EDEN IAS

ROWLATT ACT | GS ARTICLES

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<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>Just six months before the Montford Reforms were to be put into effect, two bills were introduced in the Imperial Legislative Council. One of them was dropped, but the other&mdash;an extension to the Defence of India Regulations Act 1915&mdash;was passed in March 1919. </span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
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<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>It was what was officially called the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, but popularly known as the Rowlatt Act. </span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>It was based on the recommendations made in the previous year to the Imperial Legislative Council by the Rowlatt Commission, headed by the British judge, Sir Sidney Rowlatt, to investigate the &lsquo;seditious conspiracy&rsquo; of the Indian people.</span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>(The committee had recommended that activists should be deported or imprisoned without trial for two years, and that even possession of seditious newspapers would be adequate evidence of guilt.) </span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>All the elected Indian members of the Imperial Legislative Council voted against the bill but they were in a minority and easily overruled by the official nominees. All the elected Indian members&mdash;who included Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Madan Mohan Malaviya and Mazhar Ul Haq &ndash; resigned in protest. </span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>The object of the government was to replace the repressive provisions of the wartime Defence of India Act (1915) by a permanent law. So the wartime restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly were re-imposed in India. There was strict control over the press and the government was armed with a variety of powers to deal with anything the authorities chose to consider as terrorism or revolutionary tactics.</span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
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<p style=”margin-left:48px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><b><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act&mdash; First Mass Strike:</span></span></b></span></span></span></span></p>

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<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>Just when the Indians expected a huge advance towards self-rule as a reward for their contribution to the war, they were given the Montford Reforms with its very limited scope and the shockingly repressive Rowlatt Act. Not surprisingly the Indians felt betrayed. </span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>More so Gandhi, who had been at the forefront in offering cooperation in the British war effort, and who had even offered to encourage recruitment of Indians into the British Indian forces. He called the Rowlatt Act the &ldquo;Black Act&rdquo; and argued that not everyone should get punishment in response to isolated political crimes.</span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>Gandhi called for a mass protest at all India level. But soon, having seen the constitutional protest meet with ruthless repression, Gandhi organised a Satyagraha Sabha and roped in younger members of Home Rule Leagues and the Pan Islamists. </span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>The forms of protest finally chosen included observance of a nationwide hartal (strike) accompanied by fasting and prayer, and civil disobedience against specific laws, and courting arrest and imprisonment. </span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-bottom:8px; margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:14px;”><span style=”line-height:107%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><span style=”color:#595959″><span lang=”EN-US”><span style=”line-height:107%”>Satyagraha was to be launched on April 6, 1919 but before it could be launched, there were large-scale violent, anti-British demonstrations in Calcutta, Bombay,</span></span></span></span></span></span></li>
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