Decolonisation to Political Integration of India - Puducherry




Decolonisation to Political Integration of India - Puducherry:

Excavations at Arikamedu, about 7 kms south of the Pondicherry town, show that Romans came here to trade in the 1st Century AD. The trade included dyed textiles, pottery, and semi-precious stones. The findings are now displayed in the Puducherry Museum. Ancient Roman scripts mention one of the trade centers along the Indian coast as Poduca or Poduke, which historians believe to be the present Puducherry. Very little is known about the early period of Puducherry. The "Bahur Plates", issued in the 8th century speaks of a Sanskrit University which was here from an earlier period. Legend has it that the sage Agastya established his Ashram here and the place was known as Agastiswaram. An inscription found near the Vedhapuriswara Temple hints at the credibility of this legend. In 1497, the Portuguese discovered the route to India and began to expand their influence by occupying coastal areas and building harbour towns, which soon extended more than 12,000 miles of coast-line.

When India got its independence, Puducherry was still a French colony. There prevailed a general notion among Indians that the departure of the British from India would send a signal to the Portuguese and the French to leave India on their own. However, it was not to be so. The dispersed regions including Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam and also Chandranagar in West Bengal were ruled by the French.

"Puducherry" is the French interpretation of the original name "Puducheri" meaning "new settlement". Many pilgrims have shared the town's hospitality on their way to the temple town of Rameshwaram, thus enriching its culture. The French Government was unwilling to surrender these regions. People at Puducherry got united under the leadership of V. Subbayya, a communist politician and a trade unionist. Taking a serious note of the happenings in Puducherry, the Government of India strongly demanded that the French Government return the Indian regions held by them. In June 1948, a bilateral agreement was signed between both governments. Thus, it became possible to resolve the Puducherry issue by way of negotiations, public movements, and governmental actions.

In 1949-50, after a positive public poll, Chandranagar was merged into the Indian Republic. Later, on 13th October 1954, by a bilateral agreement between the Indian Government and the French Government, the minutes of the merger process were drafted. The vote in the Legislative Assembly and in the Municipal Corporation was in the support of accession. On 1st November 1954, all French colonies in India were merged in India. In 1962, the French Parliament approved of the bilateral agreement and in 1963 Puducherry was declared to be a ‘Union Territory’. Under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Princely States in India were acceded to India and became an integral part of the Indian Republic. Thus, the process of political integration of India was completed.

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