Mannadipet) and
- Capture of Bahour communes.
- Formation of Provisional government at Nettapacom
- Formation of Liberation Government by forming three members Ministry with portfolio at Thirubuvanai Commune.
The conclusion of Consul General, Sri Kewal Singh on the night of 11 April 1954 at the conference at Kandamangalam, that For real liberation of colonies one should attack any of the big four French settlements, Since the French authorities are making fun of petty provisional government at Nettapacom. Since Yanam is small in area and population, he requested Monsieur Dadala for a plan for its liberation which resulted not only the Coup d'État de Yanaon but also the ultimate liberation of French colonies in India.
Result of conclusion at Kandamangalam conference,
Date of eventsEdit
|Colony||Liberation||de facto transfer||Treaty of Cession||de jure transfer||Merger|
|Pondichéry||-||1 November 1954||28 May 1956||16 August 1962||1 July 1963|
|Chandernagore||-||26 June 1949||28 February 1951||9 June 1952||1 October 1954|
|Karikal||-||1 November 1954||28 May 1956||16 August 1962||1 July 1963|
|Mahé||16 June 1954||1 November 1954||28 May 1956||16 August 1962||1 July 1963|
|Yanaon||13 June 1954||1 November 1954||28 May 1956||16 August 1962||1 July 1963|
Active Members involved in the Independence movementEdit
- NARAYANASAMY S/o. SANKARA GOUNDER [Founder of the First French Liberated Government of Thirubvanai Commune (renamed after liberation as Mannadipet Commune). He ruled over the Commune after establishing a Government by forming three Members Ministries with portfolio and the Government has functioned for 8 months  ]
- H.M.Cassime (Former Mayor of Pondicherry)
- V Subbaih
- Muthukomarappa Reddiar
- Édouard Goubert
- Kamichetty Venugopala Rao Naidou, Membre du assemblée représentative de Yanaon
- Madimchetty Satianandam, Maire de Yanaon
- Sellane Naicker,
- V. Venkatasubha Reddiar, Conseil municipal de Nettapacom
- C.M.Achraff (Former Member & Minister of The Legislative Assembly of Pondicherry)
- I. K. Kumaran
- C. E. Bharathan
- Mangalat Raghavan
- Dadala Raphael Ramanayya
- Yerra Jagannatha Rao
- Yerra Satyanarayana (George Babu)
- The Hindu, Indian Express, Dina Mani, Daily Thanthi, Karai Mail, Sudhanthiram, Suthesamithiran and leading Indian Newspapers published on 12.04.1954 and in International Newspapers like New York time, L'Humanite-French Magazine etc
- Saga of Freedom of French India(Testament Of My Life), Page No. 309, Para. 3 - Author: V. Subbiah; Publisher: New Century Book House(P) Ltd., Chennai, India. Second Edition.
- The Hindu, Indian Express, Dina Mani, Daily Thanthi, Karai Mail, Swathanthiram and leading Indian News Papers published on 12.04.1954 also published in "New York Times", "L'Humanite" - French Magazine
- "My Struggle for freedom of French Provinces in India" autobiography written by Sri Dadala Raphael Ramanayya
- Indian Ministry for External Affaires - 1956 Treaty of Cession
- THE FRENCH AND PORTUGUESE SETTLEMENTS IN INDIA doi:10.1111/j.1467-923X.1955.tb02588.x
- Future of French India, by Russel H. Fifield (Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Michigan) JSTOR 3024284