Global Ambedkarites

FOREWORD to the book, “Dr. Ambedkar On Poona Pact” by A. Jaison. Forward written by Justice Appaji Varadarajan (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India).

FOREWORD to the book, “Dr. Ambedkar On Poona Pact” by A. Jaison. Forward written by Justice Appaji Varadarajan (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India).

FOREWORD to the book, “Dr. Ambedkar On Poona Pact” by A. Jaison. Forward written by Justice Appaji Varadarajan (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India).

FOREWORD to the book, “Dr. Ambedkar On Poona Pact” by A. Jaison. Forward written by Justice Appaji Varadarajan (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India).

FOREWORD to the book, “Dr. Ambedkar On Poona Pact” by A. Jaison. Forward written by Justice Appaji Varadarajan (Former Judge, Supreme Court of India).

Forward by Hon’ble Justice A.VARADARAJAN 

Formerly of Supreme Court of India   


This book is a Tamil translation by Shri.A.Jaison, M.A., of the book “Dr.Ambedkar On Poona Pact”.

The Poona Pact is an important historical agreement which was signed by the caste Hindu leaders and Dr.Babasaheb Ambedar in Yerwada prison at Poona on 24.9.1932.  The history of the pact reveals Mahatma Gandhi’s attitude towards the demands of the Scheduled Castes and Dr.Ambedkar’s struggle for getting the rights of those people recognized.  The Depressed Classes, who were called Harijans by Mahatma Gandhi, came to be termed as the Scheduled Castes in the Government of India Act, 1935, and are known as such since then.

Mahatma Gandhi was well aware about how horribly the Depressed Classes had been treated for ages by the caste Hindus and he stated that the superior caste Hindus have to do penance for having so badly treated and neglected the Depressed Classes for ages by acts of service to those classes who have been consigned to calculated degradation for centuries by the caste Hindus.  The Depressed Classes formed a small minority in almost all the villages in India.

The Montague Chelmsford  Report, which preceded the Government of India Act of 1919, had stated that  provision must be made in the Constitution of India Act of 1919  for the protection of the Depressed Classes.

In accordance with the provision in the Government of India Act, 1919, a Royal Commission was appointed in 1928 with Sir John Simon as Chairman.  After its work was completed, as per its assurance that the representative Indians were to be called for a discussion before the new Constitution was settled, the British Government inaugurated the Indian Round Table Conference on 12.11.1930.  In that Conference the Depressed Classes, who were all treated as untouchables by the caste Hindus, were allowed to be represented by Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar and Dewan Bahadur R.Srinivasan.

The Minorities Committee headed by the British Prime Minister to which was entrusted the task of finding a solution to the communal problem, was one of the nine committees amongst which the work of the Round Table Conference was distributed.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar submitted a memorandum to the Minorities Committee formulating the demands of the Depressed Classes for legal protection.  In that memorandum Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar stated inter alia   that the Depressed Classes could not consent to subject themselves to majority rule and that they demanded all rights in common with the other citizens of the state.  He demanded separate electorates.

The Congress chose Mahatma Gandhi as its representative in the Second Round Table Conference and he functioned as such and also claimed to represent even the Depressed Classes. Although he was reconciled to special representation to Muslims, Sikhs, Europeans, Anglo-Indians and even traders, he vehemently opposed the same to the Depressed Classes.  He was not prepared to regard the Depressed Classes as a separate class for political purposes.   He opposed the claim of separate electorates and separate representation to those classes.

The Minorities Committee failed to find an agreed solution to the communal question which the British Prime Minister very much wished to have.   Mahatma Gandhi argued that separate electorate  and separate representation for the Depressed Classes would create a division in Hinduism and separate the Depressed Classes forever from the Caste Hindus, though he would not mind the so called ‘untouchables’ being converted into Islam or Christianity, which would automatically provide separate electorates and separate representation to those converts.  But Dr.Moonje, a known Hindu communalist, had been insisting that the Communal Award of the British Government, which gave separate electorates and separate representation to the Depressed Classes did not create any separation between the Depressed Classes and the Hindus.

