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The legacy of French rule in India (1674-1954)

Animesh Rai


Acculturation, Creolization, Indianization

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1For many years, India was controlled from London. What if it had been controlled from Paris? Would it have been different? Perhaps, this question can be answered very quickly by substituting in one’s mind the French colonizer for the British one and then making extrapolations. One would presumably be led to the conclusion that India would now be Francophone with French as its lingua franca and administrative, judicial, as well as educational institutions modeled on France. The colonial experience would probably have been different in as much as the spirit of French colonialism was different from that of British colonialism. There would now be no cricket playing, gentlemanly Indians but rather ones with a Gallic outlook of a different kind.

2Fortunately for us, we can be spared this level of imaginative effort as history was kind enough to leave a distinct, albeit marginal, French legacy in India. We do indeed have an actual laboratory in South India. As it so happens, its constituent parts are dispersed in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and for that matter, in West Bengal. What if we decided to focus on this laboratory? But then it would be a laboratory only in terms of our initial question. Can we say that it has a distinct reality which is different from the rest of mostly Anglophone India?

  • 1 Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands (Hardmondsworth: Penguin, 1992), p. 394.

3The existence of such a reality is often known as creolization. According to the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, creolization is “a broad anthropological term, which describes any coming together of diverse cultural traits or elements, usually in the context of the West Indies or Louisiana, to form new traits or elements. In the context of linguistics, creolization occurs when two or more languages converge to form a new, indigenous language.” As Salman Rushdie says, “Mélange, hotchpotch, a bit of this and a bit of that is how newness enters the world.”1 It would be noteworthy to ponder on the diametrically opposite ways in which the notion of mixture is generally interpreted. On the one hand, it can be viewed as an enrichment to the extent of enhancing diversity but on the other hand, it can

4also be viewed as an impurity in terms of diluting the original content. What can be said about the former French territories of India? The level of intensity of creolization in the Caribbean, for example, is very high. Creolization occurs at different levels of the continuum in other parts of the world. When we reach India, in particular the former French territories, creolization is perhaps not very clear cut and evident at first glance. The time span for the French presence in India is very long: nearly three centuries from 1674 to 1954.

  • 2 Edouard Glissant in “Local Histories/Global Designs” by Walter Mignolo, p. 40.
  • 3 Edouard Glissant in “Local Histories/Global Designs” by Walter Mignolo, p. 40.
  • 4 As stated by Celia M. Britton in Edouard Glissant and Postcolonial Theory, p. 16.

5The Martinican writer and leading theorist of creolization, Edouard Glissant, has made a fundamental distinction between globalization and “mondialisation”.2 While the forces of globalization strive to reduce everything to its lowest common denominator while striving for uniformity, “mondialisation” is presented as that aspect of culture, which preserves our distinct individualities. The basic conflict between the two, according to Glissant, produces “plural, multiplying, fragment identities” which are no longer viewed as a problem but as a “huge opening and a new opportunity of breaking open closed gates.”3 The emergence of new identities resulting from this clash is what Glissant calls a “world in Creolization.” For Glissant, creolization is not a simple cross breeding known as métissage in French and whose English language equivalent is hybridity as theorized by the Caribbean writers Wilson Harris and Edward Brathwaite but a dynamic process whose end results are unpredictable. It will be emphasized that the element of unpredictability distinguishes creolization from hybridity and that creolization is considered to be an extreme form of hybridity.4 Homi Bhabha also describes creolization as a dynamic process, which prevents the emergence of absolute identities.

  • 5 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 21.

6In 1673, the Compagnie des Indes Orientales established an enclave in Pondicherry. François Martin is regarded as its founder. It was initially a lodge which he developed into an enclave and then into a town. According to the definition at the time, a lodge was a commercial installation in a place of which one was not the proprietor whereas an enclave was a territory of which one was the proprietor. The concession which had been obtained by François Martin from Chir Khan was never officialized. It was a de facto transfer as one would put it today which François Martin obtained in return for military services provided by him to Chir Khan.5 François Martin was then recalled to Surat on the northwest coast. He returned from there in 1686 with the title of “Director of the Coromandel and Bengal Coasts and of places in the South where the Company would carry out its commercial activities.” In 1688, François Martin obtained the authorization to engage in trade in Karaikal, an old town on the delta of the Cauvery, known in the country as the town of the mystical Shaivaite poetess Punitavatiar of the 6th century whose alias was Karaikal Ammaiyar.

  • 6 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 22.
  • 7 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 24.

7In 1690, the enclave of Chandernagore was founded and whose original name was Chandannagar, “moon-town”, so called because the river in this place forms an arc in the form of a crescent of the moon. In 1721, the French obtained a piece of land at the mouth of the Mahe river with the right to keep in place a garrison. In 1731, an enclave was created in Yanam.6 Since 1701, the importance of Pondicherry to the Compagnie des Indes Orientales was recognized. It became a headquarter. The Company, considering that owing to the increase in the extent of its commerce and of the number of its establishments the sovereign council established in Surat was not enough for its purposes, created another independent one in Pondicherry. Its jurisdiction extended to all those establishments which it had and could establish on the Hooghly and on the Coromandel coasts. As a result, the jurisdiction of Pondicherry extended to Chandernagore in Bengal, Karaikal and Yanam on the east coast and Mahe on the west coast.7 These five enclaves are now collectively referred to as the former French territories of India. They also included eight lodges: the five lodges of Cassimbazar, Jougdia (which has now been submerged by the sea), Dacca, Balassore and Patna all of which were dependent on Chandernagore, the lodge of Masulipatnam which was near Yanam, and the two lodges of Calicut (near Mahe) as well as the lodge of Surat on the Malabar coast.

  • 8 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, p. 297.

8For the Compagnie des Indes Orientales, its organization in India differed profoundly from that of the Mascarenes. This was because the productions from Asia formed the essence of the commerce of the Company, in value as well as in volume, and then it consisted of densely populated regions, having a coherent political organization. The Establishments are usually presented according to their geographical location: the Coromandel coast in the South East, around Pondicherry, seat of the Conseil Supérieur and of the government, Bengal, with Chandernagore and a provincial council; the Malabar coast in the South West, with Mahe as headquarters, also the seat of a provincial council.8

  • 9 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, pp. 297- (...)

