Friday, September 24, 2010

More about Wiles, from Animesh Rai

Following our publishing of the entry in Tamil of the Pondicherrian diary, and the mention of William Miles work, below is a passage from Animesh Rai's classic study. The question of identify within multiple cultures is a riveting subject. In our contemporary world which has been crisscrossed by mass emigration on all its continents, many human beings, possibly the majority, identify with more than one culture. African Americans in the US, Arabs in France, Caucasians in South Africa, Turks in Germany, the list is endless. We welcome comments and contributions from all, and in particular from ... Pondicherrians!

"William Miles, in his book, Imperial Burdens, has spoken about the notions of “legitimacy and psychology” with reference to the Franco-Pondicherrians in Pondicherry.[1] He argues that they lack political legitimacy and that they are economically and psychologically dependent on France due to the severance of their links with India. Even though they are financially well off due to their pensions which they receive in European currency, the French state in reality is very reluctant to continue paying them these pensions. He also points out that they lack a proper homeland. While they are juridically a part of France, they do not belong culturally there and it is the reverse situation for them inIndia. My own assessment of the situation on the ground led me to conclude that present day Pondicherry lacks a certain sense of legitimacy. Ironically, for me, this lack of legitimacy came from the departure of the Franco-Pondicherrians and I can only repeat the phrase, “Les Pondichériens sont tous partis” (which translates as“Pondicherrians have all left”) which I heard from some people during my field trips there. There is certainly a sense of legitimacy which comes from being legally part of India. In that sense, the present day Pondicherrians are legitimate. But so rampant is the perception that Pondicherry is now constituted of migrants from other parts of Tamil Nadu as well as from other parts of India that I viewed these people as being, in a sense, the false proprietors of Pondicherry. "

[1] William Miles, Imperial Burdens, p. 172.

From: "The Legacy of French Rule in India (1674-1954): an Investigation of a Process of Creolization."
Animesh Rai, IFP - Publications Hors série n° 8, French Institute of Pondicherry / Henri Peyre French Institute of CUNY, 2008, viii, 251 p. Language: English. Rs 500 (18 €) ISBN: 978-81-8470-167-8.

For orders/enquiries, contact: 
French Institute of Pondicherry
11, St. Louis Street, P.B. 33, Pondicherry-605 001, INDIA
Phone: (91)-413-2334168. Fax:(91)-413-2339534

Published by  - -  Arabella Hutter

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pillai in Tamil!/Pillai en tamil!

I had hoped to publish here an extract of Anandarangaillai's diary in its original language, Tamil. Thanks to the generosity of M.Gobalakichenane, a researcher residing in France and a native from Pondicherry, it's done. I am thrilled that he also contributed a scan of the manuscript which is located at the National Library François Mitterrand (shouldn't it be in India?). Very touching to see the manuscript in the beautiful Tamil script. For more precision about the manuscript, check blog entry for October 7, 2010.

J'espérais publier ici un extrait de l'extraordinaire journal d'Anadarangappillai dans sa langue originale. Grâce à la générosité de M. Gobalakichenane, un chercheur résident en France originaire justement de Pondichéry, c'est chose faite! Je suis absolument ravie qu'il ait aussi contribué un scan du manuscrit lequel est préservé à la Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterrand (serait-il mieux à sa place en Inde?). Touchant d'avoir sous les yeux le manuscrit dans cette magnifique écriture tamoul. Pour plus de précisions sur le manuscrit, référez-vous à l'issue de ce blog du 7 octobre 2010.

You will find below:

- one page of the Tamil manuscript dated June 8th 1752;
- the corresponding one in Gobalakichenane's Tamil publication (in italics the paragraphs hitherto unpublished);
- and the cover illustration of that publication 'Anandarangappillai V-Natkurippu Angirasa andu (1752-1753)', 2005, which shows the portrait of the famous diarist.

-une page du manuscrit en tamil datant du 8 juin 1752;
- la page correspondante dans la publication en tamil de Gobalakichenane (les paragraphes non encore publiés sont en italique);
- et l'illustration de la couverture de la publication 'Anandarangappillai V-Natkurippu Angirasa andu (1752-1753)', 2005, montrant le portrait du fameux courtier.
- la traduction en anglais

Translation in English of the page 59:

(Year) Angirasa (Month) Vaiyâssi 30 (Day) Guruvâram – June 8th 1752 (Thursday)

Today I didn't go neither to see the Governor because of intestinal problems.

I heard today that the last inimical relations between the Tanjoreans and our Governor have gone down a little.

News came that Chandâ Sâhib who was in Seringapatam had sent all men and was staying with ten 'kisumdar'. I heard also that only Gundo Pandit refused to go and stayed there.

It was said also that, among Mr.Law and Sheick Hussein men, those wounded and dead together with those European and sepoys joining the enemy could number about 2 or 3 thousand. Moreover, rice, curd, ghee, salt were hard to find and the little available  was acquired at very high rupees  price. It was said also that d'Auteuil and few sepoys were  in Vâlikondâpuram and Ranjankadai and that cavalry men and 'jamedars' went away because they had not been  paid.

(From H.Dodwell's edition, Vol.8, p. 105)
Thursday, June 8, - (the passages given above in italics are examples of those contained in the E.Ariel's tamil copy of Paris but not given in the English translation set of 12 volumes published in Madras)
There is news of Chandâ Sâhib's writing to the Governor, that M.Law has gone over to Muhammad'Alî Khân and the E,glish, and ruined everything. The Europeans, Muhammadans and Tamils are all saying that they have the same news from the officers who have quarrelled with M.Law.


Once more I recommend reading the diary to anyone interested in the effect of different cultures meeting (Edouard Glissant!), and in history in general. This vivid account is a window on the day to day life in the colony of Pondicherry in the 18th Century, as well as the relationship between the French and the indigenous population. Below is the link to the Columbia University's extracts in English.

Je recommande vivement la lecture de ce journal à tous ceux qui s'intéressent à l'interaction de diverses cultures (Edouard Glissant!) et à l'histoire en général. Ce texte est très vivant et donne une impression unique des rapports entre Français et autochtones à Pondichéry, ainsi que la vie quotidienne dans cette colonnie. Ci-dessous le lien de référence pour la version française, plus autres liens se référant au sujet de Pondichéry.

M. Gobalakichenane also recommends the following book on this subject/M. Gobalakichenane recommande aussi le livre suivant qui traite de ce sujet: William F.S.Miles 'Imperial Burdens: Counter Colonialism in Former French India'

More links related to this subject: