Actupondy, the Guide to Pondicherry

military paradeThe Liberation Day traditionally commemorates the connection of Pondicherry to the Indian federal union on August 16th, following the Independence Day on August 15th. However 2014 was a new step: from now the Liberation Day is held on November 1st! And this date is historic.

From the first claims ...

rise flagFollowing the Indian independence in August 1947, the legislative assembly of French trade posts quickly requested its connection to the federal union. It was supported in this initiative by New Delhi, which desired to unite all the subcontinent territories after the bloody Partition with Western and Eastern Pakistan (future Bangladesh). Deeply affected in its prestige by the defeat of 1940 against Germany, the French colonial domination was challenged in overseas territories by new political movements. France was already confronted to pro-independence revolts in Indochina since two years. The French government thus took a commitment in June 1948: a referendum would be organized in every trade posts to consult populations on their political future. But in front of the war in Indochina, the rise of turmoil in Algeria and the new situation on the international stage, the referendums' organization started to drag.

... To the connection in fact

1954 was the turning point. Members of the local administration already joined the connection idea: Edouard Goubert, mayor of Pondicherry and member of Socialist Party proclaimed the Territories' desire to be integrated to the Indian union without organizing a referendum. The military force joined the political will: Hindu nationalists took control of French trade posts by weapons and raised the Indian flag instead of the French banner. The French government decided to consult the town councils, formed by representatives elected by citizens. They voted at a large majority for the trade posts' connection with federal India. The transfer de facto of French cities to the Indian union was realized in November 1st, 1954 in presence of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.indian soldier

The French political formalization

troops reviewThe connection was confirmed in 1956 by both governments, but the French national assembly ratified the treaty only in 1962 after the end of the Algerian war: it's the transfer de jure. The thousands of Indian inhabitants had next year the choice to take, or not, the French nationality. 1963 was also the foundation year of the Union Territory of Pondicherry, which includes the former French trade posts of Pondicherry, Karikal, Mahé and Yanaon. The Indian Union wanted to protect the particular history of its various regions and territories, and in this way it drew federal borders that match ethnic and linguistic limits.

The commemorations

army lighthouseNovember 1st, 2015 will be a Sunday: the date is declared as a local holiday since 2014. Several demonstrations are planned in the former four trade posts of the Territory. A military parade is organized on Goubert Avenue in Pondicherry (former cours Chabrol), which is covered with stages and chairs. The Union Territory's Minister-in-Chef assists to the flag raising ceremony and reviews the troops. Soldiers browse Goubert Avenue in front of a numerous crowd that comes to see the parade. Inhabitants enjoy this day to meet parents and friends, to lunch together and to invade the streets, on the example of the Independence Day. No doubt that children enjoy this day as well and light dozens of firecrackers!

 

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