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Decolonization of French India

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Ajit K. Neogy

14. Defection of the Socialist Leaders and the Liberation of the Communes

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  • 1 The Government of India was obliged to impose a ban on the supply of petroleum because it had been (...)
  • 2 Pierre de Pimodan visited Pondicherry in July 1953.
  • 3 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères aux Ministre d’outre-mer, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D (...)
  • 4 Ménard au Ministre d’outre-mer, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).
  • 5 Jaquinot au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.)

1The year 1954 began badly for France. With the onset of the new year India had taken certain steps which further tightened her grip on the economic life of the people in the French enclaves adjoining Pondicherry. Early in January the Government of India had cut off power supply in the communes of Nettapakam and Manadipeth and refused to renew licence for supply of petroleum.1 The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs dubbed this policy as another example of economic pressure being exerted by New Delhi in retaliation for the rejection of Indian offer for re-establishing the Sea Customs Union. The French rejection of Indian demands for the restoration of the Sea Customs Union as well as the merger of the French settlements without referendum were two major points of discord between the two governments. Indian reaction to French policy in North Africa and Indo-China has already been discussed. The fear of expansion of communism from Vietnam to the whole of south-east Asia worried Prime Minister Nehru. He had already given recognition to the status of Associated States sponsored by France. In spite of all that had been happening in Pondicherry and its adjoining enclaves India was not averse to negotiation with France. The French Foreign Ministry expected the Overseas Ministry to deftly handle the question of re-establishment of Customs Union, but the latter, in connivance with Jacquier and Ménard, made a mess of it. The restoration of the Sea Customs Union was the only sensible step to overcome economic difficulties through which the French Indian people were passing their days. The French Foreign Ministry blamed the Overseas Ministry for having followed a short-sighted policy resulting in the alienation of India whose co-operation France needed for reasons more than one. The differences between the two ministries came to the surface in a pronounced manner. The French Foreign Minister expressed displeasure for not being informed of the final stage of the development which induced the Overseas Ministry to reject Indian offer. Following Pierre de Pimodan’s mission2 in the French Indian settlements, Ostrorog met N. R. Pillai, Secretary-General in the Ministry of External Affairs, several times and impressed upon him the urgent necessity of sending some diesel motor pump sets as substitute3 India remained unmoved. Pakkirissamy and Jacquier realized its grave consequences as it threatened the economic existence of the people and urged the intervention of the French Government to break the impasse.4 The enclaves adjoining Pondicherry were really heading for an economic collapse. Albert Mirles, Engineering Consultant, Société des Recherches et de l’Industrie, and UN expert, who later visited French India in early March 1954 to oversee the condition there on an invitation from Jacquier, wrote to the Director of Political Affairs in the French Overseas Ministry emphasizing the need of forging better economic relations with Indian Union as the only step to overcome the economic distress of the settlements. Mirles knew India well and when he came to French India on 2 March Jacquier asked for his opinion as to whether an international agreement on bilateral basis could be concluded between the two governments for transforming Pondicherry something like a “Petit Tanger” (mini Tangiers). He found much tension in Pondicherry than it was two years before. While he suggested to “depoliticize” the problem at the local and international levels, Mirles favoured a political cum economic solution to the problem and he believed that economic cooperation could be established with. India for a transitory period ranging from 3 to 5 years.5

  • 6 Jaquinot au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.)
  • 7 Tél. de Pondichéry, 11 janv. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

2The problem of French India was essentially political, but economic crises eventually assumed a matter of prime importance and they got mixed up. But curiously enough neither the French Overseas Ministry nor Jacquinot believed that the solution to the economic problem would improve the relations between the two countries. Even at this stage the French Government was reluctant to accept the reality. The Indian government had demanded merger of the French Indian possessions without referendum. To Jacquinot this was “intolerable”.6 Apart from rendering their position difficult, such a step, he believed, the French national opinion would not accept. The French Foreign Minister was also not in favour of the liquidation of the “national patrimony”. Under such a situation the solution to the vexed problem remained chimerical. The total situation in French India was getting gloomy. Swadeshmitran (21 January 1954) suggested the necessity of taking strong measures for the liquidation of foreign settlements. The most important development was the formation of a common front of the pro-merger parties at Cuddalore known as Congrès Central de Fusion de l’Inde française (French India Central Merger Congress) under the leadership of Seilane Naicker and Dadala was chosen General-Secretary. The object of the new party was to bring under one common programme different nationalist elements of French India. Prominent personalities like Lambert Saravane, Jeevarathinam, former Deputies of French National Assembly played a key role in the making of the common front.7 This was the first step for starting a mass campaign in favour of merger of the French pockets with Indian Union. Lambert Saravane, who had been a zealous advocate ot merger without referendum, demanded that

France should accept the principle of transfer of sovereignty of French India to the Indian Union and enter into negotiation with the Government of India for that purpose.

3This, he believed, would help avoid a lot of bitterness and unpleasantness. He remarked in a press conference

Unfortunately the French Government is still hesitating and failed to show statesmanship in dealing with this question. It is painful to see that France should allow herself a political regime which is contrary to democratic principles in order to retain her hold on these tiny possessions.

  • 8 Ostrorog au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 18 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 3 (A. O. M (...)

4Saravane added observing that they had in French India a government which was “humiliating” even to Frenchmen. Seilane Naicker said that though French India had a democracy in name, they were, in fact, subjected to all sorts of tyranny.8

  • 9 Pasteur Boegner was the President of the Protestant churches of France. He came to Lucknow to atten (...)

5Till now no serious talks had taken place between India and France. India remained firm to her demand for merger without referendum. Diplomatic efforts to persuade India to relax her economic restrictions proved fruitless. A year ago, in January 1953, Vincent Auriol (President of the French Republic) had sent a message to Prime Minister Nehru through Pasteur Boegner9 on the political situation in French India. Nehru told him that the situation was not at all favourable for plebiscite. French policy lacked the solid backing of the two ministries –Quai d’Orsay and rue Oudinot. France, no doubt, strongly opposed Indian demands, but differences of opinion on and approach to the problem stripped France of taking a concerted action. This lack of consistency between the two ministries dragged on the question to no end. The same tendency bogged the action of the French Embassy and the French India Commissaire. Even on occasions the French Ambassador did not know what the French Governor was going to do.

