Published: 16th August 2021
#ThrowbackToday: Why does Puducherry celebrate Independence Day twice
In today's #TBT, we talk about why Puducherry celebrates De Jure Transfer Day right after August 15. August 16 is special indeed for this union territory and here's what happened 59 years back
August 15 is Independence Day for India, but for the union territory Puducherry, August 15 celebrations extend to August 16 too.
August 16, 1962 — 15 long years after Indian gained its independence — it was on this day that Puducherry, the French colony was liberated and merged with the Union of India. And this year, this French Riviera celebrates 59 years and calls this day De Jure Transfer Day. It is observed as a holiday.
Going by a referendum, to determine if the city wanted to remain with the French or join the Indian Union, conducted on October 18, 1954, Puducherry was independent. Out of the 178 representatives who did participate in the referendum, conducted at Keezhoor near Villianur, 170 stated that they would like to join India. But the treaty of cession that was signed between the French and the Indian government was ratified by the French Parliament only on August 16, 1962.
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It was in 1726 that the French occupied Puducherry. Actually, the Tamil name for it was Putucceri, putu meaning new and ceri meaning village. It was the French who corrupted the name to Pondicherry which was later renamed to Puducherry. It changed hands between French and British but it predominantly remained a French territory.