9On the Coromandel coast, the site of Pondicherry had very early on caught the attention of foreign powers who had come to trade in Asia: since the time of the Romans, it seems to have been occupied by merchants. That is because it offers many advantages. Undoubtedly the harbor is very accessible, as all those of this region, and the coast is low, sandy and cluttered with lagoons, but the mouth of a river created the possibility of penetration towards the interior, and above all the drinking water came naturally out of the land through artesian wells, a unique situation, which contributed to the richness of the region. After 1617, the French attempted to settle in Pondicherry; dislodged the following year, they tried on several occasions, during the 17th century, to re-establish themselves, in spite of the hostility of the Danes and the Dutch. French occupation became definitive in 1697, when Holland recognized it through the Treaty of Ryswick.9

  • 10 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, pp. 299- (...)

10The territory of the town of Pondicherry does not form a coherent whole. It consists of a series of enclaves, acquired at random due to circumstances in three great phases. In the first phase, in 1697, François Martin had bought back from the Dutch the rights which he had obtained previously from the Nabab of Arcot, on the town and the nearby land; then from 1702 to 1710, the Compagnie des Indes Orientales had taken, against an annual tax payable to the Nabab, successively the village of Calapett, whose forest provided the wood necessary for the constructions of Pondicherry, the garden of Oulgarett, and the land of Mourgapacom. In the second phase in 1740, the Nabab, in order to thank the governor Benoit-Dumas for his protection against the Mahratta invaders, had granted him everything which he could extract from the lands of Archiouac, Cottecoupom and Villenour. The head of the French establishments had hastened to cede these territories to the Company. In the third phase in 1750, the French received the lands of Bahour and Valdaour with their dependencies. At this time, the total area of the territory was 29.000 hectares in fourteen enclaves. It is difficult to form a precise idea of the nature and the extent of the ceded rights. According to the terms of the grant, the trader had the right to collect the existing taxes of all kinds, that is in general the basic tax, indirect contributions, customs duties, and he could also create new ones; he could put in place a police force and administer justice, mint coins, consolidate the lands of which he had become the proprietor. In fact, these concessions became what the traders wanted them to be: under the authority of an active Company and under the flag of the King of France, they became, in the face of the weak Indian authorities, foreign territories.10

  • 11 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, p. 302.

11The town can be situated in the Portuguese colonial tradition: it combined a port, fort and lodgings, and one could distinguish a well-defined “white” town, with a regular plan, according to the expressed wishes of the directors of the Company, and a “black” town. On the sea side was the elevated zone of the white town, established on the ancient dunes at the center of which was erected the fort; to the west of the white town was a depressed middle zone, an ancient lagoon which was being filled in and which was moderately drained by the Ariancoupam river, then the land rose towards the Indian town, which was previously located to the south of the white town, and transferred to the West, on more stable and available land during the course of the 18th century.11

  • 12 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, pp. 302- (...)

12An initial principle guided the administrators in charge of developing the town: to impress the imagination of the natives by an urbanism of quality, by the choice of good materials of construction, by the development of important buildings. In 1719, Father Bouchet observed that the houses of Europeans were built of bricks whereas those of Indians were built only of earth coated with lime. Eleven years later, the mayor Simon de La Farelle remarked that this town had gained much. Earlier, the people used to construct their houses in wood and in earth; Mr. Lenoir decided to build only in bricks and to cover only with tiles; and one built magnificient houses and in large numbers. The verdant appearance of the town struck an officer who said that all the streets were planted with trees on both sides, which was of a charming aspect and soon after the sailor J. F. de Gennes exclaimed that this was properly speaking neither a town, nor the country, or rather it was one and the other together. This optimistic picture was nuanced by the long description of a specialist, the engineer Charpentier de Cossigny, who was closer perhaps to reality, even if his judgment was often characterized by systematic denigration. He said that there was no minister, no engineer in France, who, seeing the plan of Pondicherry, would not imagine that this was one of the most beautiful cities in the world: it was a multitude of symmetrical houses, of long and wide aligned streets, straight as a die and mostly planted with trees; they were dressed canals, gardens, ponds.12

13At first, the potential for an outward and sustained expansion of French influence in India was very high. By the middle of the 18th century, this potential reached its peak. During the 19th century, the scope for French expansion was drastically curtailed by British constriction of the powers of the French. The French territories of India were relegated to the same scale, if not an even smaller one, as other overseas French territories such as Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Reunion Islands. The former French territories of India could perhaps be viewed as the extreme case of the situation in the other overseas French territories. The scale of priorities given to the former French territories of India by the metropolitan government in France can be judged by the fact that the formal transfer of these territories to the Government of India did not take place until 1954, that is, after the withdrawal of France from Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. Furthermore, the cession of these territories was not legally ratified by the French parliament until after the resolution of the Algerian crisis in 1962. The insignificance of these enclaves in the larger French national interest can thus not be denied.

14The uniqueness of these territories lies in the fact that after decolonization they became neither an independent, sovereign state nor part of France as, for example, a Département d’Outre Mer but instead were ceded to another sovereign state namely India. This implies that there was no scope for them to develop either their own national identity as a function of their history or to reaffirm their nexus with France, its language and its culture. They were instead absorbed by the Indian Union.

15The presence of French power and the progressive association of the inhabitants to this power created human links which would make their effects felt on the turn of events. During the period of installation and of expansion, even though there may have been narrow individual relations between the French and the Indians, the relations between the communities remained very distant: buyers-sellers, rulers-ruled, employers-employees.

  • 13 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 136-137.

16At the time of the revolt of the sepoys in July 1857 in British India, a wave of insecurity took hold of the British in India. The event also frightened somewhat the Governor of Pondicherry. On this occasion, the French population and the Indian population sent him messages. The one signed by the Europeans, numbering 61, asked him for arms and ammunitions to organize an uprising against the eventual invasion of the town by a group of looters. That of Indians consisting of 440 signatures expressed complete solidarity.13

  • 14 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 137.

17After the Revolution, the relationships changed and it is the Indians who took the initiative. They wanted to be recognized as full members of the city. Their representatives asked the representatives of the Europeans to accept them among them. They met the governor on more than one occasion. They expressed their loyalty and support in this time of turmoil and announced their demands. The parliamentary representation attempted under the Second Republic and continued under the Third Republic was the first tangible expression of the desire of France to have a democratic link with the colony. The population did have to pay a price for it. Each time that there was a question of the transfer of the Establishments, voices were raised vigorously in opposition and to express the profound attachment of the population to France.14

  • 15 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 137.