  • 10 Note of the Indian Ambassador to French Foreign Ministry, 14 Jan. 1954. As 44- 55. Inde Française, (...)
  • 11 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 16 fév. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).
  • 12 Ambassade de France a Paris (tel.). 18 fév. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd). Also Mini (...)

6In the middle of January 1954 the Indian Ambassador in Paris reopened the question of direct transfer of the settlements without referendum and requested the French Foreign Ministry for a quick reply.10 This was interpreted by the French Foreign Minister as “tactics of harassment”.11 Nevertheless, this resulted in a meeting between Ostrorog and Pillai which proved significant. Pillai told the French Ambassador that the problem of foreign settlements in India was causing increasing irritation and apprehended that time was not far off when the situation might “escape our control”.12 Pillai made a strong plea to the French Ambassador to endeavour to find out an amicable solution in order to avoid unpleasantness. To this overture of India, Ostrorog remained silent because he was aware of the resolute opposition of the French Overseas Ministry to effect any modification in the existing system of administration in French India. But in his telegram of 18 February to Quai d’Orsay, he emphasized the necessity of reopening conversation with India “if we wish to avoid the crisis against which the Department has been ceaselessly alerting the French Overseas Ministry since several months”. Schuman immediately wrote (19 February) to the President of the Council. He was guided by two motives. They were (1) to save the settlements from the menace of economic starvation and (2) to avert the possible outbreak of a rupture with India by restarting the process of negotiation “even if the conditions might become much more unfavourable than before”. Schuman proposed to place the matter, with his approval, in the next meeting of the Council of Ministers. The French Foreign Department was aware that the French Indian pockets were in a vulnerable position and they were dependant materially for their survival on their relations with India. But the French Overseas Ministry refused to admit this basic point.

  • 13 Pondichery a Outre-mer (tél.) 3 mars 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).
  • 14 Mémoire rédigé par une haute personalité de notre Assemblée de Pondichéry. As 44-55. Inde Française (...)
  • 15 Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).
  • 16 The Hindu, 23 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

7In addition to what has been stated above the financial condition in French India continued to languish. It was so to speak in utter shambles. No long term effective steps had been taken to repair the ruined financial condition. The tightening of the customs cordon, recent scarcity of petroleum in Pondicherry and denial of electricity to the adjoining communes, diminution of the quotas for the supply of certain commodities (medicines, rice, cooking oil, fire wood for heating etc.), refusal of the transit of cotton from the enclaves to the mills of Pondicherry had totally dislocated the French Indian economy. Agriculture in the adjoining communes of Pondicherry had suffered a lot on account of discontinuance of electricity rendering idle the motor pump sets which supplied water to the agricultural lands. Vehicular movements between Pondicherry and the communes had almost stopped and from the beginning of March all economic activities between Pondicherry and the communes remained suspended.13 During the last four years the French Government did not think it necessary to conclude a commercial treaty with India. Towards the end of 1953 Senator Pakkirissamy Pillai and Henri Jacquier met certain high functionaries of Quai d’Orsay and requested them to take some effective steps to overcome the financial difficulties, but to no effect.14 Ménard had already gone to Paris at the commencement of the year for getting some financial support from the metropolis as well as to find out a solution to the political situation in the settlements. Jacquier, who had spent a few days in Pondicherry, declared, on the eve of his departure for Paris, that France would give all necessary support to French India to overcome her economic and budgetary difficulties.15 France had, in fact, offered to the French Indian government the unprecedented contribution of Rs. 1.5 crores towards economic relief and for undertaking several development schemes.16

  • 17 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères à l’Ambassade de France (tel.), 23 mars. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Fran (...)

8Political crisis in Pondicherry was deepening. Ménard found himself in deep political troubles on his return to the French Indian capital in the first week of March 1954. The political crisis which eventually brought to an end the Régime Goubert, as Tézenas du Montcel called it, and which set in motion a series of events resulting finally in the overthrow of French colonial rule in India, was the outcome of personal hostility between the French Governor and the French India Deputy and Minister for Revenue –between Ménard and Goubert. People no doubt heaved a sigh of relief on the fall of the fascist administration headed by the chief of the Socialist Party. It has been discussed earlier that they were not pulling on well for quite some time. Their differences had not come to the surface and possibly that is why the French Foreign Department wrote that it was unaware of the differences between them.17 Their relations, by now, had gone down to such an extent that Goubert, during Ménard’s sojourn in Paris, sent telegram to the French authorities demanding his recall from India. In the meantime the Cabinet d’Instruction had come to know about the scandal involved in the auction sale of toddy (country liquor) in which Goubert’s men were actively connected and the police had arrested some of them.

  • 18 Commissaire à Outre-mer (tel.) 12 mars 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.). Also The Hind (...)

9There were other reasons for the outbreak of hostility between the two. Early in March nearly 1800 textile workers of Roddier Mill were served with notices of retrenchment. After routing Subbiah, it was Goubert who had set up his fiefdom over the working class population of Pondicherry. They constituted the sinews of his power. He, therefore, sharply reacted against this summary dismissal. Subbiah too condemned the high-handed manner in which they were sacked.18 Goubert organized, in violation of the ban imposed by Ménard, demonstrations against the dismissal which the Pondicherry authorities condemned as anti-European. He no longer concealed his anti-French feelings. It came to the surface. Thus the ruling party headed by Goubert, which had been the last bastion of France, had realized at last the game was up. What had been euphemistically called a “rift” between the Socialist Party cabinet and the Commissaire of French India turned out to be no less than a complete and final landslide in favour of immediate merger with Indian Union. French Indian police, however, dispersed the demonstrators by ruthless application of force. A crack appeared in the French Indian empire. It widened in the days to come.

