Communal Award and Poona Pact
This article deals with ‘ Communal Award and Poona Pact – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here
- When Civil Disobedience Movement was going on , British PM declared his award in August 1932
- According to this :
- a fixed quota of seats to be elected by Separate Electorate of Untouchables and to be filled by persons belonging to the Untouchables;
- double vote, one to be used through separate electorates and the other to be used in the General Electorates.
- It means, the depressed classes were given seats which had to be filled by election from the special constituencies in which only they could vote.However, they were eligible to vote in the general constituencies as well.
- Terms of communal award satisfied Muslim league but left Gandhi in great distress.
- He went unto fast in Yervada jail
- Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya organised a conference of prominent leaders like Dr Ambedkar , Rajindra Prasad ,Rajagopalachari who showed anxiety to save Gandhi .
- Other provisions were women were to be reserved in all states except North West Frontier Province.
Two groups of Hindus reached a settlement & signed a pact at Poona called Poona Pact .
- There would be joint electorate for all Hindus & it was decided that Harijan would remain as indivisible part of Hindu community
- 148 seats were allotted to Harijans in Provincial Legislature as against 78 under Mac Donald award
- Adequate representation to depressed classes in local bodies
- Central Legislature : 18% seats to Harijans
- System of reserved seats & primary elections to be terminated after 10 years
Ambedkar ultimately agreed to it, as the proposed number of such reserved seats for the depressed classes was increased and a two-tier election system was recommended to ensure proper representation of such classes.
British government amended Communal Award & device of Britishers to separate Depressed classes from Hindus failed.
Importance of Poona pact
- It is true that the Poona Pact gave the untouchables 148 seats, while the award had only given them . But to conclude from this that the Poona Pact gave them more than what was given by the Award is to ignore what the Award had in fact given to the Untouchables. The communal award gave the untouchables two benefits:- (i) a fixed quota of seats to be elected by Separate Electorate of Untouchables and to be filled by persons belonging to the Untouchables; (ii) double vote, one to be used through separate electorates and the other to be used in the General Electorates
- Now, if the Poona Pact increased the fixed quota of seats it also took away the right to do the double vote.