18In spite of their meager resources, the Establishments sent financial aid to metropolitan France during the War of 1870 and that of 1914. In like manner, France had given money when big natural disasters such as cyclones and food shortages had devastated the territory. The general mobilization during the war of 1914 took place against this background of strengthening ties. The Pondicherrians fought with the French to defend the mother country. On the day of the armistice, they participated together in the general euphoria and exhilaration. Pondicherrian soldiers were embraced by Parisians. All those who took part in the war were no longer the same men when they returned. France was no longer a mythical country for them whose history and geography one studied in books. It somewhat became their own country whose people and landscapes filled their memories. At the beginning of the Second World War, the general mobilization had already been decreed and preparatory measures for sending the soldiers were in progress when news of the capitulation reached them, provoking a general consternation. As soon as the free French forces were put into place, a large number of volunteers took part and fought in the Middle East and in Tripolitania.15

  • 16 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 138.

19The common history of nearly three centuries with political and economic ties thus created individual links of friendship between the inhabitants of the Establishments and the French. French education was modeled on the spirit of the local elite. Hence, when India attained its Independence, the Establishments were very well knit to France sentimentally and intellectually. They were also very well knit to India viscerally and culturally. Furthermore, the establishments were not self sufficient in essential products; they depended for everything on India and lived in a symbiotic relationship with it. Essential services such as Posts and Telegraphs were in the hands of India. The media were all Indian. This double belonging was well known to France; it banked on pro-French sentiments when it wanted to prolong its presence. But the Indian authorities were completely ignorant of the reality and could not understand that the inhabitants of French India could hesitate even for a single moment to merge into India. Not realizing that newly independent India still remained English on many counts, it was annoyed by the desire of inhabitants of French India to retain their French character for an entire generation. It was the main cause of the useless and unpleasant events preceding the transfer.16

  • 17 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 141.

20Until India’s independence, there was no anti-French movement in Pondicherry. The local nationalists brought their modest contribution to the liberation of India from British domination. Indian leaders advised them not to do anything hostile to the French as the latter gave shelter to Indian patriots who had taken refuge in the enclaves and who continued the struggle from these secure places. Suddenly, when independence from Britain became certain, the Indian press began a violent diatribe against what they called foreign pockets in India. Soon after independence, the Indian Government declared in its turn that it did not recognize the rights of France on the enclaves. Local nationalists pointed their guns at French colonialism. The rest of the population became aware of the problem. The French government was aware of the situation created by the British. It quickly realized that it would probably be compelled to follow them out of India.17

  • 18 William Miles, Imperial Burdens, p. 59.

21The Congress Party’s policy towards these possessions as well as the Portuguese occupation of Goa was officially stated in 1948 in the Jaipur Resolution:18

with the establishment of independence in India, the continued existence of any foreign possession in India becomes anomalous and opposed to the conception of India’s unity and freedom. Therefore, it has become necessary for these possessions to be politically incorporated with India, and no other solution can be stable or lasting or in conformity with the will of the people. The Congress trusts that this change will be brought about soon by peaceful methods and the friendly co-operation of the Governments concerned.

22Decolonization could be envisaged but one had to take into account the repercussions in the other colonies. Furthermore, in as much as the Establishments were concerned, it was not simply a question of giving them independence. India claimed them by right. The issue became more complicated due to the fact that there were three concerned parties instead of two. The most interested party was naturally the population. What was the opinion of its representatives? The elections in Pondicherry took place before independence from India; they revolved on the administration of the territory and not on its future. There were two tendencies within the Representative Assembly elected in 1946, one which was anti-colonial and the other conservative. They all had in common the desire to merge with India with a large autonomy and to perpetuate the French heritage. Each reacted in its own manner to the turn of events of which both the governments held the strings.

  • 19 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 141-142.

23The second party was France, which held the sovereignty of the territories. In the French parliament, all the different trends of opinion existed ranging from the continuation of the Empire to the partisans of the principle of the people’s right to determine their own future. As events proceeded, the majority would lean towards decolonization. Even the government was divided: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was inclined towards establishing good relations with independent India whereas the “Ministère de la France d’Outre Mer” was opposed to dismantling the French empire. The third party, which did not exist in the other colonies, was India which wanted to get back the territories. It was then torn by partition, exposed to the problem of Kashmir, and busy assimilating a large number of princely states which had been semi-independent until then. Its primary preoccupation was to get back the foreign possessions which seemed to pose a threat to its victorious nationalism. Even here there were two trends, one wanting to rapidly incorporate the French establishments dispersed in their respective neighboring states and the other not having any objection about keeping them as a separate entity for some time.19

  • 20 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 142.

24On 28 August 1947, France and India through a joint declaration expressed their desire to amicably settle the future of the enclaves. On 6 October 1947, the eight lodges were returned to France without any preconditions. There remained the five enclaves. The French Overseas Ministry declared on 18 June 1948 in the French national assembly that the government would grant the population of the enclaves the right to self-determination; in this regard a consultation would be organized in accordance with the municipal councils of each enclave; the results of this consultation would be valid for each enclave separately. This decision was accepted by the government of India by an exchange of letters dated 29 June1948.20

  • 21 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 142-143.

25Meanwhile, a strong movement for liberation had manifested itself in Chandernagore which had never been able to tolerate the tutelage of Pondicherry. The enclave was declared a free town in the administrative framework of French India by a decree of 7 November 1947. On 20 January 1948, the town claimed its right to secede for deciding its future subsequently. On 4 December, it asked to be merged with India as soon as possible, a transition period of five years and, subsequently, a maximum of administrative and financial autonomy. The assembly of the free town of Chandernagore was united on 10 March 1949 to determine the date and modalities of the referendum which was fixed for 19 June 1949. There were 7500 votes for merger and 114 against. The cession of the territory was to take place in two months pending the signing of the treaty. As the law and order situation had deteriorated, France requested India to take de facto charge of the territory on 2 May 1950.21

  • 22 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 152.

26It had been decided right from the beginning that the future of the other establishments would be decided by a referendum. The need to consult the population had been recognized by both parties. But India retracted when it seemed that the result would not have been favorable to it. The population was not interested in the referendum for various reasons. The Members of the Congress Party in a resolution of the convention of the people of French India had declared in 1948:22

  • 23 Jeunesse, vol. 1, No. 4 du 31-08-48. Translation: “The Convention condemns any attempt at holding (...)