10Ménard has been receiving many complaints against the followers of Goubert. It was a party of hoodlums created by the French Indian authorities to serve their purpose. As party supremo, Goubert had rendered unique services to the French Indian government. Without Goubert being there, the four French settlements in India would have been swept off the board long ago. The French Indian authorities had also rewarded him in manifold ways. A mere nobody Goubert had established himself as a powerful man in the French settlements mainly through the sponsorship of the French executive and with the active support and co-operation of the French police and army, he followed fascist methods for entrenching himself to power. He divided the entire colony into small sections and appointed well-known goondas to control the different sections. All opponents were bullied into submission or chased out of the settlements. Murder, arson and general lawlessness went on unhindered. The dreaded names of his gangsters were Lakshmana Gramani, Bhoopati Saigon Rajamanikkam, Marius Fife etc. The mercenary gangsters performed acts of vindictive cruelty against any and everyone who dared to raise their heads against the iron rule of the leaders of the self-styled socialists. The French Indian administration preferred to keep their eyes closed to their activities. The creation and the upkeep of such a mercenary force needed money. To meet the ever-increasing demand of the gangsters, Goubert had to indulge in all sorts of political black-mail, murder, jobbery, nepotism and corruption which eventually led to the embezzlement of public funds. In all these activities he was assisted by Muthu Kumarappa Reddiar, a member of 6 man Council of Ministers and Muthupillai, Mayor of Pondicherry. Charges of monopoly in trade, hoarding of essential commodities, black-marketing of food stuff, fixing up of governmental auctions had been brought against the above-mentioned three big-wigs of the party. All export permits for onions, groundnut and groundnut oils –all the three scarce commodities were imported from the Indian Union for meeting the needs of the people– were the sole monopoly of Muthupillai who either on his own exported the entire quantity or sold out the permits at a very high premium to any of the regular merchants through the ring of supporters planted in every important field of activity. Rice and other items of food stuff, fuel, fruits, vegetables etc. that reached Pondicherry were cornered by the party of gangsters and stored in godowns. A state of artificial scarcity was created whereas political advantage was reaped by the Socialist Party as well as the Pondicherry administration accusing the Indian Government of a blockade that, in the true sense of the term, never at any time existed. Goubert’s men, in fact, controlled the market of Pondicherry and made huge fortunes. The probe into governmental auction of tobacco stalls and toddy-shops had brought to light happenings that takes one’s breath away. When the henchmen of Goubert’s party bid in the auction, others dared not participate for any such attempt they knew might well result in the destruction of their property, sustaining physical injury and even loss of life by them or their families. The auction over, the goondas sold their shops under private treaty to the regular merchants at exorbitantly high prices. If the tobacco stall was scandalous the sale of toddy shops was atrociously so. For example, the biggest toddy shop in Pondicherry was nearest to the bus terminus. Apart from those who were addicts, the workers of the three mills were the regular customers. It was no doubt a roaring business. The shop which fetched Rs. 26,000 odd in the preceding auction was knocked down to a paltry sum of Rs. 5 000 by the goonda leader Saigon Rajamanikkam. The monthly profits estimated was Rs. 8 000 and the daily sales ranged between, according to government estimate, Rs. 15,000 per shop on an average which meant a loss to the tune of Rs. 15 lakhs to the state.

  • 19 The Indian Express, 17 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

11Goubert had, in fact, extended limitless patronage to his rowdy party supporters. Against these men the Government of India had lodged complaints on several occasions. They had tarnished the image of the French India administration. Since they had been receiving sustenance from Goubert, the Pondicherry administration had to bear with them and swallowed the charge of being soft towards them. The two ministries in France were aware of the prices they had been paying for the services rendered by them against the pro-mergerists. Goubert’s growing preponderance in Pondicherry administration was also causing embarrassment to Ménard. He needed to be cut to size. Meanwhile, some goondas who had been enjoying the patronage of Goubert were arrested following a judicial enquiry in connection with the fraud practised in the auction of indigenous liquors in toddy shops. Ménard reported to the French Overseas Ministry that they were the same persons against whom the Indian Government had issued warrants of arrest for indulging in goondaism in early 1952. Investigations were also being made into alleged malpractice of Goubert with a view to taking legal action against him.19

  • 20 The Times India, 20 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 21 Ibid.
  • 22 Ostrorog h Schuman, Sous-secrétaire d’Etat. Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 27 mars 1954. As 44-5 (...)
  • 23 Pondichry a Outre-mer (tél.), 19 mars 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 5 (A. O. M.).
  • 24 The Hindu, 21 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 25 The Times of India, 21 March 1954. Aff. Politiques C 461 (A. O. M.).

12While these developments were occurring in quick succession, sensational things happened very much worrying for the French Indian authorities. In a dramatic move, separate but identically worded resolutions were passed on 19 March (1954) by the Municipal Councillors of the 8 communes demanding merger with Indian Union without plebiscite and urging the French Government to take necessary measures for fulfilling their wishes.20 Copies of the resolutions had been cabled to the President of the Republic of France, the President of the Council of Ministers, Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Overseas Territories and to the Presidents of the Houses of the French Parliament. Goubert and 4 members of the French Indian Government “whole heartedly” endorsed the resolution. This might be taken as the declaration of the whole since the sixth member was away in Madras. Goubert said that a meeting of the French India Cabinet which was to be held on 27 March would pass resolution unanimously demanding the merger of the French settlements with Indian Union without referendum. He also said that the decision on the merger issue “was irrevocable, whatever might be the consequences” and “we resort to all peaceful and non-violent methods of agitation till we achieve our objective” and concluded hoping that the French Government would respect “our legitimate demand for merger”.21 Although they said the resolution was adopted on its own merit and had nothing to do with the “rift” between the Governor and Goubert, there was no doubt that the rift quickened the pace. Ostrorog, in his letter to Schuman, also remarked that the rift between the two precipitated the subsequent events.22 Similar resolution was taken by the Mayor and the Municipal Councillors of Pondicherry.23 The President of the Representative Assembly gave full support to the resolution. Prime Minister Nehru received copies of the resolution. The resolution was handed over to Ménard. The Councillors of Karaikal Municipality, including Pakkirissamy Pillai and its six communes did the same thing on 24 March. They further announced that the liberation movement would be inaugurated on the eve of the opening of the Representative Assembly on 27 April.24 The Representative Assembly did not meet, but the liberation movement was launched on the appointed date. This clear and categorical expression of popular will had rendered superfluous the holding of a referendum. All their demands remained unheeded. The local authorities ignored the resolutions and adopted, instead, repressive measures against the popular movement. The French Ambassador too had informed the Pondicherry Governor not to take cognisance of the resolutions and the demands made by the local leaders. A spontaneous movement for merger started inside the settlements. Over 8 000 workers of the three textile mills in Pondicherry pledged their support to the movement for integration with Indian Union.25 Peace still reigned in Pondicherry proper. Elaborate police arrangements, maintenance of a strong vigil, ban on meetings and demonstrations and the free hand given to the goondas kept Pondicherry peaceful. Nevertheless, it was a fragile peace –a lull before the storm. Strangely enough, the strong undercurrent of resentment escaped the attention of the Pondicherry authorities.

