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SATYAGRAHA AGAINST THE ROWLATT ACT MARCH 1919 Mahatma Gandhi had accepted Gopal Krishna Gokhale as his political Guru mentor after coming back to India Gopal Krishna in his turn had encouraged him to study the political situation of India for two years As it has already been mentioned above he had used satyagraha against the British in Champaran as a first instance of his familiarizing with the Indian situation and in which he had succeeded In two other instances at Kheda alongside the peasants against a rapacious government and at Ahmedabad alongside the mill workers against their exploitative employers also he had used his techniques satygraha successfully Apart from these the British Government had also assured the Indians of giving them increased measure of self-rule after the First World War was over However at the end of the War contrary to their expectation the Indians faced famines epidemics greater economic exploitation press censorship and other such oppressive measures During the War the Indian Securities Act which could only be promulgated in the event of war had also been passed Thus in 1917 the British-India Government appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Sir Sydney Rowlatt on whose recommendation two bills were tabled in the Central Legislative Council These are know in the Indian history as the Rowlatt Bill On 19 March 1919 one of these bills was passed to become an Act As per this Act any body could be arrested on the basis of suspicion No appeal or petition could be filed with the help of an advocate and if were made against such arrests Such a measure was branded as black law Mahatma Gandhi in a letter to the Viceroy warned of a countrywide satyagraha if this Act was not withdrawn immediately In this context the term hartal was perphas used for the first time 30 March 1919 was decided as the day to launch this first nationwide hartal But as
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