Elle (la convention) réprouve toute idée de tenir un référendum, parce que c’est une insulte et un défi au droit moral de notre peuple de rejoindre nos propres parents et amis.23

  • 24 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 152.

27Others foresaw a pure and simple retreat of French power to allow the population to decide about its merger at an appropriate time. The rest of the population was in favor of a cession agreement drafted by a tripartite commission which would be submitted for popular approval. They estimated that the referendum which would require a choice between France and India would lead to a campaign of denigration of France on one side and of India on the other and which would be unpleasant for everyone. In France as well, some politicians thought that the political relations between France and India risked deteriorating.24

  • 25 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 152-153.

28France, invoking constitutional reasons, had made the referendum a sine qua non condition for the determination of the future of French India. But circumstances forced the Minister of Overseas France to declare to the National Assembly on 27 August 1954 that the consent of the population scheduled by the Constitution was not a synonym for a referendum. The Minister, who found himself in an impasse, could validly state that circumstances did not permit such a consultation and furthermore, that this being a de facto transfer and not strictly speaking a formal cession of the territories, a prior consultation of the population was not necessary. The logical and legal solution would have been to submit the subsequent Treaty of Cession for approval by the population. In this case, the treaty would have been drawn up while taking into account the wishes of the population. Everything would then have been legal. However, the Treaty of Cession was subsequently ratified without this consent of the population. The Treaty of Cession is considered to be a mere formality.25

  • 26 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 153.

29Moreover, in order to lend credence to the vote of the representatives, their legitimacy had to be irreproachable. However, the elections of the municipal counselors in 1948 had led to allegations of intimidation, violence and electoral fraud of a high degree. The reports indicated a massive majority for the winning party. Lastly, when a text is presented to an assembly, it is normally asked to deliberate on it. At Kijéour, the members of Congress did not have any choice but to approve on 18 October 1954 an agreement whose terms had already been decided without them and where they did not have the right to suggest the slightest modification.26

  • 27 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 154.

30According to the terms of the treaty, the government of India de facto took charge of the administration of the territories starting from 1 November 1954. India and France congratulated themselves on having resolved the question by the sole means of negotiation. Naturally, there had been no bloodshed; but one cannot deny the fact that the population had to suffer the consequences of an economic blockade imposed by India in response to French intransigence about re-establishing a customs union between the two countries and of the shock that this brutal transfer represented in terms which precluded its participation. The government of India suffered substantial financial losses and alienated the population. France, on the other hand, for having procrastinated had been cornered into accepting an unexpected and humiliating retreat by disregarding the constitutional principles which it had brandished until then. However, the question was simple and easy to resolve. The population through its delegates had manifested its desire for merger with a transition period in terms elaborated through tripartite negotiations; but the High Contracting Parties proved to be obstinately resistant.27

  • 28 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 155.
  • 29 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 156.

31The Pondicherrians had seen in co-sovereignty a short term solution to the problem of the French establishments in India. India had always been fiercely opposed to it, not wanting to tolerate any kind of foreign sovereignty on its soil. But a form of co-sovereignty took shape on its request, with France having legal sovereignty over the territories and India an actual one, and this lasted for eight years. French institutions were still officially in place and yet the Indian system began to function by adapting itself to a foreign mold.28 The new government was conscious of the fact that the vote in favor of the de facto transfer had not been obtained in normal conditions, nor with the wholehearted consent of the people. The population had mixed feelings at the thought of being ruled by those who had just subjected them to a blockade and who were viewed as being the successors of the British, who had on many occasions ravaged Pondicherry and whom the inhabitants considered to be their traditional enemies, as they had been led to believe. The Representative Assembly and the Government Council had been dissolved, the new administration was isolated and it had to make itself accepted.29

  • 30 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 157-158.

32The Indian administration, which had already felt the lack of enthusiasm of the population for the transfer, took note of the expressed votes and redoubled its efforts to make itself accepted. In this effort, India revived development programs. The latter were able to create a bridge with the people, as they provided jobs to young graduates and considerable aid to agriculturists. Schools and clinics were opened. The Indian government was not sparing in this effort. In high places, the officials thought that given the small size of the territory, one could invest all the money which was necessary and to make of it a trial laboratory for the development program of India. These efforts bore fruit; the population began to forget its grievances.30

  • 31 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 158.

33India and France rapidly concluded the Cession Treaty which was signed by the two parties on 28 May 1956, yet again without having consulted the representatives of the people of Pondicherry. It was more or less the reproduction of the de facto transfer agreement. Provisions on nationality were added and provisions which had become obsolete were removed. Many important points were not addressed. One can discern a lack of interest on the part of both parties. In Pondicherry, even those who were in favor of merger expected a clear improvement and were disappointed by the lacunae and imperfections of the treaty. They rightly feared the overpowering weight of the Indian administrative machinery and would have wanted written guarantees. The pro-French, encouraged by the results of the election which took place after the transfer, undertook a campaign drawing attention to the irregularities of the treaty. Their main argument was the absence of a referendum. They wanted to delay the ratification of the treaty. They claimed a modification of the treaty in order to conserve as much as possible of the past. They were in favor of double nationality, of a period of transition of 25 years, of trading privileges, and of a larger autonomy.31

  • 32 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 158.
  • 33 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 160.

34The Treaty of Cession was ratified two days later by the signature of the Indian government. But in France, the ratification had to be made by the Parliament.32 After the Evian accords, which settled the Algerian conflict, the problem of Pondicherry was taken up. It was admitted that there had been inadequacies in the treaty relative to the guarantees to be granted to the transferred population. An agreement of principle was made between the two governments that changes of principle could be made after the ratification of the treaty by means of a supplementary instrument. After this understanding, the treaty was ratified by the French parliament in July 1962; the exchange of the instruments of ratification took place on 16 August 1962, making that the date of the de jure transfer. As agreed, France proposed to India certain additional provisions to the treaty and India accepted nearly all of them without any difficulty. They were incorporated in a supplementary agreement signed on 13 March 1963. Hence there had actually been a brief, unexpected but useful transition period during which the population could adjust itself to the new dispensation.33

  • 34 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 160-161.

