Kizhoor, a remote village in the Mangalam constituency held a peaceful referendum which ultimately led to the liberation of Puducherry from French control and its merger with India, has yet to be significance in Union Territories affairs.
Although the French decided to liberate Puducherry from their control after India gained independence in 1947, after the historic referendum held in Kizhoor on 18 October 1954, the French decided to hand over the rule of four territories—Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe—to India. Following the vote, on 1 November, the territories of French India were transferred to de facto India.
The majority decision of the House and City Council to attend the referendum resulted in the final transfer of power of the four territories to the government of India on 16 August 1962, after the government of India. The French government ratifies the Transfer Agreement by the National Assembly.
Considering the importance of August 16, after independence, the government of Puducherry decided to celebrate this day every year as De jure Transfer Day.
A small warehouse is now in evidence at the site in Kizhoor, where representatives voted for a merger with the State of India. Inside the warehouse, there is a sealed room containing a number of important photographs of famous dignitaries, including the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, participating in events before Puducherry was liberated. Next to the shack there is a pole erected to raise the flag on August 16 and a plaque with the names of those who took part in the referendum.
“This place only comes alive twice a year, on November 1st and August 16th. Otherwise, the place would be forgotten, and even the museum is off-limits to the public for most of it. days because it’s only open two days a year. Successive governments have promised to make Kizhoor a landmark in UT but apart from building an asbestos warehouse, nothing has happened at the place. Even so, nothing has been done to promote this place so that the younger generation of UT understands its importance,” said S. Ravichandran, a resident of Kizhoor.
Economist turned politician M. Ramadass said the government’s interest in Kizhoor was disproportionate to its long historical significance. “Even the flag was not raised by the Prime Minister on this great occasion. Since the Prime Minister did not visit the place, the memorial is not properly maintained and the entire vicinity seems deserted. People hardly realize it’s a place that has to do with monumentality,” he said.
The government should sincerely recognize that Kizhoor is as important as Puducherry and thus develop it into a prominent place. A monument similar to Kamaraj Manimandapam should be built, considering the importance of Kizhoor in UT’s history.
Agree with Mr. Ramadass, Director (in charge) of the UGC Center for Human Resource Development, Pondicherry Panch University, Ramalingam said the territorial authorities and the Union Government should work together to declare the site a UNESCO heritage site.
The Kizhoor memorial must be visible to people around the world by renovating the structure. He said, on weekends, it is possible to organize sound and light shows to attract tourists. “It could be an ideal place for craft village tourism. The tourism ministry can develop this place appropriately and can arrange buses from town to take tourists,” he said. Ramalingam said.
Continuing to promote the development of this place, Mr. Ramadass said Sivaranthagam panchayat should be developed into a model village by benefiting from all Central and State government programs. The Kundrakudi experiment (village self-help development plan) can be developed and implemented in the village. This will draw everyone’s attention to Kizhoor. Freedom is achieved with the aspiration to develop the people. If so, the village of Kizhoor, which was the nucleus of Puducherry’s independence, will exhibit development characteristics,” he said.