  • 26 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 21 mars 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 55 (Qd).
  • 27 His full name was Antoine Joseph Benzamin Goubert. He was born on 29 July 1894.

13The defection of Goubert and his Socialist Party followers, who had so long hammered the pro-mergerists, gave a new dimension to the on-going merger movement. Goubert became a patriot, a nationalist,26 and his followers liberation volunteers. He also liberated himself and made amends for his former misdeeds by renouncing his European name and assuming an Indian one.27 He now came to be known as E. G. Pillai. However, the identification of the French India Socialist Party with the merger movement was looked upon by many as the commencement of the second stage of the liberation movement. Goubert’s action was again described as “betrayal” by the military personnel, the métis, a section of the Muslims and the local officials. The Pondicherry authorities believed that these people might form a party in favour of the French. A pro-French party known as Democratic Party was later launched by Duthamby under the patronage of the Pondicherry authorities. It is a pity that they were unwilling to read the writings of the wall and were even ready to catch a straw from being drowned.

  • 28 The Hindu, 22 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

14Ménard’s position was like that of a helpless captain in a sinking ship. In an effort to stop the fast deteriorating economic situation and the growing misery of the people, he had announced, at a meeting of the Council on 7 March, that the French Government had agreed to make an unprecedented contribution of 1.5 crores of rupees for the economic relief and rehabilitation of the people. He also disclosed that he had received a letter from Jacquinot declaring France had no intention to quit the possessions in India. But it was too late to stem the tide of the feeling against France by lure of a huge monetary subvention. Moreover the subsidy promised by France remained a red-herring. Ménard’s announcement that France had no intention to abandoning her possessions was a challenge which was promptly taken up by the people most concerned. The rash declaration of the Commissaire rather gave a new fillip to the movement. However, the French India merger movement was gaining tempo. Prime Minister Nehru said in Parliament that “a very spontaneous movement inside the settlements” was going on for merger with Indian Union Development in Pondicherry and Karaikal had been so sudden and spontaneous that New Delhi was taken unawares.28 The steadily deteriorating economic condition, coupled with the absence of any positive move to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the seven-year old problem of the political status of the settlements had been largely responsible for the sudden upheaval. But the defection of Goubert only precipitated the process.

  • 29 Ibid. Also Ministry of External Affair’s Note to the French Embassy in New Delhi, 22 March 1954. As (...)
  • 30 Ibid.
  • 31 Ostrorog à Schuman, 27 mars 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 15 (Qd).
  • 32 Ostrorog à Schuman, 10 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 17 (Qd).

15Immediately after the adoption of the resolution, the French India police started arresting the pro-merger elements. On the night of 20 March a P. T. I. correspondent was attacked by rowdy elements.29 The Pondicherry administration sent police to different parts of the settlements warning people against indulging in any demonstration. Repression was renewed with vengeance. Police harassment increased. The police was instructed to use arms for stamping out the movement –a movement, according to Pondicherry Government, supported by the Indian Government.30 Instructions were issued to watch the movements of the Pondicherry leaders. Many of them had to leave Pondicherry. Even the Indian Consul General was placed under close surveillance. Ostrorog, who was “surprised” over the sudden development in Pondicherry and Karaikal, did not endorse the decision of the Pondicherry administration to use force or shed blood for subduing the movement.31 But Pondicherry administration had already started following the insensate policy of repression. All sorts of wild speculations were getting currency. Fearing that the situation might take a turn for the worse, Ménard postponed indefinitely the session of the Representative Assembly which was scheduled to be held on 27 March. Pondicherry virtually passed into the hands of one person. He was Ménard. As against the policy of the Pondicherry Government the French Cabinet was not inclined to close the door of negotiations. That would seal the fate of the French settlements. The French Embassy, therefore, sent a note to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on 25 March proposing to discuss the question of establishing normal economic and political relations with India as a prelude to the holding of the referendum.32 The note pointed out that (i) France was willing and ready to organize a plebiscite in the four pockets and (ii) India should lift economic pressures and restrictions on the territories before plebiscite were organized. The French note did not contain any new proposal. New Delhi rejected it.

16Faced with such a dramatic development, the Pondicherry administration became nervous and berserk. The policy of repression exceeded all limits. The French Indian police, which had on many occasions crossed all limits of decency and descended into banality, recklessly swooped down upon the pro-mergerists living in French Indian villages or upon those who had taken shelter in Indian villages across the border. They, having crossed the Indian territory, arrested Nandagopal, Mayor of Modeliarpeth and two more Indians from the Indian village of Kattupalayam. The Government of India took serious view of the incursions. In Parliament Prime Minister Nehru expressed his deep concern about the situation prevailing in the villages of Indian Union adjoining the French settlements and condemned

  • 33 The Indian Express, 27 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 5 (A. O. M.).

the depredation of armed French police who since 24 March have crossed the border, trespassed into several houses, caused damages to property, insulted and ill-treated women, forcibly dragged Indian Union nationals and French Indian nationals living there...33

  • 34 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to the French Foreign Ministry, 26 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Fr (...)
  • 35 The Times of India, 3 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

17The campaign of intimidation and violence by French Indian police was quite in keeping with their earlier tactics. The Government of India adopted a strong attitude against this outrage and R. K. Nehru, External Affairs Secretary, handed over a note to the French Ambassador demanding the release of Nandagopal and two other Indians indicating India’s concern over the attempts on the part of the French authorities in Pondicherry to intimidate the people for supporting the merger movement.34 The action of the Pondicherry government really became reprehensible when, in addition to directing its forces against its own people, it permitted and encouraged incursions into Indian territory. The Government of India strongly protested against the posting of French constables outside the gate of the Indian Consulate at Pondicherry and brought to the attention of the French Embassy the “serious situation” arising out of the assault on G. V. Srinivasan, a consulate staff, by a band of hooligans who trespassed into the consulate library.35

18The Government of India taking into account of the “popular movement” in the French settlements, cabled the French Government

  • 36 Government of India to Paris (tél.), 25 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).

