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Poona Pact 1932- History, Significance & Facts

Last Updated : 20 Mar, 2024
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Discover the significance of the Poona Pact of 1932, including its participants, Poona Pact 1932 date, and relevance for Poona Pact 1932 UPSC exams and Poona Pact 1932 class 10 studies. Access PDF materials and learn about its relation to the Communal Award.

The Poona Pact refers to the agreement which was signed between Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar in Yerwada Central Jail, in Poona on 24th September 1932 on behalf of the depressed class for reservation in the electoral seats in the Legislature of the British Government.

The signing of the Poona Pact was between B.R.Ambedkar for the depressed classes, Madan Mohan Malviya for Hindus, and Gandhiji; as one of the means of ending the fast that Mahatma Gandhi was undertaking in the jail in the form of a protest for the decision made by then Prime Minister of British, Ramsay MacDonald to give separate electorate for depressed classes for the election of members to the provincial legislature assemblies under British India.

Poona Pact 1932

Poona Pact 1932

Poona Pact 1932

  • The Poona Pact was an agreement reached in India in 1932 to resolve the conflict between the Dalits and other Hindu communities over electoral representation.

Poona Pact 1932 date

  • The pact was finalized and signed on September 24, 1932.

History of Poona Pact 1932

The British Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, on 16th August 1932 announced the Communal Award, which provided for separate electorates for “Depressed Classes”, which mostly included the Muslims, the Europeans, the Sikhs, the Anglo-Indians, and also the Indian-based Christians.

The notion of separate electorates which the British had already put in place through the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 and the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 was upon which the Award of 1932 was built.

Only members of the above communities would have the right to vote to elect a representative of the same community to legislative assemblies, under the separate electorates system. Mahatma Gandhi severely opposed this communal award, as it was from the efforts of imperialists to divide Indian people into special-interest groups and to weaken the nationalist feelings and national movement for attaining swaraj.

B.R. Ambedkar initially was in favor of this award, as it would give political solutions for the upliftment of the depressed classes. However, a series of negotiations by Gandhiji and also B.R. Ambedkar, agreed upon the Poona Pact, with the withdrawal of the separate electorates for depressed classes.

Significance of Poona Pact 1932

Some of the most significant importance of the Poona Pact is as mentioned below:

Representation of Depressed Classes

On an agreement between Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar agreed upon the depressed class candidates were elected by a joint electorate. About twice as many of the seats were reserved for the depressed classes as compared to Communal Award. Also, Poona Pact also assured a fair representation of depressed classes in public services by earmarking certain portions of the educational grants for the depressed classes’ upliftment.

Empathetic Acceptance

The Poona Pact was kind of an empathetic acceptance by the upper-class Hindus as depressed classes were the most discriminated part of the Indian Society.

Precursor to Reservations

The pact was something concrete that was done to give the depressed classes a political voice. and made the entire country morally responsible for the upliftment of the depressed classes. It is also a precursor to the world’s largest program of reservation in the legislature, public services, and educational institutions and also made depressed classes a formidable political force.

Poona Pact 1932 was signed between

  • Signed between Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, representing the Dalits, and Mahatma Gandhi, representing the caste Hindu leaders.

Poona Pact 1932 UPSC

  • Important for UPSC exams as it marks a significant event in the Indian freedom struggle, highlighting the socio-political dynamics of the time.
  • Demonstrates Gandhi’s commitment to social justice and Ambedkar’s leadership in advocating for Dalit rights.

Poona Pact 1932 class 10

  • A crucial part of the Indian history curriculum, illustrating the fight against untouchability and caste discrimination.
  • Shows the efforts to achieve a unified nationalist movement in India.

Poona Pact 1932 PDF

  • Documents detailing the agreement are available in PDF format for educational and research purposes.
  • Provides insight into the negotiations and compromises made for Dalit representation.

Communal Award Poona Pact 1932

  • The Communal Award was a British proposal to grant separate electorates to various communities, including Dalits.
  • The Poona Pact was a response to this, where Gandhi’s fast-unto-death against separate electorates led to negotiations and the eventual signing of the pact.

Important Facts of Poona Pact

  1. B.R. Ambedkar was in favor of a separate electorate for Depressed Classes and was laid down by him in the First Round Table Conference and he represented the Depressed Classes.
  2. Gandhiji was against the idea and undertook a fast while in jail in Poona when PM Macdonald was about to grant communal awards.
  3. The public pressure to end the fast, Ambedkar and Gandhiji made a Poona Pact which laid down reserved seats for the depressed classes in provincial legislatures. Gandhiji was against the idea since he did not want untouchables to be outside the folds of Hinduism.
  4. The number of seats reserved was based on the total strength of the Provincial councils. Like 30 for Madras, 8 for Punjab, 14 for Bombay, and so forth. A total of 147 seats were reserved.
  5. For each of the seats, members of depressed classes who could vote formed an electoral college. This Electoral College would elect a panel of four candidates. Then these 4 candidates will stand in the election along with general candidates where the general electorate would vote.
  6. In Central Legislature, 19 percent of seats would be reserved for Depressed classes and this system would continue for ten years unless mutual agreement for termination.

