Gandhi moved from backstage to the center-stage of Indian politics in 1919. It was the denial of civil rights brought about by the notorious ‘Rowlatt Bill’ which brought Gandhi into active Indian politics and made him the great hero of the most dramatic events in history.
The British Government published in July 1918 what was called Montague-Chelmsford Report about the Administrative Reforms in India. Even in the Congress Party, opinions were divided on the Report. It should be rejected outright, said one group while another group argued in favor of giving a chance to the Report, but with amendments to suit the national interest.
The Congress party convened a special session to discuss the acceptability or otherwise of the Report. Debates, discussions and argumentations went on in various parts of the country.
And it was in the midst of this charged political atmosphere that the Government published the tumultuous Rowlatt Committee Repot. This was a special report on bringing to book and put to trial all those committing various offences of treason.
Evidently, it was a calculated attempt at killing the national movement which was gaining momentum for independence of the country from the foreign yoke, and to safeguard the British rule.