Statue of Dupleix, Puducherry, S. India - a legacy of French rule in India

Pondicherry, India Dupleix' statue

Above image:  Measuring 2.88 meters in height, the Statue of Dupleix lies strategically in Goubert Avenue (Beach Road).  This statue of Dupleix  commissioned in the year 1870, is a French legacy in this part of India and stands as a symbol of the imperial French colonial rule in Pondicherry.

Statue of Joseph Francois Dupleix, Puducherry Beach, India.

Above image: Bronze statue of French Gov. Gen. Dupleix, Pondicherry (Puducherry) on the sea shore (sept. 2019).........

Joseph François Dupleix (23 January 1697 – 10 November1763), a man of commanding stature  was  the colonial administrator and governor-general of the French territories in India and rival of Robert Clive.  Since the 1720s the colonial rivalry between Britain and France  had been growing in intensity an time went by and there was no force to stop them  India was no exception to it. .Under his command the French East India company gave a stiff competition to the EIC operations in Madras and also in Bengal. Widely traveled, he made several voyages to the Americas and India and in 1720 was named a member of the superior council at Bengal and he got the job through his father.  His wife was one  Jeanne Albert, widow of one of the councilors of the company. and was quite well known among the natives as Joanna Begum.  Using his business acumen on his own,  he made many business ventures on the sides  and acquired a big fortune. He was the one who turned the succession disputes among the  Indian rulers to his advantage and pushed the French influence to the fore.  After 11 years he was appointed as the Gov. Genera.  On 7 September 1746, with the help of a French fleet, Dupleix  seized Madras (now Chennai) . The fortifications of Madras were not strong enough to withstand the continuous  French bombardment. 

Gov.Gen. of French India, Joseph Francois Dupleix,

Battle of  Madras, India.  1746 French Vs English

renovation of Gov. Gen. Dupleix statue, Pondicherry,

 On 9 September the Governor of Madras, Nicholas Morse opted for peace and the French had 
to take over the fort and warehouses and not the town. However,  Dupleix  who took over the command did not agree with  the peace term and locked up  the British soldiers in the garrison. One of the prisoners happened to be Robert Clive. he and a few dressed up like natives and  managed to escape from the prison . The headed   Ft. David, more than 100 miles away down south;  a three-day journey, made mostly by night, they reached Fort St David carrying news of the disastrous French attack on Madras. EIC"s young Clerk Clive's escape to safety was a big news to Britain . The French  failed to capture the neighboring British fort of St. David. Dupleix  refused to hand over Madras to the Nawab of Arcot, but subsequently he wholeheartedly supported Chand Sahib in the succession dispute with  Muhd.  Wallajah who was backed by the British.  After the defeat of Arcot siege in 1751 the French   influence declined and in  1754 Dupleix was recalled to Paris. As for Robert Clive he emerged as a hero. His exploits in Bengal made history  

location. Pondicherry (UT),

Above image:   It was in 1674 the French East India Company set up a trading centre at Pondicherry which ultimately  became the chief French settlement in India. The French governor François Martin was instrumental in making remarkable improvements to the city and its commercial ties, despite competition from the Dutch and the English,   The enclaves were Pondichéry, Karikal, Yanaon (Andhra Pradesh) on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast and Chandernagor in Bengal.  ,,,,,,,,,,,,. 

He was unsuccessful in recovering the money  that he had spent  from his account in India  from  the French East India Company.   Discredited in France  he was pushed to a precarious position and died in despair and  obscurity. Dupleix was a good administrator and a diplomat, but with respect to military operations,  he lacked  leadership military strategies and  the ability to work with others.      

The beautiful iconic statue of Joseph Francois Dupleix, who was the last Governor of French Pondicherry, is being given a facelift after 145 years. The restoration work has been taken up by the Public Works Department (PWD). Continuous exposure to  saline air had an impact on the bronze statue,  loss of shine and dull look grabbed the attention of the passers-by. The iron poles were corroded and the pedestal became weak. The highly oxidized statue  needs proper restoration when treating it with chemicals to remove the flakes.  A coat of paint would mar its originality.  The  continuous exposure to saline air,  considering its proximity to the sea is a big problem and needs further attention. A children's park was planned on the promenade and  there was a proposal to install 24 powerful lamps in the park  for better visibility.

Dupleix on Banque de l'Indochine banknote,

Planned  in memory of Dupleix who was the Governor from 1742 to 1754. the statue was shipped from France to Puducherry in 1869 to be erected at Gandhi Thidal, where the statue of Jawaharlal Nehru stands now. It was later shifted to its present location near the Park Guest House.