Issue an order to establish Indo-French Museum in the Old Court Building in Pondicherry
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NEED FOR INDO FRENCH MUSEUM IN THE OLD COURT BUILDING, PONDICHERRY
As you are kindly aware, before India got independence, the Dutch, the French, the English & others ruled Pondicherry & the French ruled it for many years! One can say that during the French Regime, many good things & bad things happened in Pondicherry!
The French-Indian People have all along from the start been struggling for freedom from foreign rule!
The French looked down on the Indians from the beginning! On this basis, the Pondicherry Region was divided into Ville Blanche (White City) & Ville Noire (Black city) on 6th July 1827!
The French-Indians were not allowed to walk in the beach in the dawn and the dusk!
The French Indian advocates were not allowed to wear their shoes in the French Court of Justice chaired by the French.
When it was mandatory for the French Indian Lawyers to enter the French Court of Law only after removing their shoes outside the gate, on 16th January 1873, a French Indian Attorney by name “Avocat Ponnuthambi Pillai” entered the Court with shoes! The Judge saw this, got angry & ordered him to remove & keep them outside the gate!
Ponnuthambi Pillai refused to do so! The judge ordered him to be punished! Ponnuthambi Pillai appealed against this order in the Appellate Court in Paris called “Cour de Cassation” & won the case!
Even though there were many such contradictions, the people living in Pondicherry also got many equal rights & freedom due to their own special capacities!
An unquenchable love & relation still persist in the people living in Pondicherry on France and vice versa.
Several Judges of France have worked here in this building! Many legal experts, who were born in Pondicherry & grew up here, & who gained legal knowledge in France have worked in this building!
Many cases which sowed the seeds for the liberation of Pondicherry from France have been heard here!
In this same place, many heroes of the French Pondicherry Liberation Struggle have been convicted & sentenced to jail!
Even the Indo-French Treaties made by France with India after the Liberation of Pondicherry were enacted in this same building which stands up with pride even today!
Among those who came here to sign these treaties was the first Honourable Prime Minister of India,Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru!
Every inch of this building has witnessed many agitations of lifestyle & psychology of the people of Pondicherry!
During the Period of Colonisation, from the common man to the rich people of Pondicherry have got justice only in this building!
The Pondicherry region made an agreement with India On 21.10.1954 for annexing it with India! Pondicherry began to breathe the air of Freedom!
Nehru said, “While Pondicherry may be a very small part of India, it has now become a symbol of friendly solution by negotiated settlement between Nations”!
He also said, “Pondicherry is the window of French Culture!”
Our project functions with this idea as its base! Pondicherry Region had four zones namely Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe Yanam & Chandranagore! In the beginning itself, Chandranagore was annexed with India because the people wanted it so! On 19 June 1949 a public referendum was conducted & 99% of the people, nearly 7473 persons, vote for annexation!
Now, Chandranagore Region is still adoring & preserving its ancient French relations in its territory & has established an Indo – French Museum and institute in the Governor Bungalow of Dupleix constructed during the French Rule by the French & the Museum is functioning efficiently!
When we compare this with Pondicherry, the connections and relations between Pondicherry & France are greater by many folds!
The people of Pondicherry have lost a great many things for France & for the other colonies of France! Even till today, the Pondicherry people living in France & its colonies are living there only compromising their customs, relations and losing their identity! I am working for a few years only for creating a museum as a great symbol of Heritage of these people!
The reason of my selecting the old court building that had been kept closed from 2008 is that this building was an important site during the French Rule!
The Court that had been functioning in the French Period under the various French names of Le Tribunal Supérior D’appel, Tribunal de Lere Instance, Tribunal de Grands Instance Comd’appel, Juge de Paix, Cour de Cassation changed under section 309 of the Indian Constitution into First District Courts, Sub-Courts & Munsif Courts.
The posts called Conseil du Contentieux Administratif & Procurer de la Republique were abolished! Everything came under the Indian Judiciary System!
In 2008 the court got relocated from the old court building to a greater complex called Integrated Court Complex at a different address!
After that, I embarked on a great effort with the collaboration of two great Countries to establish a museum of historical importance in this building of heritage that was almost dilapidated!
Due to my efforts, His Excellency the French President came forward to study about this Project! Subsequently the Art & Culture Ministry, the Govt. of India issued a letter of request for this Project in our custody! The International & Domestic Media also have encouraged this Project!
This building is a very majestic & respectable one! Here lodging & boarding & such other things will degrade its high excellence!
In these circumstances, two buildings of judiciary department near the old court building have been demolished against my request to conserve them. I had submitted a request to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court regarding this on 18th August, 2016.
The first building of these two was opened on 10th June 1969 by Tamil Nadu Law Minister Hon’ble Madhavan in the presence of the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Hon’ble Veerasamy!
The second was opened by the Lt. Governor of Pondicherry His Excellency Chhedi Lal in the presence of the Madras High Court Chief Justice Hon’ble Veerasamy on 24th January 1976!
Both the buildings have been demolished completely!
The old Court Building is not just a building! It is a historical symbol reflecting the history of the people of Pondicherry!
We are continuously engaged in the efforts to design & draft a heritage building of historical importance for a good project called Indo –French Museum Project that is getting established under the joint treaty of two countries! And we confront innumerable obstacles in this endeavour!
Anyhow, we are working on the creation of this Indo-French Museum valued as our life that is going to document the French Period preserving the art, history & life of the people of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe & Yanam Regions!
The allotted time for renovation for the old court building is over! However, we humbly request you on behalf of the people of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe & Yanam living in the two countries to come forward & hand over on behalf of the Judicial Dept.
For this great Project of changing this Heritage building into an Indo-French Museum, the guidance and approval of the Judicial Dept. is very essential.
The MLAs of Pondicherry also stand side by side with us keeping in mind the lives, history & future of the people of Pondicherry!
The MLAs of Pondicherry have welcomed our plan & have realized the importance of the Indo-French Museum Project as one of the great honours to be attained by Pondicherry & keep encouraging us!
First they ignore you!
Then they laugh at you!
Then they fight you!
Then you win!
- Mahatma Gandhi
“They cannot make history who forgets history”.
We as thousands of citizens of Pondicherry eagerly await the day; the Indo French Museum becomes reality.
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