Knowledge Corner

Puducherry (PDY), formerly known as Pondicherry, is a Union Territory of India. It was formed out of four exclaves of former French India, namelyPuducherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe. It is named after the largest district Puducherry. Historically known as Pondicherry (Pāṇṭiccēri), the territory changed its official name to Puducherry(Putuccēri) on 20 September 2006.

Puducherry lies in the southern part of the Indian Peninsula. The areas of Puducherry and Karaikal are bound by the state of Tamil Nadu, while Yanam and Mayyazhi (Mahe) are enclosed by the states of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala respectively. Puducherry is the 29th most populous and the third most densely populated state/UT in India. It has a GDP of ₹0.21 lakh crore (US$3.1 billion) and ranks 27th in India.

History

The earliest recorded history of Puducherry can be traced to the 2nd century CE. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentions a marketplace named Poduke (ch 60). G. W. B. Huntingfordsuggested this might be a site about 2 miles from the modern Puducherry, which was possibly the location of Arikamedu (now part of Ariyankuppam). Huntingford noted that Roman pottery was found at Arikamedu in 1937. In addition, archaeological excavations between 1944 and 1949 showed that it was “a trading station to which goods of Roman manufacture were imported during the first half of the 1st century CE”.

In 1674, Pondicherry (Pondichéry) became a French colonial possession. Together with Chandannagar (already French since 1673), Mahe (Mahé) (since 1721), Yanam (Yanaon) (since 1731),Karaikal (Karikal) (since 1739) and Masulipatam (1760), it formed the French colony French India, under a single French governor in Pondicherry, although French rule over one or more of these enclaves was repeatedly interrupted by British occupations. Pondicherry was transferred to the young republic of (ex-British) India de facto on 1 November 1954, legally on 16 August 1962, when French India ceased to exist but became the present Indian constituent state of Puducherry, still combining four coastal enclaves.

Geography

The Union Territory of Puducherry consists of four small unconnected districts: Puducherry, Karaikal and Yanam on the Bay of Bengal and Mahé on the Arabian Sea. Puducherry and Karaikal have the largest areas and population, and are both enclaves of Tamil Nadu. Yanam and Mahé are enclaves of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala respectively. The territory has an area of 492 square kilometres (190 sq mi): Puducherry 293 km² and more than a 200 km² of Tamil Nadu area in and around surrounded by puducherry region, Karaikal and 160 km², Mahé 9 km² and Yanam 30 km². Its 2011 population was 1,244,464.

Demographics

Hinduism is the major religion with 87% of the population adhering to it. Other religions include Christianity (6.2%) and Islam (6%). French remained the official language according to the “Traité de Cession” (Treaty of Cession) 1956 and the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963. According to the treaty, “the French language shall remain the official language of the Establishments so long as the elected representatives of the people shall not decide otherwise”. Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam are the three official languages used region-wise.

Skill Test

1. Which European power set up their East India Company at Puducherry?
2. In which year Puducherry became a part of India?
3. After which philosopher was the International Study Centre and Township in Puducherry named?
4. Which important crop is cultivated extensively in Puducherry?
5. What are the two major languages spoken in Puducherry?
6. Who will be performing the duties of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry until the election of a new governor?
7. Who was the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry until he was sacked on July, 2014?
8. What was Puducherry better known as until 2006?
9. What is the total area of the territory of Puducherry?
10. What was the ancient name of Puducherry?