Communal Award and Poona Pact

The Communal Award and Poona Pact had occurred in 1932. The Prime Minister of Britain Ramsay MacDonald, announced the Communal Award in August 1932 to pursue the British policy of divide and rule. The Communal Award recognised the depressed classes as minorities and provided them separate electorates. Earlier the British had already given separate electorates to Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.

Response of Indian National Congress

Congress was against the system of separate electorates but it was not in favour of changing the Communal Award without taking the minorities in confidence. So, the leaders of Congress were against the Communal Award and strongly disagree with it but the Congress decided neither to accept the Communal Award not to reject it. The Nationalist leaders opposed the British move to separate the depressed classes from the rest of the population of Hindus by providing them separate electorates.

Response of Mahatma Gandhi

For Mahatma Gandhi, the Communal Award was an attack on the unity of India and was against the Indian nationalism. He believed that separate electorates were harmful to both Hinduism and for the depressed classes as it provided no answer to the social problems faced by the members of depressed classes. Gandhi knew that once the depressed classes were treated as separate political identity, the issue of abolition of untouchability would get undermined and the separate electorates would keep the depressed classes to remain untouchables in perpetuity. Gandhi said that what was required was not the protection of so-called political interests of untouchables but the root and branch eradication of untouchability from India.

Communal Award Poona Pact 1932

Communal Award and Poona Pact were full of controversies. Mahatma Gandhi believed that depressed classes should be elected through joint and if possible through universal franchise. While he did not object the demand for larger number of reservation of seats for the depressed classes. Mahatma Gandhi went on an indefinite fast on September 20 1932 in Yeravada jail to get his demands fulfilled. Ambedkar argued that Gandhi was ready to accept the separate electorates to Muslims and but was against the separate electorates for scheduled castes. This was because he was afraid of division inside the Congress and Hindu society due to separate representation for depressed classes. Various leaders including B.R. Ambedkar, Madan Mohan Malviya and M.C.Rajah finally found out a compromise with Gandhi in the form of Poona pact.

Communal Award and Poona Pact occured in 1932. The Poona pact was signed by Dr B R Ambedkar on behalf of depressed classes in September 1932. The Poona pact removed the system of separate electorates for the depressed classes and instead provided for reservation of seats for them. The seats which were reserved for the depressed classes were now increased from 71 to 147 in the provincial legislatures and 18% in the Central legislature. In every province an adequate amount was provided as an educational grant for providing educational facilities to the members of depressed classes. There would not be any disabilities attached on grounds of being a member of depressed classes in regard to any election to local bodies and appointment to public services. Every effort should be made to secure a fair representation of depressed classes in these respects.

After 'Poona Pact' Dr_Babasaheb Ambedkar with R.B.Srinivasan, G.A.Gawai, and others

Poona Pact & Government

The government accepted the Poona pact as an amendment to the previous Communal Award of in August 1932.

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