Why did Gandhiji decide to launch a nationwide Satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act, 1919? Explain.
Mahatma Gandhi launched the Rowlatt satyagraha due to following reasons:
i) The Rowlatt Act was an openly undemocratic measure taken by the British government. It sanctioned the detention of Indian political leaders without any trial for a period upto three years.
ii) The law was passed in an autocratic fashion without considering the opinion of the Indian populace which was going to be affected by it.
iii) Gandhiji latched on the issue of Rowlatt Act because it had become an emotive political issue and had the potential to unite the Indians against a common enemy.
The Rowlatt satyagraha was an agitation launched under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in 1919 to protest against the Rowlatt Act imposed by the British government in India. He decided to launch the movement because, the Act authorized the government to imprison any person upto two years on suspicion of terrorism. The government used the Act to suppress revolutionary activities against the British by Indian nationalists. The Act, also imposed strict control on the press, provided for arrests without warrant and indefinite detention without trial.