Mahatma Gandhi at first opposed the 14 demands of the Muslims in the Minorities Committee but when he learnt that the ‘untouchables’ so-called were getting the support of the other minorities, particularly of the Muslims, he was prepared to agree to all of them on condition that Muslims withdrew their support to the Depressed Classes for separate electorates and separate representation in Legislatures.  The Muslims did not agree.

In these circumstances, where no agreement between the parties concerned was foreseeable, the Prime Minister of the British Government Ramsay Mac Donald invited every member of the Minorities Committee to make a signed request to him to settle the communal question and pledge himself to accept his decision.  This was complied with by all the members of the Minorities Committee, including Mahatma Gandhi.  Mahatma Gandhi thought that it was enough to put the Depressed Classes on the Voters’ list and provide for the Fundamental Rights for them in the Constitution and leave it to the Special Election Tribunal to be created in case the Depressed Classes were unjustly treated and their representatives were deliberately excluded, which would order the unseating of the elected candidates and the election of the deliberately excluded men.  He thought that separate electorates would ensure the Depressed Classes bondage in perpetuity and make them remain as ‘untouchables’ forever, and that it would not bring about their social reform.  But the British Government thought otherwise, as can be seen from what the Prime Minister of that Government stated in his letter dated 8.9.1932.  It is this:

“As I understand your attitude, you propose to adopt the extreme course of starving yourself to death not in order to secure that the Depressed Classes should have joint electorate with other Hindus, because that is already provided, not to maintain the unity of Hindus, which also is provided, but solely to prevent the Depressed Classes who admittedly suffer from terrible disabilities today, from being able to secure a limited number of representatives of their own choosing to speak on their behalf in the legislatures which will have a dominating influence over their future.”       

On his return to India from the Round Table Conference Mahatma Gandhi was arrested and put in prison, in view of the fact that on his way back in Rome he was alleged to have made Disobedience.  While in Prison, on 11.3.1932, Mahatma Gandhi addressed a letter to the Secretary of State for India saying that in the event of the British Government creating   Separate Electorates to the Depressed Classes he would fast unto death.  The Secretary of State for India had replied on 13.4.1932 saying that the argument of both sides would be taken note of before the announcement of the Award.   The British Prime Minister announced his Award on 17.8.1932, which is popularly known as ‘Communal Award’, saying that the members of the Depressed Classes qualified to vote would vote in general constituency and that alone was unlikely for a considerable period to secure adequate representation of those classes in the Legislatures, a number of special seats  would be assigned for them to be filled by election from special constituencies in which only members of those classes qualified to vote would be entitled to vote and this would be required only for a limited time, namely, 20 years from the commencement of the Constitution,  if not previously abolished under the general power of Electoral Review referred to in that letter.

After the announcement of the Award,  Mahatma Gandhi wrote to the Prime Minister of the British Government on 18.8.1932 saying that he would commence his fast unto death from 20.9.1932 if, in the meanwhile, the British Government did not revoke its decision to confer separate electorates to the Depressed Classes.  The Prime Minister wrote back on 8.9.1932 saying inter alia, “We did not consider the method of electing special representatives by reservation of seats in the existing conditions, under any system of franchise which is practicable, members who could genuinely represent them and be responsible for them, because in practically all cases, such members would be elected by a majority consisting of higher caste Hindus.” Mahatma Gandhi was informed by that letter that the British Government’s decision to grant separate electorates and separate representation to the Depressed Classes would stand, subject, of course, to any modification by consent of parties, and requested Mahatma Gandhi to seriously consider whether he was justified in taking his contemplated extreme action.  Mahatma Gandhi wrote back reiterating his stand and accordingly commenced his fast unto death as a protest against the grant of separate electorate to the ‘untouchables’ so called on 20.9.1932.

Then came the Poona Pact on 24.9.1932 by which Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar agreed to give up the demand of the Depressed Classes for separate electorate and separate representation in the Legislatures.  The terms of the Pact were accepted by Mahatma Gandhi and given effect to by the British Government by embodying them in the Government of India Act, 1935.