Gandhi And Ambedkar – Difference in Approach

B.R.Ambedkar Mahatma Gandhi

1. Ambedkar was of the view that favored annihilation of the caste

system as it was beyond reform.

1.  Gandhiji was not in support of the caste system and was in favor of bringing behavioral change in society in relation to the caste system.

2. Ambedkar viewed caste as a political issue and wanted a political 

solution for the upliftment of depressed classes.

2. Gandhi viewed the caste issue as a social issue and wanted to reform the hearts and minds of the people.

3. Ambedkar was in favor of a rights-based approach.

3. Gandhiji’s approach was based on faith and spirituality.

Terms of Poona Pact

  • Seats for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) are reserved in the provincial assembly.
  • The number of seats set aside for the underprivileged classes in provincial legislatures increased from 71 to 147, and in the national assembly, they now make up 18% of the total.
  • The electoral college will be made up of all Depressed Classes members who are registered on the general electoral roll of a constituency. This electoral college will elect a panel of four Depressed Classes candidates for each of these reserved seats using the single vote method.
  • These classes were represented using the criteria of mixed electorates and reserved seats. Until mutually agreed upon otherwise, the representation of these classes through reservations shall remain in accordance with clauses 1 and 4.
  • The procedure for selecting candidates for the Central and Provincial Legislatures will cease in ten years unless both parties agree to an amicable termination.
  • The Lothian Committee report should specify the franchise for these classes in the Central and Provincial Legislatures. These classes ought to be fairly represented across all provinces.
  • The Pact further mandated that efforts be made to guarantee that the group is fairly represented and that Depressed Classes be treated equitably in public services.
  • For the purpose of providing educational facilities to members of the Depressed Classes, a suitable amount must be set aside from each province’s educational grant.

Additional Notes for UPSC

Different perspectives have resulted in different responses on the issue of representation for the depressed classes:

  1. According to B.R. Ambedkar, the rights of the Depressed Classes were most important compared to political independence, while Gandhiji was fighting for the independence of India and also maintaining balance in Hindu Society.
  2. Strong reactions came to Poona Pact from different sections of society, and demand was raised for its revision by both sections of Depressed Classes and also Hindus.
  3. Reactions were sharp from Punjab and Bengal, where Hindus constituted 31 percent and 44 percent of the population respectively from both states.
  4. The depressed Classes Federation in Bengal was not happy with the Poona Pact agreement and Ambedkar himself wanted a revision of the Poona Pact as he felt political parties would put forward their own Depressed Class candidates, creating division within the Depressed Classes.


The Poona Pact was a turning moment in India’s political and constitutional history. The freedom movement and negotiations between Indians and the British were forever marred by tensions between the Hindus and the Depressed Classes that were brought to light by this pact. The Pact substantially strengthened and expanded the argument that the Depressed Classes constituted a political minority whose interests could not be disregarded while creating India’s future constitution.

Poona Pact 1932 – FAQs

What is Poona Pact?

Poona Pact refers to the agreement which was signed between Mahatma Gandhi and B.R.Ambedkar in September 24, 1932 on behalf of depressed class, calling for reservation of seats in the legislature for them.

What was the significance of the Poona Pact 1932?

The Poona Pact 1932 was significant because it marked a pivotal agreement between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, leading to the reservation of seats for the Dalits (then referred to as “Depressed Classes”) in the Provincial legislatures within British India, thus ensuring their political representation.

Who signed the Poona Pact with Gandhi?

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar signed the Poona Pact with Mahatma Gandhi on behalf of the Dalits, while Gandhi represented the Hindu community at large, aiming to ensure a unified representation in the face of British colonial rule.

What are the main features of the Poona Pact?

The main features of the Poona Pact included:

  1. Reservation of seats for the Dalits in the Provincial legislatures.
  2. A single Hindu electorate, with Dalits having the right to vote for general candidates as well.
  3. The agreement increased the number of reserved seats for Dalits from the initially proposed figure by the British.

What happened as a result of the Poona Pact?

As a result of the Poona Pact, the British government agreed to withdraw its original proposal of separate electorates for Dalits, and instead, reserved seats were allocated for Dalits in the general electorate, enhancing their political representation and rights within the framework of British India.

What is the Poona Pact?

The Poona Pact refers to the agreement reached in 1932 between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, aimed at ensuring political representation for the Dalits by reserving seats in the legislative assemblies, thereby averting Gandhi’s fast unto death in protest against separate electorates for Dalits.

What is the significance of the Poona Pact 1932?

Mahatma Gandhi was not in the mood for slowing down the process of integration of Dalits and the pact kind of stopped the fast up to the death of Mahatma Gandhi. Poona Pact was significant as Mahatma Gandhi did not further want to alleviate dalits from the Hindu society.

Who signed the Poona Pact with Gandhi?

Poona Pact was signed between B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi in 1932.

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