Joseph François Dupleix
|Joseph François Dupleix|
|Governor-General of French India|
14 January 1742 – 15 October 1754
|Preceded by||Pierre Benoît Dumas|
|Succeeded by||Charles Godeheu
As Acting Governor-General
|Born||1 January 1697
|Died||10 November 1763 (aged 66)
Dupleix was born in Landrecies, France. His father, François Dupleix, a wealthy fermier général, wished to bring him up as a merchant, and, in order to distract him from his taste for science, sent him on a voyage to India in 1715 on one of the French East India Company's vessels. He made several voyages to the Americas and India, and in 1720 was named a member of the superior council at Pondichéry. He displayed great business aptitude, and, in addition to his official duties, made large ventures on his own account, and acquired a fortune. In 1730 he was made superintendent of French affairs in Chandernagore, the town prospered under his administration and grew into great importance. In 1741, he married Jeanne Albert, widow of one of the councillors of the company; Albert was known to the Hindus as Joanna Begum and proved of great help to her husband in his negotiations with the native princes.
His reputation procured him in 1742 the appointment of governor general of all French establishments in India. He succeeded Dumas as the French governor of Pondichéry. His ambition now was to acquire for France vast territories in India, and for this purpose he entered into relations with the native princes, and adopted a style of oriental splendour in his dress and surroundings. He built an army of native troops, called sepoys, who were trained as infantrymen men in his service also included the famous Hyder Ali of Mysore. The British took the alarm. But the danger to their settlements and power was partly averted by the bitter mutual jealousy which existed between Dupleix and Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, French governor of the Isle of Bourbon (today's La Réunion).
When the city of Madras capitulated to the French following the Battle of Madras in 1746, Dupleix opposed the restoration of the town to the British, thus violating the treaty signed by La Bourdonnais. He then sent an expedition against Fort St David (1747), which was defeated on its march by the Nawab of Arcot, ally of the British. Dupleix succeeded in winning over the Nawab, and again attempted the capture of Fort St David, but did not succeed. A midnight attack on Cuddalore was repulsed at a great loss to Dupleix.
In 1748 Pondicherry was besieged by the British, but in the course of the operations news arrived of the peace concluded between the French and the British at Aix-la-Chapelle. Dupleix next entered into negotiations whose object was the subjugation of southern India. He sent a large body of troops to the aid of the two claimants of the sovereignty of the Carnatic and the Deccan. The British sided with their rivals to check the designs of Dupleix.
In 1750 the Subadar of Deccan gifted the Alamparai Fort to the French. This was a token of his appreciation of the services of Dupleix and the French forces to his services. The fort was later captured by the British and destroyed.
The conflicts between the French and the British in India continued till 1754, when the French government, anxious to settle peace, sent a special commissioner to India with orders to supersede Dupleix and, if necessary, to arrest him. Dupleix was compelled to embark for France on 12 October 1754.
Jeanne Albert died in 1756.
Having invested his private fortune in the implementation of his public policies, Dupleix found himself ruined. The government refused to support him, and he died in obscurity and want on 10 November 1763.
Destruction of Vedapuriswaran Temple
From the Private Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, it can be confirmed that Madame Dupleix indulged in religious persecution against local Hindus. Few extracts from his dairy confirm this.
- Thursday 17th, March 1746,
- On Wednesday night at.11,two unknown persons entered the Iswaran temple carrying in a vessel liquid filth, which they poured on the heads of the gods around the altar,and into the temple, through the drain of the shrine of Iswaran; and having broken the pot of dirt on the image of the god Nandi,they went away through a part of the building which had been demolished...."
- Saturday 31st,December 1746,
- It was reported tonight at 7 that an earthen jar filled with filth was thrown from within the grounds of the church of St.Paul into the temple of Vedapuriswaran. It very nearly fell on the head of Shankar Aiyan, who was at the shrine of the God Pillaiyar on his way round the temple in the performance of his religious duties. When the jar struck the ground and broke to pieces the stench emitted was unbearable … the temple was now doomed to destruction....
- Sunday 8th, September 1750,
- Yesterday 200 soldiers, 60 or 70 troopers and sepoys were stationed at St Paul’s Church in view of the matter on hand. This morning, M Gerbault (the engineer), the priests with diggers, masons, coolies and other 200 in all, with spades, pickaxes and whatever needed to demolish walls began to pull down the southern wall of the Vedpuri Ishwaran Temple and the outhouses. At once the temple manager, Braahmans and mendicants came and told me … Just then … news was brought that Father COEURDOUX , the superior of St. Paul’S church had kicked the inner shrine with his foot and had ordered the Coffrees to remove the doors and the Christians to break the Vaahanams …(Pillai now went to Governor Dupliex in an attempt to save the temple as did the other caste leaders who sought to save the temple’s movable articles but it was all to no avail)
- ...then Father COEURDOUX of Karikal came with a great hammer, kicked the Lingam, broke it with his hammer, and ordered the Coffrees and the Europeans to break the images of Vishnu and other gods. Madame Dupliex went and told the priest that he might break the idols as he pleased. He answered that she had accomplished what had been impossible for fifty years, that she must be one of those Mahatma (great soul) who established this Christian religion in old days and he would publish her fame through the world … Then the native convert Varlam also kicked the great Lingam nine or ten times with his sandals in the presence of Madame and the priest and spat on it out of gladness and hoping that the priest and Madame will also regard him as Mahatma. Then he followed Madame. I can neither write nor describe what abominations were done in the temple...”
- ...Before M.Dupleix was made Governor, and when he was only a councillor, all the Europeans and few Tamils used to say that if he becomes governor, he would destroy the Eswaran Temple. The saying has come to pass. Ever since his appointment he is seeking to do so, but he had no opportunity. He tried to get Muttayya Pillai to do it in May May or June 1743. But the later would not consent, though the Governor threatened to cut his ears off and beat him publicly and even to hang him...
Ananda Ranga Pillai quotes about her in his Private Dairy,
|“||I have heard and read in books also, extraordinary accounts of the cunningness of the women. But Madame Dupleix surpasses them all a thousand times. The Europeans, both men and women, Hindus and Muhammadans alike, all curse her as a pupil of devil who will ruin the town||”|
A number of things were named in his honour:
- A square, road and metro station in the 15th arrondissement of Paris are named after him.
- Four French warships have borne his name (beside two commercial ships):
- A road in New Delhi near the Indian parliament named after him.
- French colonial empires
- Carnatic Wars
- France in the Seven Years War
- Great Britain in the Seven Years War
- Ananda Ranga Pillai
- genealogy on geneanet samlap's site
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Owen, Sidney J. (1886). "Joseph François Dupleix". English Historical Review (Oxford Journals) 1 (4): 699–733. doi:10.1093/ehr/I.IV.699.
- Duplieix by Colonel John Biddulph, 1910
Media related to Joseph François Dupleix at Wikimedia Commons
Pierre Benoît Dumas
|Governor-General of French India
14 January 1742 - 15 October 1754
Charles Godeheu Le commissaire