1 . History of Puducherry
The City of Puducherry on the southeast coast of India does not have a vishva history from antiquity. Puducherry has history recorded only after the advent of the colonial powers such as the Dutch, Portuguese, English and the French. Nearby places such as Arikamedu, Ariyankuppam, Kakayanthoppe, Villianur, and Bahur, which were annexed by the French East India Company over a period of time and became the Union Territory of Puducherry after Independence, have written histories that predate the colonial era.
Early period :
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, of the 1st century, mentions a marketplace named Poduke or Poduca (ch. 60). G.W.B. Huntingford identified this as possibly being Arikamedu (now part of Ariyankuppam), located about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the modern city of Pondicherry. Puducherry was apparently an important destination for Roman trade with India. Huntingford further notes that Roman pottery was found at Arikamedu in 1937. In addition, archeological excavations between 1944 and 1949 showed that it was “a trading station to which goods of Roman manufacture were imported during the first half of the 1st century AD”.
Little is known about the area’s early history. The “Bahur Plates”, issued in the 8th century, speak of a Sanskrit university that was here from an earlier period. Legend has it that the sage Agastya established his great ashram here and the place was known as Agastiswaram. An inscription found near the Vedhapuriswara Temple hints at the credibility of this legend.[original research?]
At the beginning of the 4th century AD, the Puducherry area was part of the Pallava Kingdom of Kanchipuram. During the following centuries different southern dynasties controlled Puducherry: in the 10th century AD. the Chola of Thanjavur took over, only to be replaced by the Pandya Kingdom in the 13th century. After a brief invasion by the Muslim rulers of the North, who established the Sultanate of Madurai, the Vijayanagar Empire took control of almost all the South of India, with their power lasting until 1638, when the Sultan of Bijapur began to rule over Gingee.
European period :
In 1674 the French East India Company set up a trading centre at Pondicherry. This outpost eventually became the chief French settlement in India.
Dutch and British trading companies also wanted trade with India. Wars raged among these European countries and spilled over into the Indian subcontinent. The Dutch captured Puducherry in 1693 but returned it to France by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1699.
The French acquired Mahe in the 1720s, Yanam in 1731, and Karaikal in 1738. During the Anglo-French wars (1742–1763), Puducherry changed hands frequently. On January 16, 1761, the British captured Puducherry from the French, but the Treaty of Paris (1763) at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War returned it.
The British took control of the area again in 1793 at the Siege of Pondicherry amid the Wars of the French Revolution, and returned to France in 1814. When the British gained control of the whole of India in the late 1850s, they allowed the French to retain their settlements in the country. Pondicherry, Mahe, Yanam, Karaikal and Chandernagar remained a part of French India until 1954.
The independence of India in 1947 gave impetus to the union of France’s Indian possessions with former British India. An agreement between France and India in 1948 stipulated that the inhabitants of France’s Indian possessions would choose their political future. The de jure union of French India with the Indian Union did not take place until 1962. On a de facto basis, the bureaucracy had been united with India’s on 1 November 1954. It was organized as a Union Territory in 1963. Puducherry is now a part of India.
Cession of Yanam :
Conditions became intolerable in Yanam after its mayor and other representatives of Yanam adopted the merger resolution. The mayor, deputy mayor, and over 200 people took refuge in the adjacent areas of the Indian Union. Police and hired vigilantes from Yanam assaulted refugees on Indian soil. The refugees marched into Yanam under the leadership of Dadala Raphael Ramanayya and took over the administration. After hoisting the Indian National Flag, they adopted a resolution declaring Yanam “liberated”.
Cession of Mahe :
Close on their heels in Yanam, in Mahe, the Mahajana sabha under its president, I.K. Kumaran began a picketing programme. Some days later, hundreds of volunteers marched into Mahe to stage a demonstration in front of the administrator’s residence. They were joined by citizens of the enclave. On July 16, 1954, Kumaran took over the administration from the French administrator marking the end of 224 years of French rule in Mahe.
Cession of Pondicherry and Karaikal :
From the time India gained its independence from British rule in 1947, it raised the issue of the French settlements on the continent with the Government of France. It took seven years for Puducherry to effectively unite with independent India. Political agitation to achieve this goal began earlier.