kizhur

Nestled in the remote corners of the electoral district, Kizhur witnessed a peaceful referendum, leading to the eventual liberation of Puducherry from French rule and its merger with India. However, this historical significance has yet to be recognized in the matters of the union territory.

While the decision to free Puducherry from French control was made after India’s independence in 1947, it was the historic referendum in Kizhur on October 18, 1954, that led to the allocation of governance over four territories—Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, and Mahe—to the French. Following the people’s mandate, on November 1st, the regions were officially transferred to India in reality.

In commemoration of this significant event, the Puducherry government designated this day as “Transfer Day” and the place where representatives cast their votes for integration with the Indian state has a small shed serving as a testimony. Inside the shed, there’s a closed room displaying important pictures of key personalities, including India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who played pivotal roles before Puducherry’s liberation. Nearby, a flagpole stands with a plaque bearing the names of those who participated in the referendum.

kizhur

“This place comes alive only twice a year—on November 1st and August 16th. Otherwise, it’s largely forgotten, to the extent that the museum remains closed most of the days because it’s open to the public for only two days in a year. Promised by successive governments, the area is yet to see any development except for the establishment of the asbestos shed. Despite that, no effort has been made to enhance this place for the UT’s youth to understand its significance,” said S. Ravichandran, a resident of Kizhur.

Former economist turned politician M. Ramdas commented that the government’s attention to Kizhur does not align with its historical importance. Even the Chief Minister failed to hoist the flag at this momentous event, so much so.
Since the Chief Minister is not visiting the place, proper upkeep is not done, and the whole area seems desolate. Perhaps people don’t recognize it as a memorial place of relevance,” he stated.

The government should honestly recognize the importance of Kizhur, as it is as significant as Puducherry and should be developed as a prime site. Considering its historical importance in the UT’s history, a structure akin to the Kamaraj Manimandapam should be built here,” Ramdas said.

R. Ramalingam, Director (In-charge) of the Centre for Human Resource Development at Pondicherry University, agreed with Ramdas and stressed that both regional and central governments should jointly work to declare this place as a UNESCO heritage site. By revamping the structure, Kizhur’s memorial should be made visible to people worldwide.

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He suggested that sound and light programs could be arranged during weekends to attract tourists. “This could be an ideal destination for rural tourism. The tourism department can develop the place appropriately and arrange city buses to ferry tourists there,” Ramalingam said.

Moving forward with the development of the place, Ramdas said that by funneling the benefits of all central and state government schemes to Shivaramthgam panchayat, it could be developed as a model village. Programs like Kundrakudi Experiment (a village scheme for self-sustainable development) could be implemented here.

This could attract people’s attention towards Kizhur, driven by the aspiration for the development of liberated people. If so, Kizhur village, once the epicenter of Puducherry’s freedom, should showcase progressive characteristics, he noted

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