The Mahé Riverside walkway
Map of Mahé District
|• Body||Mahé Region|
|• Total||9 km2 (3 sq mi)|
|• Total||41,816 (approx.)|
|• Density||4,646/km2 (12,030/sq mi)|
|• Official||Malayalam, French, Tamil, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Telephone code||91 (0)490|
|Sex ratio||1000 ♂/1184♀|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||1|
|Civic agency||Mahé Region|
Mahé, also, and increasingly spelled Mahe, and also known as Mayyazhi, is a small town at the mouth of the Mahé River and is surrounded on all sides by the State of Kerala. The Kannur District surrounds Mahé on three sides and Calicut District from one side.
Formerly part of French India, Mahé now forms a municipality in Mahé district, one of the four districts of the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Mahé has one member (MLA) in the Pondicherry Legislative Assembly. Current MLA of Mahé is E Valsaraj.
As of 2011[update] India census, Mahé had a population of 41,816, predominantly Malayalis. Males constitute 46.5% of the population. Mahé has an average literacy rate of 97.87%; male and female literacy were 98.63 and 97.25 respectively. In Mahé, 10.89% of the population consists of children under 6 years of age.
The name Mahé derives from Mayyazhi, the name given to the local river and region in the Malayalam language. The original spelling found on French documents from the early 1720s is Mayé, with Mahé and Mahié also found on documents, maps and geographical dictionaries until the early 19th century when the spelling Mahé became the norm. Therefore, the belief that the name of the town was given in honour of Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1699–1753), whose later fame derived in good part from his association with India, including his capture of Mayé in 1741, is incorrect.
Another claim that the spelling Mahé was officially adopted by the leader of the expedition that retook the city in 1726 in recognition of La Bourdonnais' role at the time is also unlikely. It is probable that the resemblance of Mayé, not to mention Mahé, with La Bourdonnais’ family name prompted later generations to assume that the famous Frenchman was somehow directly or indirectly associated with the name to the town or the spelling of the name.
The official name of Mahé is Mayyazhi in the local Malayalam language. The original name of Mahé, Mayyazhi, means "eyebrow of the sea".
The French East India Company constructed a fort on the site of Mahé in 1724, in accordance with an accord concluded between André Mollandin and Raja Vazhunnavar of Badagara three years earlier. In 1741, Mahé de La Bourdonnais retook the town after a period of occupation by the Marathas.
In 1761 the British captured Mahé, and the settlement was handed over to the Rajah of Kadathanadu. The British restored Mahé to the French as a part of the 1763 Treaty of Paris. In 1779, the Anglo-French war broke out, resulting in the French loss of Mahé. In 1783, the British agreed to restore to the French their settlements in India, and Mahé was handed over to the French in 1785.
On the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, a British force under James Hartley captured Mahé. In 1816 the British restored Mahé to the French as a part of the 1814 Treaty of Paris, after the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars.
Mayyazhi remained under French jurisdiction as a small French colony, an enclave within British India, during the long span that began in 1816. After the Independence of India the area continued to be French-ruled until 13 June 1954, when a long anti-colonial struggle culminated in its joining the Indian Union (see Causes for liberation of French colonies in India).
After the French left, Mahé stood as a Union Territory. Later this became a Sub-Division of Pondicherry Union Territory. The area of Mahé begins from Mayyazhi puzha in the north to Azhiyoor at the south.
Mahé consists of Mahé town and Naluthara, which includes four villages: Pandakkal, Pallur, Chalakara and Chembra. The ruler of Kingdom of Mysore from the 1760s, Hyder Ali (ca 1722–1782), gifted Naluthara to the French as a token of appreciation for the help they gave in opposing the British.
The culture and geography of this area are like almost all of those in the Malabar Coast of Kerala.
The major festival of this region is Vishu and Onam. The Mahé Palli (Mahé Church or Shrine of St. Theresa of Avila) is a famous pilgrimage center for Christians. The major language is Malayalam. The population includes Tamil and Telugu speakers.