Generally speaking, Mahatma Gandhi’s speeches and actions tended to show that he was interested in the upliftment of the Depressed Classes.  But what happened in the old Central Provinces after Ministries were formed in the Indian Provinces in 1937 may be noted.  Dr.Khare reconstituted his Congress Cabinet by dropping some unwanted men and taking in new members including Shri.Agni Bhoj, a Depressed Class Congress Member of the Legislative Assembly.  He was expelled from the Congress on the ground that he was guilty of gross error of judgment and of the indiscipline.   Dr.Khare had stated openly and repeatedly in his speeches that according to Mahatma Gandhi, who never contradicted it, the act of indiscipline consisted in the inclusion of Depressed Class man in his Ministry and that he told him that it was wrong on his part to have raised such aspirations and ambitions in the Depressed Classes, and he would never forgive him for such an act of bad judgment.

Some of the questions which arise on a reading of this book are:

1. Why did Mahatma Gandhi, who was well aware of the fact that the Depressed Classes had been consigned to calculated acts of degradation for centuries and denied equal opportunities by the caste Hindus, oppose the grant of separate electorates and separate representation to those Classes, when, at the same time, he was reconciled to the grant of separate electorates and separate representation to Muslims, Sikhs, Europeans, Anglo-Indians and Traders?

2. Why did Mahatma Gandhi think that separate electorates and separate representation to the Depressed Classes would create a division in Hinduism, although he stated that he would not mind those Classes getting converted to Islam and Christianity which would automatically enable them to get separate representation and undoubtedly weaken Hinduism?

 3.Why did Mahatma Gandhi think that separate electorates and separate representation  to the Depressed Classes would ever separate them from the Hindus and that their ills could be removed by service to them by the caste Hindus and not by separate representation in the Legislatures, even though the Depressed Classes and some caste Hindus like Dr.Moonje thought otherwise and the British Government specifically stated that it would be only for a limited number of years and it would have a dominating influence on their future?

4. Was Mahatma Gandhi right in thinking that the lot of the Depressed Classes who had been horribly treated, neglected and consigned to calculated degradation for centuries by the caste Hindus, could be improved by mere services to them by the caste Hindus by way of penance and not by separate electorates and separate representation in the Legislatures?

5. Has the lot of Depressed Classes improved over these years by any services to them by the caste Hindus?

6. Do members of the Parliament and the Legislatures elected for seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Tribes by all the voters in General constituencies really represent the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and strive for them in those fora in the existing conditions or are controlled by whips of the parties choosing them as candidates for election?

7. Was Mahatma Gandhi justified in resorting to a fast unto death to achieve what he could not achieve by argument in the Minorities Committee, Round Table Conference and elsewhere?

8. Was Mahatma Gandhi right in rejecting the Award of the Prime Minister, after having made him, in a signed requisition, the sole arbitrator and agreed to accept his decision?

9. If Dr.Babasaheb  Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi honestly believed what they saw until the Poona Pact was signed, in the light of what has happened to the Depressed Classes in the course of more than 4 decades after India attained independence, whose assessment was right, Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar’s or Mahatma Gandhi’s?

10. Some critics of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar accuse him of erring in signing the Poona Pact.  What could have been the consequences to the Scheduled Caste people at the instance of the caste Hindus had Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar not agreed to withdraw his demand and Mahatma Gandhi had died by the fast?

 I leave it to the readers to find their own answers to these and other questions which may arise on a fair reading of this book.

Mr.A. Jaison has undertaken this difficult task of translating and presenting this book at great pains and expense in his anxiety to serve the cause of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and enable them to know things for themselves and also to let the fair-minded persons know the truth. I do hope that his expectations would be fulfilled and he would be rewarded thereby. I congratulate him for his noble endeavor.

Madras – 600 102.                                         


Appaji Varadarajan

Former Judge,

Supreme Court of India  


SOME REVIEWS . . . /CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES… soon after publication of the book in Tamil under the title “POONA OPPANDHAM” in February, 1988

“Translation of a book of this nature requires a great strength of mind and I congratulate you for having achieved this difficult and noble task”

-Hon’ble Mr. Justice G. Maheswaran

Formerly of Madras High Court

“I am proud to see you serving the oppressed millions by bringing out books of this nature in this young age to create social awareness amongst these people”

Dr. A. Padmanaban, I.A.S. (Rtd.)