35After the de jure transfer, every one was looking for the best path towards the future. There was, first of all, an important choice to make. According to the Treaty of Cession, the territory became legally Indian and the inhabitants became Indian nationals. The treaty gave the right to opt for French nationality to those who wished to remain French; in this regard, they had to make a declaration at the French consulate within a period of six months. Little by little as the fateful date of 16 February approached after which the Pondicherrians would become irrevocably Indians, their nervousness increased. This right to opt became problematic for the French Pondicherrians to whom the two countries were equally valuable. They were Indians by race, language and manner of living. Would they take the necessary steps to go and register at the French consulate but with the result of having to repatriate themselves in a distant country, which was known to be cold and towards an uncertain future? On the other hand, their studies had been in French, their qualifications were French and they had been imbued with French culture. Would they remain in their ancestral land but with the thought of having to adapt themselves to their racial counterparts from whom they had distanced themselves through three centuries of history and with a future which was as uncertain? They faced a real dilemma. Their anguish increased. When the last day arrived, the most indecisive among them had to make up their minds. At the closing time of the consulate, the line before the door was very long; the closing time of offices was reported to be at midnight. At this time, many of them still waited, they were asked to enter and the door closed behind them.34

36assimilation by france + pondicherrians = franco-pondi-cherrians. The Franco-Pondicherrians who are conversant with French culture are, in my opinion, creolized. Their Indian origins combined with the French influence on them make them unique in that they are like the natives of other former French colonies with the sole difference that their “Frenchness” is permeated by their unique “Indianness.” However, in numerical terms, their presence dwindles to nothingness. There are currently approximately 8000 Indians of French nationality in the Union Territory of Pondicherry. They are also referred to as optants, after having opted to take up French nationality six months after the de jure transfer in 1962 of the territories of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam to India. Of these, only approximately 2000 are actually French speaking or have links with France through pensions, which they receive from the French government, or through family members living in metropolitan France. With over a million people in the entire Union Territory of Pondicherry and over a billion in all of India, they are indeed curious oddities.

  • 35 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 161.

37Among those who opted, there were descendants of Europeans, the local civil servants who knew about the possibility of integrating themselves in the metropolitan services which many of them had not even dreamed of, the families of French soldiers and metropolitan civil servants who were serving elsewhere and finally, the domestic servants of Europeans. In 1963, there were 4944 optants both men and women, the children being included in the option exercised by their parents.35

  • 36 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 161.

38While in 1962, at the time of the cession of the territory, most of the Pondicherrians hesitated a great deal about leaving for France and for this reason did not opt for French nationality, in the years that followed the situation progressively reversed itself. First of all, the civil servants and the soldiers who were serving in Indo China, those from the establishments who had opted for French nationality, the young people who had received a French education and who wanted to have their degrees accredited all settled down in France and in overseas French territories by force of circumstances. It appeared to them that their stay in France was possible; they invited their relatives. The Indian rupee which was at that time a strong currency became a weak currency since it detached itself from the pound sterling. The franc which was a weak currency became a strong currency at the end of the Algerian war. The attraction of France since then became irresistible. So many children since then have reproached their parents for not having opted for French nationality, without taking into account the fact that circumstances were not the same at that time. Since the 1980s if, by some loophole in the treaty, one happened to be of French nationality, this status was quickly taken advantage of. If one was not French, one had to become French at all costs, either by adoption, marriage or by some fraudulent means.36

39The absorption, apart from Chandernagore, of these territories by the Indian Union was distinctive. Chandernagore, through a referendum in 1948 on the part of its inhabitants, became an integral part of the state of West Bengal. As for Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam according to the second article of the 1956 Treaty of Cession, these territories would constitute a single administrative entity based on their historical links with France until the populations of the territories decided otherwise. The desire to preserve this single administrative entity as per the requirements of this article led to the creation of the Union Territory of Pondicherry to be administered centrally from New Delhi as opposed to Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam being integrated into the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

40The fact of Pondicherry being a union territory implies that it is administered centrally by New Delhi. As a result, it receives large subsidies from the latter. This makes the units of the Union Territory more prosperous than adjoining areas in their respective states. This prosperity, which can be witnessed, for example, in the form of better roads to name but the most visible aspects of it has also led to people in the adjoining states flocking to the units of the Union Territory of Pondicherry. For example, in the case of Yanam this has in recent times led to a four-fold increase in migration of people from the adjoining state of Andhra Pradesh to it. The economic advantage of being a union territory which is a clear legacy of French rule is a distinct reality even though as a result of this economic distinctiveness, the migration of hordes of people to Yanam, for example, can be said to further erode the French character of Yanam by “Indianizing” it further.

41I would like to suggest that in this case french+ indian states (tamil nadu+ kerala+ andhra pradesh) = union territory of pondicherry. The Union territory of Pondicherry is a resultant, which is different from the starting components, namely French and the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and is, in effect, a new reality. This satisfies the definition of creolization. While what has been creolized is something which is abstract namely the administrative structure of the Union Territory, its reality can be perceived in its distinctiveness from the adjoining states in the form of manifestations of its prosperity such as better constructed roads, a lower tax structure and the abundance of liquor shops due to the low cost of alcohol.

42After the de jure transfer, one had to integrate Pondicherry constitutionally into the Indian Union. In the original Constitution, the Indian Union consisted of four categories of states:

  1. The states A which were the former provinces administered by the British government and which were endowed with a parliamentary form by the Government of India Act of 1935.
  2. The states B which were the former princely states of large size under the British protectorate.
  3. The states C which were the former princely states of small size under the British protectorate.
  4. The Union Territories, in other words small territories administered directly by the British government.
  • 37 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 168.

43When the establishments had been transferred de facto in 1954, the Indian government thought of temporarily giving them the status of a class C state. Before the de jure transfer took place, there was a radical modification of the structure of the Indian Union. The policy of the Congress Party, which had been stated well before India’s Independence, was to redo the political map of India by forming member states on a linguistic basis. A commission had been named for this purpose. Following the recommendations of this commission, the constitution was revised on November 1, 1956, setting up only one class of states and some union territories. The last category was thus the only one for which Pondicherry was eligible. Goa was already one.37

  • 38 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 168.
  • 39 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 168-169.