It is clear that a large majority of the people representing different interests, are behind this popular movement [...]. We feel therefore that this is a suitable opportunity of reaching a friendly and peaceful settlement of this question.36

19The Government of India’s telegram again urged that de facto transfer of administration could be given effect to immediately “leaving constitutional and other matters to be settled by negotiations”.

  • 37 French Embassy to Ministry of External Affairs (India), 25 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vo (...)
  • 38 The Hindu. 13 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

20The note of the French Government denied the Indian charge of intimidating the population. It rather blamed the Government of India of having prevented the inhabitants of the French pockets from enjoying normal economic life.37 The Embassy note proposed to start immediate conversation about conditions under which consultation could be organized in the south Indian settlements, with the possibility of an international control. But the French Government had already missed the bus. Moreover the French Overseas Ministry had not changed its attitude. The Government of India had accepted in principle the French proposal of holding referendum in 1948. It soon became clear that the conditions in Pondicherry and elsewhere were such that there was no hope of holding a fair and free referendum. They informed the French Government accordingly, but the latter continued to sit tight believing apparently that a prolonged stalemate might help them to retain their possessions indefinitely.38 How sadly they had miscalculated was shown by sudden and spontaneous expression of nationalist feeling in the middle of the last month. The resolution for merger with India was endorsed by as wide a body as was necessary to convince any impartial observer about what the people of settlements desired about their future. The Government of India thought that it was a clear evidence on which the French Government could act. But the latter refused, ostensibly on the ground that a referendum was obligatory under the French constitution for the cession of territory. As against this, it had been argued, with a great deal of force, that the passing of the merger resolution by all the municipal councils of the settlements in fact fulfilled the condition. Léon St. Jean had pointed out that under section 27 of the French constitution only the consent of the population was required for such cession. But this did not necessarily mean that there should be a referendum; it could be done through the elected representatives of the people. Therefore, the decision of the Municipalities in the French Indian settlements and the Government councillors who were elected by secret, direct, equal and universal suffrage, was valid, lawful and sufficient for authorizing France to make a treaty.

21But the French Government did not listen it and they believed that it was India’s economic pressure that was responsible for the recent development. The way in which the liberation movement was being sustained and spread should have convinced them of its internal strength. If “economic pressure” had been the factor, the promise of subvention of one and a half crores of rupees for the “relief” of the people of settlements ought to have countered it effectively. On the contrary, the announcement of the subvention was immediately followed by the passing of the merger resolution. From the outlying communes the movement was spreading to Pondicherry. It had also forged a unity of purpose among various political parties which declared to conduct the movement in a non-violent and peaceful manner.

  • 39 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 17 (Qd).
  • 40 The Hindu. 27 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

22General situation in Pondicherry as well as in Karaikal was very much chaotic. The French Indian police became aggressive and goondas terrorized the people. In the new situation the followers of Goubert became the target of attack and some of them were assaulted. Goubert and Muthupillai no longer found Pondicherry a safe haven to live in. They fled from Pondicherry and took shelter in an adjacent commune which was beyond the access of French Indian police on account of its isolation from Pondicherry and refusal of the Indian Government to allow French Indian troops to march through Indian territories. The French Government in its note of 2 April protested against the restrictions imposed by the Indian Government on the movement of French Indian police across the Indian territory.39 But the Indian Government argued that it could not allow foreign troops to pass through its territories for crushing a spontaneous movement. The communes, in fact, became the centres of activities of the rebel leaders. The geographical position of the communes also exposed Pondicherry to assault. The Pondicherry administration in the meantime charged some of the socialist leaders with corruption.40 Many went underground. There were also serious charges of financial irregularities and corruption against the trio-Goubert, Muthu Kumarappa Reddiar and Muthupillai.

  • 41 The Indian Express, 27 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 42 The Times of India, 29 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 43 The Indian Express, 28 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 5 (A. O. M.).

23Paris had already ignored the insistent popular demand for an immediate merger of the French India possessions. The Pondicherry administration further aggravated the situation by prohibiting the entry of Indian newspapers into Pondicherry and banning public meetings and demonstrations. This attitude of the French Indian authorities precipitated the crisis and spurred the pro-mergerists to the intensification of the movement.41 Leaders of the Socialist Party held secret consultations with the nationalists and other pro-mergerists on a joint plan of action “to deliver the people of these pockets from foreign yoke’’.42 It was decided to extend the merger agitation by way of capturing communes to the west of Pondicherry and the French enclaves encircling Pondicherry, setting up parallel administration and eventually marching to Pondicherry. March 27 was fixed as the date for launching the mass movement. The Madras Government, after its parleys with R. K. Nehru who had dropped in at Madras on way to Pondicherry, deployed units of the Special Armed Police to tighten the border. Led by the Socialist Party and joined by the pro-merger parties, the movement began simultaneously in the four communes of Ozhukarai, Bahur, Nettapakam and Manadipeth (later Tiroubhuvanepeth). The movement took the shape of organizing demonstrations, taking out processions, holding meetings, hoisting Indian National flags and shouting pro-merger slogans.43 But rarely this declared character of the movement could be maintained. More often than not it departed from its declared path and deliberately gave provocation for a showdown with the local French authorities.