Mahé's nearest airport is Calicut International Airport, Karipur, at a distance of 85 km; Kannur Airport under construction is nearing completion at Mattannur at a distance of 40 km. The nearest Railway Station is Mahé, where a few local and express trains stop. The nearest major railway stations, where several long distance trains stop, are Thalassery, Kannur and Vatakara.
Mahé, like most union territories in India, has low taxes[clarification needed] which include low electricity costs. Mahe also experiences no load shedding or power cuts even during the rest of Kerala which surrounds it get its often.
Mahé Municipality is the seat of the local administration of Mahé. The Mahé municipal area comprises 9 km² with two Assembly Constituencies, i.e. Mahé and Palloor. The first mayor of this municipality was Vellavil Kesavan. He was also an MLA and an eminent personality in French Law. The last mayor and the first chairman of this municipality is late V. N. Purushothaman. Municipal Council was not in existence with effect from 1978. Thereafter the Regional Administrator, Mahé / Regional Executive Officer, Mahé used to exercise the power of the chairman and Vice-Chairman in the capacity of Special Officer of Mahé Municipal Council.
Civic elections were held during 2006 after nearly 30 years. Based on the elections, the chairman and fifteen councilors of Mahé Municipality were sworn in. After the term of the 2006 candidates new civic elections are yet to be held in Mahé .
Mahé has a high density of educational institutions when compared to the size of the town.
Many private schools also operate in Mahé. for example, Avila primary School Mahé, Excel Public School, Sree Narayana School Palloor, St. Theresa's higher secondary School at Chembra, Dr. Ambedkar Public School Chalakkara, M.M.Nursery and Upper Primer School Cherukallayi, Eden School Mahe, P.K. Raman Memorial School etc.
Mahatma Gandhi Government Arts College, the premier college in Mahé, was established in the year 1970, as realisation of the dream project of I. K. Kumaran, the leader of French-Indian Liberation Movement, who was the representative from Mahé to the Legislative assembly. The founder Principal was Prof K.Ravindran.the college was inaugurated on 11 December 1970 by Shri.B.D.Jatti, His Excellency the Lt.Governor of Pondicherry.
The college is situated at the picturesque Mount Vera, Chalakkara, a short distance from Mahé Town. Affiliated to Pondicherry University, the college offers undergraduate courses in Malayalam, Hindi, English, Economics, Chemistry, Plant Science, Physics, Computer Science, Zoology and Mathematics. Post-graduate courses in Plant Science and Hindi are also conducted here. the College celebrated the silver jubilee during the academic year 1995–96. the silver jubilee celebrations were inaugurated on 13 th September 1995 by Rajendra Kumari Bajpai the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry. NAAC team visited the college in February 2009 and accredited the college with "B" Grade. Based on an agreement with the Government of Kerala, 10 seats in 7 undergraduate courses are reserved to the students from Kerala State.
This college was established in 2005 and is part of the Mahé Co-operative Centre for Information Technology Ltd. It is recognized by the National Council for Teacher Education. Their mission is to: "Our mission is to provide individual attention, academic efficiency, monitoring the progress of each student or trainee and keep in touch with the parents, eliciting their cooperation in shaping their character". The President of the society is Mr. E.Valsaraj, currently Mahé MLA and then Minister for health and education. The Principal of the MCCTE is Mr. A.P. Aravindakshan.
Founded in 2000, Indira Gandhi polytechnic college is the only polytechnic in Mahe region and one of the oldest and most prominent technical training institutes in Pondicherry.
The institute offers various streams of engineering courses such as computer engineering, instrumentation engineering,etc and also provides state of the art learning facilities to students.
This institute is located in east Palloor about 6 km from Township. It began during 1993, with the introduction of two engineering trades—namely Draughtsman (civil) and Fitter. A further two trades—Electrician and Mechanic (Refrigeration and Air conditioning) – were introduced during 1997 and 2001, respectively.
Mahé Municipality consists of 15 wards. They are: Mahé Pocket
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