44By the constitutional amendment of 28 December 1962 (14th amendment), Pondicherry was placed on the list of states and territories which, with effect from 16th August 1962, formed part of the Indian Union listed in the annex of the constitution. It was naturally put in the Union Territories category. Some parts of India which were also classified in this category complained of their near colonial status including Goa. The representatives of Pondicherry stressed that their status was inferior to that which they had enjoyed under the French.38 All this led the Indian government to modify the Constitution with respect to the status of Union territories to make of them political entities of the Indian Union endowed with a certain autonomy. The Union Territories Act of 1963, which was voted following this modification, endowed them with a legislative assembly and a council of ministers answerable to them. These institutions replaced the representative assembly as well as the Government Council of Pondicherry. These modifications took place without prior consultation of the population, but the politicians there were in agreement. The Chief Commissioner gave way to an administrator with the title of Lieutenant Governor of the new Union Territory.39

  • 40 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 168-169.

45The process of integration began from this time onwards. The previously cited law of 1963 gave the legislative assembly, which had taken the place of the representative assembly, the power to adopt one or more languages used in the territory or Hindi as the official language and stipulated that, as long as a decision of this kind had not been made, French would continue as the official language. But it stipulated that the deliberations of the assembly would take place in the official languages of the territory or in Hindi or English. Every member would be authorized by the President to express themselves in their mother tongue even if it had not been declared as an official language. The text specified that all the laws and regulations had to be drawn up in English. Even if the assembly had voted a text in another language, the text to be adopted would be the translation in English published under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor. In fact, the drafts of texts and resolutions were prepared by civil servants who were at home only in English. The assembly did not make any immediate decision concerning the official language which remained, in theory, French. But the law has considerably reinforced the place of English without the elected representatives expressing their views one way or another, as was required by the treaty.40

  • 41 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 169-170.

46Within the administration, the integration which had begun during the de facto régime was intensified. One no longer thought of managing a transition but of removing the local particularities. This was symbolized by the request to remove the statue of Dupleix which the French consulate was then obliged to accommodate. With development projects on the rise, many officials of all categories and specializations were recruited and most of them had received an Indian education. This also had the effect of attracting more people from other parts of India. The Indian government, realizing that this was the best way to fuse the former French enclaves with the rest of India, continued to infuse substantial investments in Pondicherry. The administration was completely Indianized with English as its exclusive language. All the books in French were removed from some offices in order to accommodate the newly acquired books in English. The archives in offices were destroyed as no one was able to make use of them. Even the fine colonial furniture was relegated to the verandas and exposed to the bad weather to make way for the modern furniture. Prime Minister Nehru had sincerely wished that Pondicherry would remain a spot in India where French would retain its privileged position, but his subordinates did not share this view point. After his death in 1964, they had room for manoeuvre.41

  • 42 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 170.

47This evolution considerably perturbed the civil servants who were posted at the time of the transfer and had within their hands the entire administration. These civil servants had a superiority complex with respect to the new anglophone civil servants, a complex which was in part justified by the fact that with the same degrees, they considered themselves to be more capable. They could easily switch to English whereas their anglophone counterparts could hardly speak French. For a certain period of time, there was a rivalry and veiled animosity between the civil servants of earlier times known as the “ex-French staff” and the new ones. This rivalry was exacerbated by the fact that the older civil servants received for the same work a salary which was above that which was set for the new recruits to which one applied the pay scales of the neighboring state. Later on, this situation took a new turn; their salaries not having been increased to take into account the increase in the cost of living became less than those of their new colleagues whose salaries received regular increments. The ex-French civil servants then preferred to be paid according to Indian pay scales. Hence was accomplished the integration in the civil service.42

  • 43 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 171.

48The politicians and the ex-French civil servants were disappointed by this rapid modification; they imagined that French would prevail here as English in the rest of India. Even the nationalist militants were of the same opinion. In their periodical, under the title “ce que nous voulons,” one can read the following two sentences:43

Le gouvernement indien assurera l’administration extérieure du territoire : Affaires Etrangères, Défense, Communication et P. T. F, Douane…

  • 44 Jeunesse, Numéro special du 7 janvier 1949, page 2. Translation: “The Indian government will take (...)

L’Administration intérieure appartiendra au peuple de l’Inde française. Notre territoire conservera donc son autonomie, sa personnalité, ses institutions et sa culture…44

  • 45 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 171.

49Thus this frenzied integration caused great disillusionment among those who were staunchly for the transfer and who had worked for it. “We felt otherwise” were the words which were on everyone’s lips. Many of the former civil servants of the French régime, who had opted for French nationality, got themselves integrated in the corresponding metropolitan services and left the territory, thus hastening the integration process. One can assert that one of the main reasons why Pondicherry lost its French character so rapidly was the attraction of French salaries.45

  • 46 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 171.

50The integration having taken place briskly, it was natural to think of merging the enclaves with the neighboring states from which they could hardly be distinguished. Everyone thought that this was the logical outcome of the merger with India. The political circles in Delhi thought so and those in Madras even more so. For the people of Delhi, the question in the beginning revolved around getting back the enclaves and in this respect to reassure the population. The people of Madras were naturally more in favor of a rapid integration, but they subsequently modified their stance for two main reasons: in order to win the elections in Pondicherry, one had to promise the population the continuation of the status quo; secondly this part of Tamil Nadu was developing rapidly owing to the large sums of money invested by the central government and this was as much gained by the state of Tamil Nadu of which Pondicherry would end up becoming a part or so they thought. Merger or not, Pondicherry lives at the same frequency as Tamil Nadu; hence the struggle of 1964 against the Hindi language saw the same level of hostility and the instructions for it came from Madras.46

  • 47 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 171-172.

51In 1979, it was thought within influential political circles in Delhi that it was time to proceed with merger into the neighboring states. As soon as the question was raised, a violent agitation took place. Ironically, it is those who settled in the territories after the transfer who were the most relentless and ready to fight. This was because they had developed important personal connections and business interests whose continuation required the maintenance of the status quo whereas the former inhabitants of these territories who had nothing more to lose remained relatively calm. When there was a threat to the status of a separate territory, the local politicians regretted the hasty integration which they had allowed the administration to complete. They reversed the trend and they tried to bring back into fashion the trivial aspects of the old Pondicherry, in an artificial manner, by visible acts. They tried very hard to highlight very French names, for example, “Mairie” and “café.” They began renaming the streets with French names such as François Martin, Dumas. The French consulate was requested to place the statue of Dupleix on the sea side. What shows the superficial character of the change was the objection raised from all parts when an attempt was made to name the corner where his statue was placed Dupleix square on the occasion of his bicentenary. Before the transfer, the Pondicherrians who feared a traumatic integration had pleaded for a transition period of 25 years. If it had been accepted, one could have put into place the terms and conditions of the transition. As the concerned parties rejected this solution and jealously kept the representatives of Pondicherry at a distance from their talks, the merger took place in a savage and brutal manner.47

