Poona Pact of Gandhi and Ambedkar

Poona Pact of Gandhi and Ambedkar

Question:-Narrate the circumstances that led to the signing of the Poona Pact.

The British had given provisions for separate electorates to many of the minority communities like the Muslims, Christians, Anglo-Indians and Sikhs in the First Round Table Conference. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar stood up for the 'Depressed Class' or the 'Untouchables'. He wanted similar provisions for this group too. The British government agreed to fulfill Ambedkar's demand, and the new British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald of the Conservative party planned to start a Communal Award to encourage the depressed classes in the constitution of the governance of British India.

Gandhi's and Ambedkar's disagreement

In the Second Round Table Conference, Gandhi claimed that the 'Untouchables' were Hindus and, therefore, they should not be treated as a 'minority' community by the British Government. Among the other dissensions in that conference, Gandhi's disagreement with Ambedkar was a major one.

Gandhi's indefinite fasting

Gandhi was strongly against the Communal Award of the Conservative Party as he believed that it would break the Hindu society from within. As a protest against this Award, he sat on an indefinite hunger strike at Yerwada Central Jail from September 20, 1932. A compromise was reached on September 24, 1932.

Ambedkar mellowed down

But Ambedkar finally had to agree to a compromise seeing the mass upsurge all over the country to save the life of Gandhi and to make him break his fast. An agreement between the Hindu leaders and those of the depressed classes and the rest of the community was made on September 24,1932. it is known as the Poona Pact. The announcement was made in a public meeting on September 25 in Bombay confirmed, “Henceforth, amongst Hindus no one shall be regarded as an untouchable by reason of his birth and they will have the same rights in all the social institutions as the other Hindus have“. This resolution is a landmark in the history of the Dalit movement in India as it acted as a start to all the privileges given to the Dalits for their political empowerment.
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