All Bengal Namashudra Association
All Bengal Namashudra Association a forum to espouse the demands for separate political representation of the untouchable communities in the society. It was formed prior to the bengal depressed classes association, in 1926. Namashudra Association was greatly involved in mobilising the Namashudras of Eastern Bengal. Leaders of the Bengal Depressed Classes Association, belonging mostly to the Namashudra community, tried to integrate their movement with the All India Depressed Classes movement and supported Dr BR Ambedkar's demand for a separate electorate.
Both the Bengal Depressed Classes Association and the All Bengal Namashudra Association firmly espoused the demands for separate political representation of the untouchable communities in the society when Macdonald announced his Communal Award in 1932. In fact both the organisations strongly criticised the nationalist demand for a joint electorate.
The All Bengal Namashudra Association in its memorandums sent to the government clearly stated that creation of separate electorate would give a great deal of political advantage to the depressed classes in Bengal. In other words, they felt that by gaining more political power, the depressed classes would be able to free themselves from much of the social and economic disabilities. The All Bengal Namashudra Association strongly criticised Ambedkar's decision to sign the Poona Pact in September 1932 and demanded separate electorates and reservation of seats for scheduled castes in proportion to their numerical strength. The Association believed that it was a suicidal decision on the part of Ambedkar, since it sacrificed the interest of millions of untouchables in the Indian society. But since the Poona Pact could not be abrogated, the All Bengal Namashudra Association later reluctantly favoured its acceptance. [Raj Sekhar Basu]