Poona Pact

  • In September 1932, B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi negotiated the Poona Pact. 
  • Communal Award of August 1932 – was the background to the Poona Pact. The Communal Award reserved 71 seats in the central legislature for the depressed classes. Mahatma Gandhi was opposed to the Communal Award as it sought to divide the people on communal lines.
  • As per the Poona Pact –
      • Ambedkar agreed for depressed class candidates to be elected by a joint electorate;
      • 147 seats were reserved for the depressed classes in the legislature;
      • A fair representation of the depressed classes in the public services was ensured;
      • A portion of the educational grant for their uplift was earmarked.
  • Poona Pact was the recognition of the following:
      • The depressed classes constituted the most discriminated sections of Hindu society. 
      • It imperative to give them a political voice
      • There was a need to lift them from a backwardness they could not otherwise overcome.
  • Impact of the Poona Pact:
      • World’s largest affirmative programme was launched much later in independent India in later years.
      • Measures were initiated later to uplift Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Poona Pact & Ambedkar:
      • Poona pact emphatically sealed Ambedkar’s leadership of the depressed classes across India.
      • He made the entire country, and not just the Congress Party, morally responsible for the uplift of the depressed classes.
      • He succeeded in making the depressed classes a formidable political force for the first time in history.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/ambedkar-and-the-poona-pact/article31333684.ece