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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

27-July-2023

Q. In the context of communal award, discuss the impact of the Poona pact on Indian society. (250 words)

Solution

Introduction

On 16th August 1932, McDonald announced the proposal for minority representation, known as the Communal Award, which recommended a communal electorate. It is also known as the ‘McDonald Award’.it was based on the findings of the Lothian committee.

Communal award provisions:

This award accorded separate electorates for Muslims, Europeans, Sikhs, Indian Christians, anglo Indians, depressed classes and even the Marathas for some seats in Bombay.

Criticism:

  • The award was perceived by the national leaders led by the Congress as another manifestation of the British policy of divide and rule.
  • A policy of appeasement and quota regulation steadily killing India was launched with this award.
  • Gandhi attempted to strike a deal with Muslims, promising to support their demands as long as the Muslims voted against separate electorates for the depressed class.
  • Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar accepted Gandhi’s position and signed the Poona pact.

Poona pact,1932 :

In this pact, there was an agreement between Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune. And the pact gets accent by the government as an amendment to the Communal Award.

Provisions of the Poona pact :

  • The Poona pact rejected the idea of separate electorates for the depressed classes.
  • The seats reserved for the depressed classes were raised from 71 to 147 in provincial legislatures and 18% of the total in the central legislature.
  • But these seats were to be filled from the genral electorate.

 

Impact of the Poona Pact:

Positives:

  • Prevented another division in the Indian society: The Communal electorates were already successful in creating divisions in the Indian society.
  • Uplift the morale of the depressed community: It boosted the morale of the depressed community in India who had been suffering for ages.
  • Awareness about the rights: Dalit people came to know about their political rights.
  • Increased social awareness: It increased social awareness about the situations and rights of the Dalits.
  • Challenged the divide-and-rule policy: It tried to undo the divisive intentions of the government’s divide-and-rule policy.

Criticism from the Dalit Circles:

  • Though the pact had a significant role in the Dalit upliftment, the gain was only emotional, momentary and shortlived in the absence of economic and educational upliftment.
  • This pact made the depressed classes political tools which could be used by the majoritarian caste Hindu organisations.
  • The Dalits were forced to accept the status quo in ideological, political, and cultural fields, and they were unable to develop independent and genuine leadership to oppose the Brahmanical order.
  • It made Dalits leaderless as their true representatives of them were unable to win against the stooges who were chosen and supported by the caste Hindu organisation.
  • It subordinated Dalits to being part of the Hindu society by rejecting their distinct existence.

Conclusion:

Poona Pact was a watershed moment in India’s constitutional and political history. It brought to light tensions between the Dalits and Caste Hindus, which would haunt the independence struggle and negotiations between Indians and the British for the rest of their lives. 

Also, it formed the basis of present day system of reservation in India.

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