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Causes of the merger of the territories of French India with India

Many interrelated political, cultural, socio-economic and geographical factors contributed to the merger of the French Establishments in India with the Republic of India.

French establishments in India

End of French control in former possessions


  • Location: Southern region of Madras Presidency.
  • Language: Tamil.
  • Culture: There the culture and way of life of people was typical Tamil lifestyle.
  • External factors: Then was the time, when the Tamil people in Madras Presidency were very powerful at Centre and State governments in Indian Union. They used to have large impact on local pondicherians.
  • Views: There was a mixed proportion of nationalist and francophile sentiments prevailing in Pondichéry.
  • Sphere of Influence: Pondichéry and its neighbouring communes were completely under the sphere of influence of Pondichéry.


  • Location: 132 km to the south of Pondichéry in Madras Presidency.
  • Language: Tamil.
  • Culture: There the culture and way of life of people was typical Tamil lifestyle. It was the only colony in French India which does not have much of cultural and linguistic differences w.r.t Pondichéry.
  • External factors: The changes political movements in Pondichéry and Madras State used to have very impact on Karikal.
  • Views: From a long time, Karikal used to have anti-French sentiments prevailed in them.
  • Sphere of Influence: It was completely under sphere of influence of Pondichéry.




Geographical and cultural divergence

Geographical and cultural divergence in the French India made the French weak in keeping their hold on these colonies.

Decolonization phenomenon

Decolonization was a global phenomenon which was predominant in the colonial world between 1940 and the 1960s. Many colonies sought independence from the colonial empires. Nationalism and Socialism played an important role in achieving this in many colonies globally.

Pre-Independence factors

  • Insignificance in population and area: This was one of very dominant causes for liberation of French colonies in India.
    • Insignificance in territorial size: The insignificance in area compared with the Indian Union. The total area of the settlements was well under 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2), that of the Union (excluding Kashmir) well over 1,000,000 square miles (2,600,000 km2).
    • Insignificant in population size: The insignificance in population compared with Indian Union. The total population of the settlements was less than 500,000 inhabitants on the eve of merger.
  • Lack of clearcut frontiers with India: Very few of the settlements had clear-cut frontiers with India. There were many enclaves entirely surrounded by Indian territory, especially in Pondicherry district.
  • Economic Factors: The very economic existence of the settlements depended on Indian goodwill.
  • Lack of military resistance: If India wished to annex the settlements forcibly there was very little that France could do to stop her.

The above four factors are most important factors that existed in 1947 which ultimately led to merger of French colonies in India.

Post-Independence factors

After independence, the factors that lead to merger are,

  • Indian Nationalism: With the Independence of India in 1947, there was rise of Indian nationalism in the people of the colonies in India. This was clearly seen by the rise of nationalist local parties in those regions. Their increasing dominance in the politics of French India created an anti-French feeling in people.
  • Shift of Socialists: This was the most important Post-independent cause, probably the sole cause that led ultimately to the liberation of French colonies in India. The members of the French India Socialist Party shifted their stance towards pro-Merger nationalist groups. This gave a catastrophic and devastating effect to the French rule in India. The switch of Édouard Goubert towards pro-Merger camp became the death knell to the French sovereignty in its colonies.

Immediate causes for independence

Governor's interference

A momentous event in the independence movement of Pondichéry occurred on 18 March 1954, when most of the members of the executive council and mayor of Pondichéry and seven adjoining communes proclaimed their decision to merge with Indian Union without a referendum. All the communes in Karikal also followed suit. This decision was to be confirmed by the Representative Assembly and when the French India Socialist Party was preparing to move the merger resolution, the French Governor scuttled it by postponing the session. Provoked by this, the Socialists planned to capture the outlying communes one by one and move to Pondichéry. Accordingly, the leaders of the French India Socialist Party hoisted the Indian National Flag atop the Nettapakkam police station on the last day of March in 1954.

Result of Governor General's interference,

  • Capture of Nettapacom commune.
  • Capture of Mannadipet and Bahour communes.
  • Formation of Provisional government at Nettapacom.
  • Formation of Liberated Government of Mannadipet at Tribuvane[1].

Kandamangalam Conference

The conclusion of Consul General, Sri Kewal Singh on the night of 11 April 1954 at the conference at Kandamangalam, that For real liberation of colonies one should attack any of the big four French settlements, Since the French authorities are making fun of petty provisional government at Nettapacom.[citation needed] Since Yanam is small in area and population, he requested Monsieur Dadala for a plan for its liberation which resulted not only the Coup d'État de Yanaon but also the ultimate liberation of French colonies in India.

Result of conclusion at Kandamangalam conference,

Date of events

Inde française
Colony Liberation de facto transfer Treaty of Cession de jure transfer Merger
Pondichéry - 1 November 1954 28 May 1956 16 August 1962 1 July 1963
Chandernagore - 26 June 1949 28 February 1951 9 June 1952 1 October 1954
Karikal - 1 November 1954 28 May 1956 16 August 1962 1 July 1963
Mahé 16 June 1954 1 November 1954 28 May 1956 16 August 1962 1 July 1963
Yanaon 13 June 1954 1 November 1954 28 May 1956 16 August 1962 1 July 1963

Active Members involved in the Independence movement

  • S. Narayanasamy Gounder [ Former Executive Minister & Founder of the First Liberation Government of Mannadipet (First French Liberated Pondicherry Enclave)][2]
  • H.M.Cassime (Former Mayor of Pondicherry)
  • V Subbaih
  • Muthukomarappa Reddiar
  • Édouard Goubert
  • Kamichetty Venugopala Rao Naidou, Membre du assemblée représentative de Yanaon
  • Madimchetty Satianandam, Maire de Yanaon
  • Sellane Naicker,
  • V. Venkatasubha Reddiar, Conseil municipal de Nettapacom
  • C.M.Achraff (Former Member & Minister of The Legislative Assembly of Pondicherry)
  • I. K. Kumaran
  • C. E. Bharathan
  • Mangalat Raghavan
  • Dadala Raphael Ramanayya
  • Yerra Jagannatha Rao
  • Yerra Satyanarayana (George Babu)

See also


  1. ^ Annexed Protocol Article I, Treaty Establishing De Jure Cession of French Establishments in India
  2. ^ Published in the issue of "THE HINDU" dated April 12, 1954, Page 5, Column 5.
  • "My Struggle for freedom of French Provinces in India" autobiography written by Sri Dadala Raphael Ramanayya

External links