Communal Award and Poona Pact

v  Communal Award

§  The Communal Award was announced by the British prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, on August 16, 1932.

§  It was based on the findings of the Indian Franchise Committee, also called the Lothian Committee.

§  It established separate electorates and reserved seats for minorities, including the depressed classes (granted 78 reserved seats)

Ø  Main provisions of the Communal Award

§  Separate electorates for minorities and the depressed classes.

§  In the Provincial legislatures, the states were to be distributed on communal basis.

§  The existing seats of the Provincial legislatures were to be doubled.

§  Except in the NWFP, 3% of seats were to be reserved for women in all provinces.

§  The depressed classes were to be declared the status of minorities.

§  Allocations of seats were to be made for labourers, land lords, traders, and industrialists.

§  In the province of Bombay, 7 seats were to be allotted for the Marathas.

Ø  Congress stand

§  Opposed to separate electorates.

§  Strongly disagreeing with the Communal Award.

§  They decided neither to accept it nor to reject it.

Ø  Gandhi’s Response

§  He saw the Communal Award as an attack on Indian unity and nationalism.

§  So, he was opposed of Communal Award.

§  He wanted a joint electorate with wider Universal Franchise, while approving reserved seats.

§  To press his demands, Gandhi Ji went on an indefinite fast on  September 20, 1932.

o   The other leaders looked to find a compromise.

  • v  Poona Pact

§  Signed by B. R. Ambedkar on behalf of the depressed classes on September 24, 1932.

§  Signed between Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi.

§  It abandoned the idea of separate electorates for the depressed classes.

§  The seats reserved for the depressed classes were increased from 71 to 147 in Provincial legislatures and to 18% of the total in the central legislature.

§  The Poona Pact was accepted by the government as an amendment of the Communal Award.

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