  • 44 Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 8 (A. O. M.).
  • 45 Gazetteer of India. Union Territory of Pondicherry, p. 273. Vol. I.
  • 46 Rapport du Maréchal des Logis Chef Neunrenther, commandant de la sous section de Gendarmerie Auxili (...)
  • 47 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères, 1 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 72 (Qd).
  • 48 The Hindu, 4 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 49 The Hindu, 5 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 50 The Times of India, 12 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

24Karaikal’s response to the final round of the liberation struggle was no less impressive. The events of Pondicherry and its adjoining communes stirred the people of Karaikal to its depths. A pro-French association called Comité Progressiste was organized there by men like Robert Saint Sultane Maricar, Hamider Maricar, Appadore etc. with a view to retaining French India within French Union.44 But anti-French demonstrations and anti-French slogans practically outmanoeuvred the pro-French party. The Karaikal United Merger Committee led by Joseph Xavery welcomed the decisions of the French Indian councillors and Mayors of various communes to merge the settlements with Indian Union without referendum.45 But the United Merger Front formed by the Congress, the Dravida Kazhagam and the Communist party headed by such men as R. M. A. S. Venkatachalapathi, Léon St. Jean etc. gave a new fillip to the movement for merger. It was Ramasrinivasan who flagged off the movement when he entered the town of Karaikal from Nagappattinam with a small batch of persons unfurling Indian national flag and shouting anti-French slogans.46 A full-scale mass movement set in motion on 27 March. St. Jean and Vengadassalabady (brother of the Senator) led the anti-French demonstrations. French India police dispersed the demonstrators. It is a matter of regret that the Karaikal Congress headed by Xavery did not take part in the demonstrations. The Senator-Mayor of Karaikal, in an open letter to the Commissaire, expressed his support for the merger movement with Indian Union. He did not think that the present situation, particularly the economic difficulties, was conducive for the maintenance of pure French rule in the French Indian pockets.47 Throughout the month of May, June and July Karaikal witnessed a series of meetings and demonstrations demanding withdrawal of the French from her settlements. Karaikal did not lag behind Pondicherry in so far as police repression was concerned. Venkatachalapathi, President of the Karaikal Merger Committee and few others were beaten with batons when they took out a procession.48 The Karaikal Administrator tried vigorously to put a brake on the upsurge by adopting “divide and rule” policy – by setting one section of the community against the other. But this vicious efforts proved a failure. Shaik Madari Saheb Maricar, Vice-President, Thirunalrayanampattinam National Congress and member of the Karaikal Merger Committee, categorically declared that “the Muslims are second to none in patriotism and will not fail to stand shoulder to shoulder with other communities in the national struggle”.49 The Merchants’ Association of Karaikal also demanded merger. R. Pakkirissamy, an office bearer of the Merchants’ Association, -said that living condition in the territory had deteriorated due to sky-rocketing of prices of commodities essential for the life of community. Merger with Indian Union was the only way out of the crisis. A week later Madari Saheb Maricar and 14 leaders of the Karaikal National Congress were arrested by French Indian police for having launched a mass movement. For the first time the merger movement in Karaikal was led by a Muslim who formed there the second largest population.50 Inhuman treatment was meted out to Nagarajan and Shaik Saheb Maricar. They were arrested and produced in the court in handcuffs on 13 April 1954. In a strongly worded note New Delhi condemned this.

  • 51 Note: Ministry of External Affairs (New Delhi) to French Embassy, 15 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Fra (...)

Such handcuffing of a leading merchant and a well-known nationalist leader, whose sole crime was the carrying of an Indian flag and demanding merger of the French settlements with India is, in the opinion of the Government of India, derogatory to human dignity and exceedingly high-handed on the part of the French Police.51

  • 52 The Hindu, 4 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 53 The Indian Express, 11 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 54 The Hindu, 9 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 55 The Hindu, 13 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

25French Mahe had always been in a radical mood. The merger movement which had been going on in full swing in Pondicherry and Karaikal also escalated to Mahe and activated the Mahesians whose rebellion in 1948 had temporarily dethroned the French from the seat of power. At a meeting held in Azhiyur (an Indian village) the Working Committee of the Mahe Mahajana Sabha, which was enlarged by the inclusion of the Mangalat Raghavan and some of his Praja Socialist Party colleagues, resolved to launch an organized freedom struggle for the unconditional merger of Mahe with the Indian Union.52 An Action Committee was formed to chalk out a programme for the struggle. The Committee called upon the patriotic Mahesians to be ready for the final struggle for emancipation from the French yoke. After five and a half years, Mahe witnessed a new excitement. During these years the pro-mergerists were tortured and jailed and their properties looted and confiscated. People were so terrified that no one dared to utter a word against French tyranny.53 Balan of the French India Military Police serving in Mahe was dismissed from service for suspected sympathies with the nationalists. Shop keepers of Mahe and the adjoining communes were ordered to close their business premises before 9.00 p.m. and people were not to be seen in the streets after the same hour.54 In the changed context Mahe launched satyagraha –a new struggle for liberation from French rule. Prominent leaders like P. K. Usman and N. C. Kanon were arrested and remanded to custody for organizing anti-French demonstrations. In Mahe jail, Mahajana Sabha workers were mercilessly beaten up and admitted to Tellicherry Civil Hospital. In Palur the Mahe police tortured those who had participated in the anti-French demonstrations.55

  • 56 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tél.), 27 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 73 (Qd).
  • 57 The Madras Mail, 6 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

26The situation in French Yanam was still calm, still unaffected by the pro-merger agitation as in other parts of the settlements. But there was an under-curren? of strong resentment among the Yanamese against French administration and this did not escape the attention of French Administration.56 He convened a meeting of the prominent citizens of the village and told that any agitation started by them in that village would not be of any use. He assured them that any decision resulting from agitation in other parts of French India would apply to Yanam also.57

  • 58 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères a l’Ambassade de France (tél.), 23 mars 1954. As 44-55. Inde Franç (...)
  • 59 The Hindustan Times, 1 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 73 (Qd).

27The French Cabinet had already decided to send a high official to oversee the situation in French India. The choice fell on Tézenas du Montcel who had a sound knowledge of French Indian situation. He was instructed to study the circumstances under which the meetings for merger with India without referendum had taken place.58 This necessitated him to meet all political groups of Pondicherry as also those “favourable for merger with Indian Union”. He was to judge the mood of other settlements and to suggest measures appropriate to deal with the situation. He was also instructed to explore the possibility of reversing the already taken resolution for merger with Indian Union and examine the means of maintaining the “status quo” until the installation of a new regime followed by a negotiation with the Government of India. Tézenas reached Pondicherry towards the end of March (1954), but by them the rebel leaders had left Pondicherry and raised the standard of rebellion. News soon reached Pondicherry that Goubert had captured two villages in Nettapakam commune about 12 mile south west of Pondicherry.59 The police station and the mayoral office of the commune were also taken over and the Indian tricolour was hoisted on the buildings. Police men and police officials surrendered their arms and joined the liberation movement. This was denied by Ménard, but there was no denying the fact that French India was tottering to its fall. The Pondicherry administration precipitated the crisis by dismissing two ministers –Goubert and Muthukumarappa Reddiar and suspending Muthupillai, Mayor of Pondicherry. Immediately after this, they addressed an “open letter “to the Inspector General of the French Overseas Empire announcing that all the French enclaves in India were “of India, Indian”. The open letter also said

  • 60 Ibid.

