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right of citizenship


  A Guadeloupean son of Indian origin, an autodidact, a public writer, a politician, a fierce defender for the Indian community and finally a hero.

With a fascinating, exciting and even captivating journey, he will forever remain etched in the memory of his family.

He is the youngest of a family of 7 children, from a family of Indian immigrants, settled since their arrival in 1854 to work in the cane fields. He was born on the land of adoption of his family,  on July 5, 1863, on the Source Pérou estate in Capesterre of Guadeloupe.

Henry evolves in this agricultural environment, while observing his humble family living under the yoke of the colonists. He begins his early schooling in his native town. However, his father Joseph noticed that his son Henry, then 7 years old, was interested in everything  and had a great capacity for understanding. He decided to register him  in 1870, in a religious institution, with the Ploërmel brothers, at  Pointe-À-Pitre, missionaries of the time. An intelligent and studious student, he gives satisfaction to his parents and teachers. He stayed there for 10 years and  7 months, to diligently follow his primary and secondary education.


Henry  drops out of school. He sacrifices himself and goes to help his father to meet the needs of his brothers and sisters.

He wants and must work, he declares to his father. The latter contacted two of his friends, Messrs Caillachon and Arnassalon  to recommend him to the Immigration Commissioner whose office is in the country's capital. “Basse Terre”

He was recruited at the Central Bureau of Immigration, as a clerk where he gave complete satisfaction, then,  at the higher rank he took care of the files of Indian immigrants. He discovers irregularities upon their departure from India, but he has a duty of discretion as a civil servant.


  The Palace of the General Council located a few meters from his service, it is quite naturally that he goes there, to attend the sometimes stormy meetings of the General Council.

Very  interested in the political and economic life of the country  by listening and  observing elected officials deliberate on certain matters, he began to better understand the functioning of this colonial policy. He already thinks that he could try this adventure in the future, which he finds captivating. Very young, he is aware that he must give time to time.


  After spending three years in the Immigration service, he decided to join the city of Pointe-À-Pitre, at 79, Boulevard Frébault, where he worked as a merchant merchant.

Fascinated by the politics of the city, he  ranks alongside Mr. Charles DANAË on an electoral list, After the overwhelming victory of this candidate, Henry SIDAMBAROM becomes in 1897, the first Indian Municipal Councilor of the city of Pointe à Pitre and was elected to the financial commission. He   assumes the  post of  Reporter.

Once again, fate is hounding him, he must return to the Capesterre of Guadeloupe, his father is seriously ill and he has the duty to take care of family affairs.

 Alas! His father Joseph Sidambarom  dies. He has to take care of the family.

He founded a family by marrying a young Indian named Rose Nagaman Narembin whose parents are from Tamil Nadu. They will have 7 children from this union. His wife encourages him in all his projects.

With his successive responsibilities, Henry gained confidence. In Capesterre he took over from his father  and ran a grocery store, a hardware store and a building materials store.  He built a cinema theater with 300 seats a cooperative bakery. He continues as before in Pointe-À-Pitre  to help and to  advise without distinction all those who request him. He becomes a popular and respected man in his commune. He founded a mutual society "the obol of workers.  Henry frequents great politicians,  Senator Adolphe Cicéron, Deputy for the 1st arrondissement of Lower -Terre  the deputy Gratien Candace and many others. -136bad5cf58d_ Self-taught, he grew up with these  famous men.

In 1900, the Marquisat factory located in Capesterre  was put up for sale  at the bar of the Court of Pointe-à-Pitre, following the death of its owner. All his friends and factory workers  encouraged him to make the acquisition by assuring him of their solidarity as workers. -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ for the sum of 375,000 francs. The Crédit Foncier lawyer asks him to pay  the amount within a week, payable in cash or in National Defense bonds, otherwise the sale will be declared void due to insolvency. Henry is desperately waiting for this sum from his bank in Paris. Betrayal is in order. The colonial power shows no mercy for a black  and moreover, the son of Indian immigrants. Crédit Foncier acquired it. Henry is not the man to let himself be defeated.  He continues to work and becomes  in 1904  President of the League Human and Citizen Rights.


All his friends encourage him to stand for municipal elections. Together they lead an electoral campaign and obtain a resounding victory. Henry is confident he will be the new Mayor of Capesterre. The day before his 26 advisers are unanimous and will hoist him to the post of chief of city council. of his advisers and had a mulatto elected: Célestin ANATOLE. Immediately Henry resigns, it is total chaos in the room of  the town hall, the fights multiply. Henry tries, in vain, to control his running mate, the police get involved.