52In order for creolization to occur, one can ask oneself if there should be a critical mass of the foreign culture, which could significantly affect its permeation into the indigenous culture. The possibility of creolization in the former French territories of India began when the Compagnie des Indes Orientales set foot in India. The first chapter of the book analyzes the activities of the French East India Company, which gradually percolated itself into the local soil by setting up an administrative and trading apparatus that would enable it to become a profit making enterprise. Dupleix, when at the head of the French government in the French territories, saw beyond the need to make immediate profits and envisioned a greater role for France in India in terms of establishing an empire. This role was based on the idea of developing a hinterland, which would deepen the scope of French influence and in the long-term lead to greater profits for the Company. But the stockholders of the East India Company were not as far sighted as Dupleix and could not see beyond the need to make immediate profits. This led to the recall of Dupleix and to the decline of French influence in these territories.

53The second chapter is concerned with bringing out the salient features of the nineteenth century when France was fully at the mercy of the British who had reduced the French territories of India to the role of mere trading posts and ensured that they would remain in a subsidiary state from which they would never be able to extricate themselves. This chapter also points out the all-pervasive influence of the caste system in Indian society and how the attempt by the French to assimilate the natives met with formidable resistance from the caste system. The imposition of universal suffrage turned out to be a double-edged sword, which was effectively used by the proponents of Brahmanism to assert their supremacy in Indian society. Only the untouchables, or outcastes, were in favor of renouncing their personal status and of acquiring French citizenship.

54The third chapter looks at the contemporary situation in the former French enclaves. It begins by looking at the situation in the early part of the twentieth century when Chandernagore was suffused with the spirit of nationalism and made it inevitable that it would merge into the state of West Bengal in 1948. In this chapter, I have tried to formulate notions of identity. What is modern Pondicherry like? I have attempted to bring out the contemporary situation as I saw it during the summers of 2003, 2004 and 2005. I have relied on interviews with the local people and on extensive conversations with members of the Franco-Pondicherrian community. I was all along looking for the French connection. I was trying to see how the French influence has seeped into the recent situation of Pondicherry. There is, of course, the Indian Pondicherry, that is, that aspect of Pondicherry which resembles India in general but there is also that part which makes it different. My investigation of creolization was motivated by this fundamental dichotomy. Certainly there is a tension between these two aspects and I have all along tried to come to grips with this tension.

55This chapter is also concerned with determining the significance of the traces of French culture remaining in the given environment. What is their role in the daily lives of people? Are they a residue from the past contributing merely to the coloring of the landscape? Or do these elements lead to a synthesis at a microscopic level? According to Edouard Glissant, a trace is what, in a particular culture, subsists of a lost culture in the unconscious of those who belong to that culture such as, for example, African rhythms in American jazz or African syntax in Créole. Furthermore, Glissant states that traces are imprints, which are not imperative, do not determine cultural immobilities and do not trigger cultural sectarianisms. When I arrived in Pondicherry in the summer of 2003, I noticed red kepis of policemen, French street names, churches such as Notre Dame des Anges, the statue of Jeanne D’Arc, shops such as Philips-Compagnie Commerciale Indo-Française, the Romain Rolland Library, the Lyçée Français, L’Institut Français, the Ecoles Indiennes à Programmes Français, the periodical Le Trait D’Union, men playing pétanque and French cuisine in various restaurants. These are just some of the visible traces.

56When people in India think of Pondicherry today, they vaguely associate it with a French past. They associate it with the Aurobindo Ashram where they flock in great numbers for pilgrimage to the shrine of Shri Aurobindo, the revolutionary turned mystic who migrated to Pondicherry as a refugee from Chandernagore where he had been pursued by British soldiers as a terrorist. His erstwhile companion, the Mother, was of French origin. The Ashram school bears the imprint of her French influence still as French is a medium of instruction there. The abundance of liquor shops in Pondicherry and the other enclaves of the Union Territory give it a certain sense of liberality. Some old French colonial buildings are an attractive sight for tourists in the old White Town where there are still French street names. Policemen wear red kepis. It is a charming town by the sea, which makes for an enjoyable vacation.

  • 48 “Regards croisés sur le français pour demain”, Dialogues et cultures (no. 40), Ed. FIPF, 1996.
  • 49 La Présence Culturelle Française à Pondichéry et sa Mémoire (Aspects Contemporains). Mémoire prése (...)

57The fourth chapter is an investigation of the role of language in creolization. I view language as the essence of a culture. According to some opinions of people who were interviewed by me during field trips to the former French enclaves during the summers of 2003, 2004 and 2005, the already existing traditional, classical and highly developed Tamil language in Pondicherry did not allow the French language to deform it. The French language was thus essentially “filtered” by the strength of Tamil. This chapter looks at the status of French in an environment where there are many other languages in addition to the major European language, namely, English. I have attempted to examine the dynamism of languages in India by studying their politics since the time of independence. If there has been creolization, how has the French language permeated the linguistic sphere? And if there has been no creolization, can we say that French has been swallowed up in the vortex of other languages? The impact of the other Indian languages and cultures and of English on the former French enclaves becomes significant in the light of a study conducted by Professors Madanagobalane (Madras University) and Krishnamurthy (University of Pondicherry)48, which reveals that in the multilingual Indian universe (18 official languages and 1652 regional languages), French is not the first language of choice. In fact, since the beginning of the 1950s, the policy of the Indian government has been to enforce a “three-language” policy in an attempt to promote national integration. Having been revised several times (1957, 1964, 1968), this regulation calls for the educative structures (primary, secondary I and secondary II) to adopt a trilingual teaching policy: the regional language, the official language or the associate-official language (Hindi or English respectively), and a living Indian or foreign language other than those opted as first or second choice.49

  • 50 Ibid, p. 45.

58As it happens, Indians generally speak firstly, their mother tongue, secondly, English and thirdly, either Hindi in South India or another Indian language in other states. In each case, French would only be a fourth choice. In Pondicherry, due to its historical links with France, conditions for learning French are slightly more favorable. However, the infrastructure for learning French from the primary to higher secondary stage is provided only by the Lyçée français and the Ecoles Indiennes à Programmes français, the latter facing a number of significant financial problems and a lack of adequate pedagogical means at its disposal.50

  • 51 Interview with a Franco-Pondicherrian in Pondicherry, June 2003.

