Jeanne Dupleix (1706–1756) (née Albert) was wife of Joseph François Dupleix, governor general of the French establishment in India in the 18th century.
Birth and Ancestry
She was born in 1706 at Pondicherry to Jacques-Théodore Albert and Élisabeth-Rose de Castro. Her father was surgeon of Company at Pondicherry. she was baptized on 2 June 1706, as Jeanne. She had five sisters and two brothers.
She was married to Mr. Vincens who was one of the superior councillors of the Company on 5 June 1719. He died at Chandannagar 26 September 1739 at the age of 60. On 17 April 1741, she at the age of 33 married Dupleix who was President of Superior Council of Pondicherry and General Commandent of French Possessions in India. Mme. Dupleix was known to the Hindus as Joanna Begum (Jân Begum).
Children from Mr. Vincens
She bore 11 children (5 boys and 6 girls) to Mr. Vincens.
- 1. Jaques-François born in 1720.
- 2. Pierre-Benoit born in 1721.
- 3. Marie Rose born in 1722. (she married Mr. Coyle de Barneval in 1738.)
- 4. Jean-Baptiste-Pierre born in 1724.
- 5. Jeanne born in 1726. (she died in the same year.)
- 6. Anne-Christine-Françoise born in 1727. (she married Mr. Duval d'Esprémesnil in 1743.)
- 7. Jeanne Ursule born in 1728. (she married Mr. Corneille de Schonamille in 1743.)
- 8. Éléonore born in 1730. (she died in 1731.)
- 9. François-Joseph born in 1731. (he died in the same year.)
- 10. Pierre-François-Xavier born in 1734.
- 11. Marie-François-Xavier born in 1736. She is familiarly known as chonchon.(She was requested to marry Mogul Emperor in 1751, but was married to Marquis de Bussy in 1754)
She used to offer advice to her husband Dupleix. She was with him completely during his administration of French India. Her antagonism to the native princes of India was seen in action during her husband's negotiations with them. Her cruelty and corrupt measures were strongly approved by Dubash Ananda Ranga Pillai and he took pains to chronicle them in his diaries.
Religious Persecution of Hindus
From the Private Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, it can be confirmed that she indulged in religious persecution against local Hindus. Few extracts from his diary 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...
|“||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.||”|
- Oringines de l'Inde francaise, Mme Dupleix.
- Macmillan's magazine, Volume 87 .p133
- (George Bruce Malleson 1999, pp. 37–38)
- Private Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, p332
- The Private Diary of Aanand Ranga Pillai Volume 5, p220
- Private Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, Vol 4, from p230
- Private Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, Vol 4, p230