The Poona Act, The Second World War and National Movement

By 1930, Dr Ambedkar had become a leader of national stature championing the cause of the depressed people of the country. While presenting a real picture of the condition of these people in the First Round Table Conference, he had demanded separate electorates for them.

On 16 August 1932 the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald made an announcement, which came to be as the Communal Award. According to this award, the depressed classes were considered as a separate community and as such provisions were made for separate electorates for them.

Mahatma Gandhi protested against the Communal Award and went on a fast unto death in the Yeravada jail on 20 September 1932. Finally, an agreement was reached between Dr Ambedkar and Gandhi. This agreement came to be called as the Poona Pact. The British Government also approved of it.

Accordingly, 148 seats in different Provincial Legislatures were reserved for the Depressed Classes in place of 71 as provided in the Communal Award. The third Round Table Conference came to an end in 1932. The Congress once more did not take part in it. Nonetheless, in March 1933, the British Government issued a White Paper, which became the basis for the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1935.

The Second World War and National Movement

In 1937 elections were held under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1935. Congress Ministries were formed in seven states of India. On 1 September 1939 the Second World War broke out. The British Government without consulting the people of India involved the country in the war.

The Congress vehemently opposed it and as a mark of protest the Congress Ministries in the Provinces resigned on 12 December 1939. The Muslim League celebrated that day as the Deliverance Day. In March 1940 the Muslim League demanded the creation of Pakistan.

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