Certainly, this self-taught man has the merit of having been able to vehemently confront the colonial administration of the time. The sons of Indian immigrants considered   the sons of no one, but only  des  workaholics cane to enrich the cane settlers. Henry was able to rise to the level of famous men in the country and he became one. Intelligence  and education go together, but intelligence can exceed education. Yes Henry is a hero and his name will go down in history. May future generations learn about the journey of this  son of Indian immigrants. , certainly, voted more easily


After so much betrayal, Henry did not want  to stop there,  the fight took its full measure.  In 1904, Henry  registers  Indian workers on the electoral list. Alerted by notables and owners of dwellings of Capesterre, the governor Mr. Vicomte Armand de la Loyère  asks the Mayors of the Commune to remove the Indians from the electoral register, claiming that they are British  subjects and not French. All the newspapers of the colony made a headline about it: La Tribune libre, le Nouvelliste, le Citoyen.  The article mentions the following text: Are the Indians born in Guadeloupe French? Indians and descendants of Hindus should not be counted and therefore no military service.  Already, Indians under the flag had been sent back to their families.

Henry is outraged, he does not understand this injustice since the Indian children born in Guadeloupe have been declared on a French register in the civil status of their commune.


The newspaper "le Citoyen" says more: "To satisfy the request of a political representative of the island of Reunion and out of convenience, a Minister of the French Republic took the decision not to have the Indian workers listed as than their sons so that they remain present on the plantations of the big landowners eager to enrich themselves in the colonies. The Governor of Guadeloupe took this same decision against all the descendants of Indian immigrants. »

Henry decides  to take this matter to court and  asks everyone to stay calm. He said to them: A fanciful decision or even a decree can neither abolish nor supersede a law which has been passed. He engages in an unfailing fight against the governor of Guadeloupe who had the mayors of the island post  a note contrary to the law of June 26, 1889 and which stipulates:“Is French, any individual born on French soil, of unknown parents or whose nationality is unknown”.

Thus the trial began on Tuesday, February 23, 1904 at the court of the Chief Place: La Basse-Terre. The judge recalls the causes of this appeal and leaves the Word to Me Lignières to replace him, the latter reviews the laws  and  concludes with the deletion of the names of all the Indians appearing on the electoral list of Capesterre.  The judge having given the floor to Henry Sidambarom, he ironically expresses his satisfaction to see delegate  a member of the Bar of Basse-Terre. Maître Lignières interrupts him  and affirms rather to be delegated by citizens of the commune and not of the Governor. Henry continues his pleading  with ease in the French language which he handles perfectly. advise and guide him in this tough battle. He always declares ironically before discussing it on his cause. , our great Fatherland, especially to follow the law courses there  like this lawyer, my honorable adversary  and whose science is too great to put it in parallel with my ignorance concerning questions of jurisprudence.

I will go straight to the point: "I reject all the texts which have just been invoked here concerning the French establishments in India". decree cannot override a law. We are governed by the laws   of common law, the same that are applicable to mainland France. He mentions the case of Mr. Soucé who is an Indian from India who works in the Government and who has not been removed from the electoral list. Are there two weights, two measures?  The court returns to Thursday  25 for the delivery of the judgment.

Henry Sidambarom's fight continued and the case was regularly referred   or suspended. He multiplied the letters to the Minister of the colonies, to the  Governor of Guadeloupe, to the Attorney General in Basse-Terre, letters were also sent by Senator Cicéron, by  The deputies Gaston Gerville Réache, Gratien Candace, Achille René Boisneuf,   to activate the solution of a pending instant  at the court of first instance_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_ in order to settle the question of nationality of  73 Indians registered on the electoral list  of Capesterre.

It was only in 1923  that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, President of the Council of Ministers was able to decide on this affair and give satisfaction  to Henry Sidambarom. The  sons of Indians born on this French soil are governed in this matter by article 8 paragraph 3 of the Civil Code modified  by the law of July 22, 1893, by virtue of which French nationality is acquired.

Twenty  years of struggle to obtain French citizenship for the sons of Indian immigrants. Thanks to his perseverance, Henry Sidambarom  won a political trial for his people.

In 1944,  at the age of  eighty-one years old,  he was appointed deputy justice of the peace for the canton of Capesterre , the equivalent of the current Republic Mediator . Until the autumn of his life, he took care of the  regularization and updating of the electoral list of Capesterre.

In  1950,  the General Council of Guadeloupe takes a deliberation for  request that the Cross of the Legion of Honor be awarded to him granted. Positive answer.

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