They are spot in a vast land and residents are connected indissolubly with our brethren of Indian soil culturally, historically and economically in such a way that no political separation could any longer be tolerated.60

  • 61 The Madras Mail, 31 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 62 The Madras Mail, 3 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 63 The Times of India, 4 April 1954. Also The Hindu, 5 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

28 Despite the outbreak of the rebellion the Pondicherry authorities were reluctant to face facts. The recent events in the settlements clearly proved that the proposition of the Government of India corresponded to the wishes of the people. Prime Minister Nehru also declared that 90 % of the population of French India had adopted the resolution of merger without referendum and elected representatives and responsible ministers were supporting it. Still Ménard refused to acknowledge the established fact. In order to survive the challenge the Pondicherry administration organized, with the help of Duthamby, a retired judge and a pensioner of French Government, a big demonstration with a view to impressing upon the Inspector of Colonies the unshaken loyalty of the people towards France.61 This stage-managed demonstration of loyalty by hired people failed to reverse the course of the liberation movement. Soon Goubert extended his rebel authority over more villages of the Nettapakam commune. French administration collapsed there. Two more ministers of French India –Karendra Mudaliar and P. Janaraja– candidly told Tézenas that the majority of the people desired merger with Indian Union in spite of the endeavour of the French police and officials to the contrary.62 This boosted the morale of the people no doubt. The liberation movement which started in Nettapakam commune soon spilled over to the adjacent commune of Bahur where the liberation volunteers captured seven villages under the direction of Goubert and Muthu Kumarappa Reddiar. The French India Police emulated here the example of their Nettapakam colleagues by surrendering their arms and joining their ranks and hoisting Indian national flag on all buildings on which French flags fluttered a few hours before. This “alarming success” of the movement induced Ménard and Tézenas to cancel their visit to Karaikal. Tézenas suddenly left for New Delhi on way to Paris.63

  • 64 The Madras Mail, 1 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

29Subbiah, whose entry into Pondicherry was banned by the French Indian Government and who had been all these months working in the border villages, made no secret of his intention as far as the fate of the French Indian settlements were concerned. Always a firebrand he decided to jump into the vortex of the liberation movement with all his resources. Being an astute politician and essentially a man of organization, he was in favour of launching a concerted movement of the pro-merger parties. Therefore, in order to broaden the base of the movement, he called a conference of all the pro-merger parties at Cuddalore on 4 April. Such a consolidated move, he believed, would give additional strength to the movement thereby enabling them to hit effectively once for all the last nail in the coffin of French colonialism in India. The result of the Cuddalore meeting was the formation of the United Merger Front which gave a strong stimulus to the on-going movement.64

  • 65 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 5 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).
  • 66 The Hindu, 6 and 7 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

30The movement acquired a new shot in the arm when a group of prominent personalities of Pondicherry –Karendra Mudaliar, Balasubramanian, Deivaassigamany, Rathinassababady, Tetta, Kasim Sinnata Mudaliar, Arokinadi– reaffirmed in a telegram to the French Foreign Ministry on the urgent necessity of the cession of the French Indian pockets to Indian Union on ethnic, geographical, historical, economical and cultural grounds which united the two countries.65 They also urged the French Government to work out a modus vivendi for a political settlement of the question without referendum. This move defeated the attempts made by the agents of the French Indian administration, with Henri Jacquier as the principal mediator, to persuade the authors of the original resolution to pass a compromise resolution affirming their friendship for France and emphasizing that their demands were the result of economic pressure exerted by the Government of India. The French propaganda of economic blockade was again discounted by the Indian Prime Minister in a speech in Parliament (6 April)66 wherein he said that India had taken economic measures to protect her economic interests. They had been directed against the smugglers and other nefarious activities encouraged by particular methods and policy of the local administration. He strongly remarked that there was no foundation at all to the French charge that India had exerted economic pressures and in support of his observations he said that numerous essential commodities were entering the French possessions from India except petroleum and this he had already explained as to why. Moreover, he categorically made it clear that the Indian Government could not allow its territory for the use of French police to suppress a popular movement.

  • 67 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 22 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

31Shaky over the momentum gained by the merger movement, the Pondicherry administration had taken various measures to bully the agitating people. Democracy in French India, about which they boasted so much, had been reduced to a mockery. About this mockery, the statement of Colas, Archbishop of Pondicherry, who had been living in the settlement for 50 years, is very revealing although embarrassing to the French Government. When Costilhes, First Secretary to the French Embassy, met him at Pondicherry (13-15 April’54) and discussed with him the political situation in the settlements, he told him that the Indian Government had been opposing popular consultation because, in his opinion, normal election was impossible in French India. There had not been a single election in which a candidate had not obtained at least 90 % votes.67 Goubert’s somersault and his mercenary troops donning the dress of patriotism did not bring about any qualitative change in Pondicherry politics. A new “goondaraj” commenced to replace the old one headed by Goubert. The Pondicherry administration readily extended its patronage to the new recruits who, aided by French India police, had been creating panic among the people. In the new situation the presspersons became the targets of attack –both of French India and Indian Union. The press reports on the development in the adjoining communes seemed unpalatable to them. Ménard himself gave vent to his feelings of anger and resentment at the detailed reports of the repressive measures adopted by his administration appearing in the Indian press at a press conference held in the Government House. The Commissaire treated the presspersons with scant courtesy. The attitude and behaviour of the French India Commissaire at the conference was just like “a drill sergeant shouting at a parade than a diplomat addressing a press conference”. To quote him

  • 68 The Hindu, 28 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

This is not a press conference nor a press interview. I am not here to answer your questions. 1 have called you to tell you that the reports that have appeared in the Indian press in the past few days are full of lies.68

32Apart from this the Commissaire laid all sorts of bizarre charges at the door of the Indian press without giving reasons for them. Their activities were thoroughly restricted. There was no official ban on the entry of Indians into Pondicherry and the French settlements. But Indians coming by trains and buses were subjected to prolonged interrogations by the French police. While the Indian presspersons were allowed freedom of movement nothing was done to stop hooligans from bullying them. They were also closely shadowed by C. I. D and policemen.

