In the year 1919, Gandhiji organized a Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act which was passed hurriedly by the Imperial Legislative Council despite the opposition by the Indian members. He planned a non¬violent Civil Disobedience against this Act which would start with a hartals on 6th April 1919.
The Rowlatt Act gave enormous power to the government for repressing the political activities. According to this Act the government can detain the political prisoners without trial for a period of two years.
On 13th April 1919, huge crowd had gathered in the Jallianwalla Bagh. The crowd had two different objectives. Some of them gathered to protest the new repressive measures of the government whereas others gathered to attend the annual Baisakhi fair. Those who came from outside city were not aware of the martial law. General Dyer entered the ground, closed the exit points and opened fire in which hundreds of innocent people were killed. This was basically done to create a feeling of terror in the minds of Satyagrahis.
A harsh peace treaty was going to be imposed on the Khalifa of the Ottoman empire the defeat in the First World War. In March 1919, a Khilafat committee was set up in Bombay to defend the temporal powers of the Khalifa. Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali were the two brothers among the youth generation of the Muslim leaders who discussed the issue with Mahatma Gandhi. Finally, in September 1920 session of Congress in Calcutta it was decided to start a Non-Cooperation in support of Khilafat and also for the Swaraj.
In the year 1909 Mahatma Gandhi wrote a book named ‘Hind Swaraj’ in which he wrote that the British survived in India only because of the cooperation of the Indians, otherwise they would have collapsed within a year.
Gandhiji planned to unfold the movement in stages. In the first stage the people surrendered the titles, boycotted civil services, army, police, schools, foreign goods, courts and legislative councils. The full Civil Disobedience Campaign was planned for the second phase, if the government try to repress the first phase. Many within the Congress were reluctant to boycott the council election which was scheduled for November 1920. Finally in December 1920, a compromise was made to adopt the non-cooperation.