Adviser to Governor of Tamil Nadu.

Later he became Member, UPSC and then served as Governor of Mizoram.

“Mr. A. JAISON has suffered in all respects to bring out this book and I appreciate him for his clear translation of this book (“Poona Oppandham”). I wish that this book should be read by all the oppressed communities and they should deliberate on the need for continuance of Reservation policy”.

  Mr. V. Karuppan, I.A.S.,     

“I am happy to see you with this book. I am really proud to say that you have achieved something which I have not done and I am sure your name will go down in history”

Mr. P. Natesan, I.A.S.,

  Many more poured in, especially prior to my 2nd edition of this book.



When I translated “Dr.Ambedkar on Poona Pact” (Now found in the Volume 9 – “What Congress and Gandhi have done to the Untouchables; Mr.Gandhi and the Emancipation of the Untouchables” Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches) published by Mr.L.R.Balley of Bheem Patrika Publications, Jallandhar and approached Mr.Justice A,Varadarajan for his valuable Foreword, he was delighted to do so and asked me to give both the English book and my Tamil-translated version.  He had gone through my translation literally word by word by comparing with the English book.  Then he said that he was more comfortable to give his Foreword in English to my Tamil book and asked me to translate that into Tamil.  I was pleased to accept his suggestion and translated it into Tamil and again he had gone through the Tamil Foreword.  With pleasure and pride, he put his right hand on my shoulders, patted me telling, “Mr.Jaison, you have undertaken a very painful job. Instead of translating this book from English to Tamil, you could have written a book, on your own, on this title either in English or Tamil. Such a great labour you have invested in this translation.  I am really proud of you, Jaison!”  With gratitude, I politely responded to him, “Ayya (Sir, with reverence), I read this English book when I was 23 years old and I am now 28 and my desire is that my first book should be not of my own but of the great thoughts of the great man Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar and that too, particularly this book and I want to ensure that the struggles of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar in the Round Table Conference accompanied by Thaatha (Grandfather) Dewan Bahadur Rettamalai Srinivasan of Tamil Nadu should be known to all the people across Tamil Nadu… they should know how much mental agony he has undergone under the clutches of  caste Hindus and particularly of Gandhiji and how he secured all these rights for us… next book/s will be of my own writing in addition to translations too.”  After a pause, I continued, “ Ayya, the secondary reason, I have… You are so magnanimous to shower upon me with words of your compliments and commendation. Although I am very small today,  I have my own judgment about our people… the general tendency of the people is to look at a man who he is and not what he has (written)… they would like to see the age and body-size (vayasu and size) which I don’t have as on date and the people are generally in praise for the high-level man’s works and not the high-level works of a man.  I don’t have honorific prefix or suffix to my name.  Therefore, let me travel in public life as I have planned…”  He gently nodded his head in affirmative with his fatherly look of love, affection and sympathy.    This is how Mr.Justice A.Varadarajan, the first Judge from SC to have risen to SC (Supreme Court) and the Judge having earned the name “Unbending Judge” who solemnized my marriage on 6th July, 1986 had been a pillar of moral support and fatherly blessings to me till he breathed his last in his 89th year on 15.10.2009 and still continues to be a guiding spirit. The book was republished on 26th January, 2002 and now there is a need to go for its third edition for the benefit of the next Tamil generation to know the history of how the SCs were shabbily and treacherously treated not only on those days but also when we the SCs and STs are in the end of the 9th decade since signing of the Poona Pact and in the 8th decade since our Independence from the yoke of British but not from the yoke of brutal caste fanaticism.

“One who does not know history cannot create history.” 

-Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar



Writer, Ambedkarite & Social Activist

Mob:94430 99600  Email:

October 14, 2021

(Till date, I have published 7 books, viz., 4 in Tamil and 3 in English and many more will follow.  With the rare privilege of having taken birth on 14th April, 1959, after 36 years of services in Dena Bank which was merged with Bank of Baroda (BOB)  the last one  month service having been in BOB, I retired on 30th April, 2019 and I hope to speed up my writings for the benefit of my people and other good-souled people who sympathise and empathise with the SCs and STs.)