59A language and culture are prisms into reality. They refract one’s view. In India, the British prism plays an important role in refracting one’s view. Hence, a conversation which I had with a Franco-Pondicherrian, a French national of Indian origin, in the summer of 2003 in Pondicherry completely changed my view of India.51 The conversation was refreshing, enlightening and stimulating. I was speaking to an Indian who was completely francophone. However, the native component of his culture was Tamil. He asked me if I thought that I would have been a different person if I did not know French and I said yes. I became aware of the power of a different language and culture such as French. He talked about the lifestyles of people like him in Pondicherry, drinking beer freely from the refrigerator as opposed to traditional Indians who would hesitate to do so especially in front of elders, eating traditional Indian food during the week and trying out other cuisines during the weekend in Pondicherry which can pride itself on having a fairly cosmopolitan array of food offerings. But through the French language, he was also able to convey his deep pride in his native language and culture namely Tamil. Clearly he was someone who belonged at the same time to the worlds of Tamil and French. An English speaking Tamil could never have the same effect on me. On a later occasion, an academic who was a friend of the francophone gentleman told me that on one occasion the francophone person had said that he had regretted having taken up French nationality but then took back what he had said realizing that it was a “faux pas.”

  • 52 Interview with Edmond in Pondicherry, June 2003.

60Another Franco-Pondicherrian whom I got to know during that trip was also as Francophone while being of Tamil origin.52 He had spent many years in the Reunion islands as a tax collector as well as having lived in France. He clearly did not like the Reunion islands and had felt racist sentiments while in France. However, I could not but be impressed by the French influence on him. This impression would extend to yet other Franco-Pondicherrians whom I met who were completely Francophone.

61This work is a global analysis of a microscopic entity. Its great interest lies in the examination of the process of cultural interactions, whether or not they lead to creolization, on a relatively tiny and focused environment. The isolation and examination of certain variables in this process will define the nature of creolization in a particular and localized environment. By extrapolation, it will be determined whether or not this particular case fits into the general theory of creolization.

62I would like to invite the reader to set aside all pre-conceived notions regarding creolization. I set myself the task from the beginning to take a broad sweeping look at the entire span of nearly three centuries of French presence in these territories starting chronologically from the beginning. It was an adventure of the mind and a voyage into the unknown. Inevitably, I was led to closely trace the trajectory and meanderings of French colonization and all its ramifications across time and space. I would also like the reader to share with me the sheer joy and excitement of trying to define the criteria for apprehending the nature and extent of creolization in these territories if indeed there had been any. My common sense told me that I should pay close attention to any juxtaposition or combination of French and Indian cultures which I may encounter historically or on the ground. Hence that approach prevailed throughout. Another defining criterion for me was to determine whether French influence or elements of French culture were filtered out by Indian culture or whether they seeped through the filter? Certainly this was a broad conceptual question which had to be answered by examining the facts of history and the present situation. If some elements of French culture had seeped through the filter, could we say that they had also been eroded? How would one then go about defining the criteria for gauging this erosion?

63In the colonial situation, the colonizing culture tries to assimilate the colonized culture to its own values by the implementation of a series of administrative or legal measures: imposition of its language, the setting up of cultural or pedagogical establishments and so on. If these measures do not succeed, there is no creolization but a partial acculturation, which gradually disappears when the colonizer leaves. The following chapters will be concerned with determining whether or not there has been creolization in the former French territories of India as a function of its history. It will be relative to the notions of acculturation, deculturation and assimilation. Acculturation is defined as a partial adoption of the cultural elements which have been introduced, deculturation as a complete adoption of those cultural elements and assimilation as that where the whole colonized culture transforms itself in the image of the colonizing culture. Creolization is the appearance of a reality, new and unexpected, a synthesis of the heterogeneous elements that are in contact with one another.


1 Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands (Hardmondsworth: Penguin, 1992), p. 394.

2 Edouard Glissant in “Local Histories/Global Designs” by Walter Mignolo, p. 40.

3 Edouard Glissant in “Local Histories/Global Designs” by Walter Mignolo, p. 40.

4 As stated by Celia M. Britton in Edouard Glissant and Postcolonial Theory, p. 16.

5 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 21.

6 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 22.

7 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 24.

8 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, p. 297.

9 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, pp. 297-299.

10 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, pp. 299-302.

11 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, p. 302.

12 Philippe Haudrère, La Compagnie Française des Indes au XVIIIe siècle (1719-1795), Tome 1, pp. 302-303.

13 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 136-137.

14 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 137.

15 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 137.

16 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 138.

17 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 141.

18 William Miles, Imperial Burdens, p. 59.

19 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 141-142.

20 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 142.

21 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 142-143.

22 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 152.

23 Jeunesse, vol. 1, No. 4 du 31-08-48. Translation: “The Convention condemns any attempt at holding a referendum because it is an insult and a challenge to the moral right of our people to reunite with our relatives and friends.”

24 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 152.

25 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 152-153.

26 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 153.

27 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 154.

28 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 155.

29 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 156.

30 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 157-158.

31 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 158.

32 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 158.

33 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 160.

34 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 160-161.

35 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 161.

36 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 161.

37 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 168.

38 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 168.

39 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 168-169.

40 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 168-169.

41 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 169-170.

42 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 170.

43 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 171.

44 Jeunesse, Numéro special du 7 janvier 1949, page 2. Translation: “The Indian government will take care of the external administration of the territory: Foreign Affairs, Defense, Communications, Customs… The interior administration will belong to the people of French India. Our territory will thus conserve its autonomy, its personality, its institutions and its culture…”

45 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 171.

46 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, p. 171.

47 David Annoussamy, L’intermède français en Inde, pp. 171-172.

48 “Regards croisés sur le français pour demain”, Dialogues et cultures (no. 40), Ed. FIPF, 1996.

49 La Présence Culturelle Française à Pondichéry et sa Mémoire (Aspects Contemporains). Mémoire présenté par Pougajendy Bichat sous la direction de Jean-Pierre Viallet, Séminaire d’Histoire culturelle et religieuse contemporaine, Université Pierre Mendes France, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, p. 44.

50 Ibid, p. 45.

51 Interview with a Franco-Pondicherrian in Pondicherry, June 2003.

52 Interview with Edmond in Pondicherry, June 2003.

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