Alliance Française du Bengale to launch an English translation of The Revolution and The French Establishments in India on French National Day

Marguerite V. Labernadie's book has been translated in English by Arghya Bose and Sandhia Vasseur
The English translation of Revolution and The French Establishments in India (1790-1793)
The English translation of Revolution and The French Establishments in India (1790-1793)

Alliance Française du Bengale is all set to commemorate the Fête Nationale or French National Day this week with the release of a newly translated edition of the Revolution and The French Establishments in India (1790-1793), which was originally written by Marguerite V. Labernadie ( called La Révolution et les Établissements Francais en Inde in French ) and published by Société de l’Histoire de l’Inde française (Society of the History of French India)in 1930.

The event has been organised in association with the Consulate General of France in Calcutta, the Institut français India and Setu Prakashani, and will see the presence of Mme Virginie Corteval, Hon'ble Consul General of France in Kolkata, Krishna Bose, former Member of Parliament, Jawahar Sircarchairman of Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS) and moderator S V Raman, retired programme director of Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata.

<em>Arghya Bose</em>
Arghya Bose

The real French National Day, however, is celebrated on July 14; which is remembered for the Storming of the Bastille in 1789, an event which proved to be a turning point in the French Revolution. The book by Labernadie, which covers the repercussions of the Revolution in the French settlements in India has been translated by Arghya Bose and Sandhia Vasseur.

The book launch will be followed by lectures by Prof Sobhanlal Dattagupta, Professor emeritus, Calcutta University, and Prof Abdus Samad Gayen (HOD) and prof Garima Dhabhai, from the Department of Political Science, Presidency University.

<em>Sandhia Vasseur</em>
Sandhia Vasseur

It was during a student exchange programme at SciencesPo Paris in 2015, that Arghya Bose, a student of Presidency University, Dept of political science, found the book by Labernadie at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. “I am originally from Chandernagore and had always been interested in the Indo-French culture. One day, I found this large book on how the French Revolution actually had its own small repercussions in all its Indian colonies. I was so taken in with the findings that I decided to get it translated into English for a larger audience,” says Arghya Bose, the editor and co-translator of the book.

“It would have never been realised without Sandhia, a native French speaker; who was so interested in the subject, probably because she was digging out her own family roots in Pondicherry in the process of this translation,” he adds.

An alumna of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l'Information et des Bibliothèques, Sandhia Vasseur started work on the book, only last year. “Arghya Bose was already working on the history of French in India and when he came to know about my maternal roots in Pondichéry, he asked me if I would like to collaborate on the project,” says Sandhia.

“The book of Labernadie not just covers the French Revolution and its consequences in the French settlements in India, but also about the thought processes of a French settler in India in the 1930s. The purpose was to encourage the creation of a wider variety of discourses regarding colonialism in India, where we normally only study the British colonial experiences,” she adds.

At Alliance Francaise du Bengale. July 4, 6 pm onwards

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