  • 69 The Indian Express, 4 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 70 The Madras Mail, 30 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).
  • 71 Aff. Politiques. Inde, E 32 (A. O. M.).

33Upon this the Government of India decided to regulate, with effect from 19 April, travel between India and French settlements of Pondicherry and Karaikal withdrawing the exemption granted under Indian Passport Rule (1950).69 All persons domiciled in these two French settlements desiring to enter or pass through Indian territory were required to have certificates of identity with photographs of the holders of the persons fixed on them and validated by the Indian Consul General of Pondicherry. The re-introduction of the passport system for travel to and fro the French settlements inflicted considerable hardships and consequently caused dissatisfaction among the people. The pro-mergerists also reacted against this and Subbiah protested against its reintroduction; he considered this step hasty and ill-timed and appealed to the government to withdraw them or defer their enforcement.70 In a letter of 3 April (1954) Ménard drew the attention of the Consul General to the difficulties being faced by the Pondicherry administration arising out of the stoppage of free movements of functionaries, men and merchandises between Pondicherry and the enclaves.71 Already shortage of petroleum had restricted the movements of buses and lorries. After 19 April the fleet of buses plying between Pondicherry and the various places in Indian Union remained idle. Indian authorities had intensified precautionary measures around Mahe and its enclaves in view of the atmosphere prevailing there.

Notes

1 The Government of India was obliged to impose a ban on the supply of petroleum because it had been found that, as Nehru stated in Indian Parliament, in the matter of sale of petroleum some discrimination had been practised by the local administration. Dealers were instructed not to sell petroleum to the supporters of the merger movement.

2 Pierre de Pimodan visited Pondicherry in July 1953.

3 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères aux Ministre d’outre-mer, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D4 (A. O. M.).

4 Ménard au Ministre d’outre-mer, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).

5 Jaquinot au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).

6 Jaquinot au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 9 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).

7 Tél. de Pondichéry, 11 janv. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

8 Ostrorog au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 18 janv. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 3 (A. O. M.).

9 Pasteur Boegner was the President of the Protestant churches of France. He came to Lucknow to attend a meeting of the Central Committee of Oecumenical Council of Churches. Vincent Auriol had sent through him an oral message for Nehru who was also there.

10 Note of the Indian Ambassador to French Foreign Ministry, 14 Jan. 1954. As 44- 55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).

11 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 16 fév. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).

12 Ambassade de France a Paris (tel.). 18 fév. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd). Also Ministre des Affaires Etrangères au Ministre de la France d’outre-mer, 18 fév. 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).

13 Pondichery a Outre-mer (tél.) 3 mars 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).

14 Mémoire rédigé par une haute personalité de notre Assemblée de Pondichéry. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

15 Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).

16 The Hindu, 23 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

17 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères à l’Ambassade de France (tel.), 23 mars. 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 14 (Qd).

18 Commissaire à Outre-mer (tel.) 12 mars 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.). Also The Hindusthan Times, 8 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 4 (A. O. M.).

19 The Indian Express, 17 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

20 The Times India, 20 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

21 Ibid.

22 Ostrorog h Schuman, Sous-secrétaire d’Etat. Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, 27 mars 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).

23 Pondichry a Outre-mer (tél.), 19 mars 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 5 (A. O. M.).

24 The Hindu, 21 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

25 The Times of India, 21 March 1954. Aff. Politiques C 461 (A. O. M.).

26 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 21 mars 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 55 (Qd).

27 His full name was Antoine Joseph Benzamin Goubert. He was born on 29 July 1894.

28 The Hindu, 22 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

29 Ibid. Also Ministry of External Affair’s Note to the French Embassy in New Delhi, 22 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

30 Ibid.

31 Ostrorog à Schuman, 27 mars 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 15 (Qd).

32 Ostrorog à Schuman, 10 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 17 (Qd).

33 The Indian Express, 27 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 5 (A. O. M.).

34 Government of India’s Aide-mémoire to the French Foreign Ministry, 26 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd). Also The Indian Express, 26 March 1954, Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 5 (A. O. M.).

35 The Times of India, 3 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

36 Government of India to Paris (tél.), 25 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).

37 French Embassy to Ministry of External Affairs (India), 25 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).

38 The Hindu. 13 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

39 As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 17 (Qd).

40 The Hindu. 27 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

41 The Indian Express, 27 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

42 The Times of India, 29 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

43 The Indian Express, 28 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 5 (A. O. M.).

44 Aff. Politiques, C 2276, D 8 (A. O. M.).

45 Gazetteer of India. Union Territory of Pondicherry, p. 273. Vol. I.

46 Rapport du Maréchal des Logis Chef Neunrenther, commandant de la sous section de Gendarmerie Auxiliaire Indienne de Karaikal, 31 mars 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 463 (A. O. M.).

47 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères, 1 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 72 (Qd).

48 The Hindu, 4 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

49 The Hindu, 5 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

50 The Times of India, 12 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

51 Note: Ministry of External Affairs (New Delhi) to French Embassy, 15 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 72 (Qd).

52 The Hindu, 4 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

53 The Indian Express, 11 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

54 The Hindu, 9 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

55 The Hindu, 13 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

56 Pondichéry a Outre-mer (tél.), 27 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 73 (Qd).

57 The Madras Mail, 6 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

58 Ministre des Affaires Etrangères a l’Ambassade de France (tél.), 23 mars 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 16 (Qd).

59 The Hindustan Times, 1 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 73 (Qd).

60 Ibid.

61 The Madras Mail, 31 March 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

62 The Madras Mail, 3 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

63 The Times of India, 4 April 1954. Also The Hindu, 5 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

64 The Madras Mail, 1 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

65 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 5 April 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

66 The Hindu, 6 and 7 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

67 Ostrorog aux Affaires Etrangères (tél.), 22 avril 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

68 The Hindu, 28 March 1954. As 44-55. Inde Française, Vol. 54 (Qd).

69 The Indian Express, 4 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

70 The Madras Mail, 30 April 1954. Aff. Politiques, C 461 (A. O. M.).

71 Aff. Politiques. Inde, E 32 (A. O. M.).

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 1997

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