Freedom Movement in French India: The Mahe Revolt of 1948, Irish, Tellicherry, 2001, Rs.300

Freedom Movement in French IndiaThe study of the freedom movement in the Indian sub-continent has always for focus, British India. Scholars had hardly paid any attention to the study of the growth of the freedom movement in French India, which comprised five territories, Pondicherry, Mahe, Karaikal, Yanam and Chandernagore. The present study aims at filling up this gap, by focusing the attention on the development of nationalism and freedom movement in Mahe or French Malabar, lying on the western coast of India, taking into consideration its special historical background and evolution.

     Special attention has been given to the details regarding the various events leading to the emergence of nationalism and freedom struggle in Mahe and the actors involved in them. The Mahe Revolt of 1948 against the French regime under Governor Baron, which put an end to French rule briefly, has been highlighted as the greatest manifestation of nationalism in Mahe.Mahe stalwarts like I.K. Kumaran, whom the author was able to interview played significant roles in this revolt, which was a spontaneous uprising of the people of Mahe against French colonialism which not only wanted to keep them under subjection, but also intended to undermine their ancient historical identity by retaining them as a part of faraway France.

     The approaches of Cambridge scholars like Anil Seal, Gordon Johnson, .J. Baker and David Washbrookas well as some other historians with regard to the development of nationalism in India stands disproved to a great extent by this study. The role of nationalist leaders of Mahe like I.K. Kumaran and P.K. Usman stands testimony to the fact that ideals and principles rather than power and profit can be great motivating factors in the struggle for freedom and the manifestation of nationalism.

     It is noteworthy that this work on the freedom movement in Mahe is the only one of its kind and is a major reference work for students and scholars alike with regard to colonialism as well as the ensuing struggle for freedom.