Please go through the following article to know all the important points regarding Poona Pact.

Introduction:

  • Poona Pact was an agreement signed between Dr B. R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi in September 1932.
  • Dr B. R. Ambedkar signed Poona Pact on behalf of depressed classes.

Background:

  • British government proposed the Communal Award in August 1932 which declared Depressed Classes as minorities.
  • Communal Award would provide separate electorate to the Depressed Classes. (Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Europeans and Anglo Indians were already declared Minorities.)
  • It was a clear attempt to divide Indian society by separating depressed classes from the rest of the Hindus.
  • To protest the proposed Communal Award, Gandhi sat on fast unto death in Yarawada Jail (on 20 September 1932) where he was imprisoned at that time.

Gandhi finally persuaded Ambedkar to leave separate electorate and go for reservation of seats.

Key Points of Poona Pact:

  • Poona Pact abandoned separate electorate for depressed classes but the reservation of seats for depressed classes was increased from 71 to 147 in provincial legislature and 18% of the total in central legislature.
  • Congress agreed to give adequate representation to depressed classes in the Civil Services.
  • The depressed classes agreed to adhere with the principle of joint electorate.

Important outcomes of Poona Pact:

  • Gandhi convinced Dr B. R. Ambedkar to abandon separate electorate and in its place reservation of seats with much higher representation was given.
  • Gandhi set up ‘All India Anti-Untouchability League’ in September 1932 while he was still in jail. Gandhi was aware that the British government could use casteism against the rising tide of nationalism. So he virtually retired from active politics and focused his activities on eradicating the menace of untouchability.
  • By the Communal Award, followed by the Poona Pact, the British government was successful in deviating national leaders focus from Civil Disobedience Movement.

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