The most significant event that unfolded in Indian politics in 1919 was the rise of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known to the world as Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi 's emergence on the Indian political scenario inaugurated the third phase of Indian Nationalism, during which the country witnessed the launch of a number of nationalist movements under his leadership. His unique political ideologies that basically represented an extension of his spiritual doctrines revolutionized Indian politics and played a major role in awakening the political consciousness of the masses. The National Movements launched under Gandhi 's aegis gave expression to his celebrated political ideologies like satyagraha and ahimsa, and saw the country unifying to fight the single cause of India 's independence. The three important milestones of India 's pre independence history, namely the Non-Cooperation Movement, the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Quit India Movement, were launched and gathered momentum under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The first among these was the Non-Cooperation Movement.
Before proceeding to an analysis of Gandhi 's role in the Non-Cooperation Movement, it is pertinent to delineate the circumstances that shook Gandhi 's confidence in the fairness of the British Government and transformed him into a non-co-operator. When Gandhi returned to India in the year 1915, he did not directly enter the political scenario, following the advice of his political mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhle. However, in the period between 1917 and 18, he rendered leadership to some local disputes and thus rose to prominence. He supported the cause of the oppressed cultivators of Champaran district of Bihar, associated himself with the campaign of the peasants of the Kheda district in Gujarat and also backed the textile workers of Ahmedabad, who were fighting for their wages. During this phase, Gandhi was loyal to the colonial government and even volunteered for the recruitment of soldiers to fight on behalf of the English, during the First World War. However, the Gandhi 's role as a co-operator of the British government did not last long. The Rowlatt Act, followed by the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre and the Khilafat issue embittered Gandhi 's feelings towards the British government. Gandhi stance changed to that of a non-co-operator of the British government and he soon after launched the Non-Cooperation Movement.
When Gandhi realized that there was no prospect of getting any fair treatment at the hands of British, he planned to withdraw the nation 's co-operation from the government and thereby mar the administrative set up of the country. In this initiative, he expected to garner the support of the Muslims, who were nurturing anti British sentiments, on the Turkey-issue. Gandhi 's main objective was to procure justice for the Muslims, through his method of passive resistance; satyagraha. In August, 1920, a hartal was organized in the entire country. The formal launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement in the August of 1920 followed the expiry of the notice that was sent to the Viceroy by Gandhi. He returned to the Viceroy, all the medals he had received in recognition of his war services from the British government.
Gandhi urged the Congress to launch a Non-Cooperation Movement on three issues, which were; redressal of the wrongs committed in Punjab that entailed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the atrocities related to the marital laws, the Khilafat wrong and accomplishment of swaraj. In September, 1920, a special session of the Congress, presided by Lala Lajpat Rai was convened at Calcutta that sought to approve the scheme. Several legislations were passed by the delegates, wherein the British government was criticized and condemned for its incapability of protecting innocent lives in Punjab and failing to keep its promise in the Khilafat issue. In one of the resolutions, it was declared by the Congress that the people of India had no other option but to approve and endorse the non violent, non-cooperation policy inaugurated by Gandhi, till the wrongs were rectified and swaraj established. The Non-Cooperation resolution garnered mixed responses. Pt. Motilal Nahru and Anil Ali Brothers supported the resolution, whereas Mrs Annie Besant, Pt. Malaviya and Shri C. R Das vehemently opposed. They feared that large scale mass action against the British government would lead to violence on a wide scale, as occurred during Rowlatt satyagraha.