Unveiling the Historical Significance of Kizhur: Advocating Development and Acknowledgment

Unveiling the Historical Significance of Kizhur: Advocating Development and Acknowledgment

On 18th October 1954, after the historic referendum held in Kizhur, the French decided to hand over the administration of four territories - Puducherry, Karikal, Yanam, and Mahe - to India.


Kizhur is a remote village in the Mangalam constituency, which hosted a peaceful referendum that eventually led to the liberation of Puducherry from French control and its merger with India. However, its significance in the affairs of the Union Territory has not been recognized appropriately yet.


Kizhur, a remote village in the Mangalam constituency, hosted a peaceful referendum, leading to the liberation of Puducherry from French control and its merger with India. However, its importance in the matters of the Union Territory has not been adequately acknowledged yet.


Although after India's independence in 1947, the French decided to free Puducherry from their control, it was only after the historic referendum in Kizhur on 18th October 1954 that the French decided to hand over the administration of four territories - Puducherry, Karikal, Yanam, and Mahe - to India. After the referendum, on 1st November, the regions of French India were officially transferred to India.


Due to the majority decision of the participating representatives' assembly and municipal councils in the referendum, on 16th August 1962, the control of the four territories was officially transferred to the Indian government, when the French government confirmed the session agreement through its parliament.


Keeping in mind the significance of 16th August after independence, the Puducherry government decided to celebrate this day as Transfer Day annually.


In Kizhur, there now stands a small shed as a symbol where representatives cast their votes for the merger with the Indian state. Inside the shed is a closed room with some important photographs of key dignitaries, including India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who were involved in events preceding Puducherry's liberation. Adjacent to the shed, there is a flagpole erected for hoisting the flag on 16th August, and a plaque with the names of those who participated in the referendum.


"On November 1 and August 16 of each year, this place comes to life. Otherwise, it's forgotten, to the extent that even the museum remains closed to the public most days, opening only for two days in a year. One after another incoming governments have promised to develop Kizhur into a UT mile-stone, but apart from constructing an asbestos shed, nothing has been done here. Still, nothing has been done to promote this place, so that the youth of the UT can understand its importance," said S Ravichandran, a resident of Kizhur.


M Ramdas, who went from being an economist to a politician, remarked that the government's attention to Kizhur isn't in line with its historical significance."In fact, the Chief Minister hasn't even hoisted the flag at this significant event. Since the Chief Minister isn't visiting the place, the maintenance of the memorial is not being properly done, and the entire area is being neglected. People may hardly recognize it as a memorial site," he said.


The government should honestly realize that Kizhur is as important as Puducherry and therefore, it needs to be developed as a prominent place. The UT can construct a monument similar to Kamaraj Manimandapam, considering the importance of Kizhur in the history of UT.


Ramalingam, Director (I/c), University Science Instrumentation Centre, Pondicherry University, agreed with the views of M Ramdas and suggested that the regional administration and the central government should jointly work towards declaring Kizhur as a UNESCO heritage site.


By modernizing the structure, the Kizhur memorial can be made visible to people worldwide. Sound and light programs can be arranged during weekends to attract tourists. "This location might be perfect for rural tourism. The tourism department can develop this place properly and arrange bus services from the city to bring tourists here," said Ramalingam.

In the process of the development of the place, Ramdas suggested that the benefits of all the central and state government schemes should be utilized to develop Shivaramthgam Panchayat as a model village. The village can create and implement the Kundrakudi experiment, a local development plan that is self-sustaining. This will draw people's attention towards Kizhur. The desire for development of the people is achieved through freedom. If so, then Kizhur village, which was the center of freedom for Puducherry, should exhibit developmental features," he said.

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