Gopal Krishna Gokhale

News: The Prime Minister has paid tribute to great freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his Jayanti.

About Gopal Krishna Gokhale:

  • Gopal Krishna Gokhale was born on May 9th, 1866. He was a renowned social reformer of India and was one of the leaders of the moderate bloc of the Indian National Congress. He was known to be the Mahatma Gandhi’s political mentor.
  • Gokhale was a social reformer who formed a sectarian organization to work for the relief of the underprivileged in India. He led the moderate nationalists in the early years of the Indian Independence movement.
  • Despite having financial problems, his family ensured that he received a western education. This was to have a profound influence on him as came to admire the works of John Stuart Mill and Edmund Burke.
  • In 1889, Gokhale joined the INC motivated by his mentor, social reformer M G Ranade.
  • He fought along with a host of other leaders and reformers for more political rights for the Indian people. He was a moderate. He did not believe in radical demands altogether and wished for peaceful and non-confrontationist methods to acquire rights and privileges from the government.
  • This is where he came into conflict with the extremist faction of the INC, especially Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
  • He was elected as Honorary Secretary of the Sarvajanik Sabha, Pune in 1890.
  • In 1893, Gokhale became the Secretary of the Bombay Provincial Conference and in 1895, he served as the Joint Secretary of the INC along with Tilak.
  • Gokhale believed in working with the colonial government to bring about social reforms in society. He was voted to the Legislative Council of Bombay in 1899, and also to the Governor-General’s Imperial Council in 1901.
  • In 1905, Gokhale established the Servants of India Society for expanding education to Indians. He wanted Indians to receive an education that would instil in them a civic and patriotic sense of duty.
  • As part of the Society’s activities, he arranged mobile libraries and schools. He also gave night classes to industrial workers. He was a renowned Economist and his speech on a budget in the Central Legislative Council portrayed his sound and thorough statistical skills.
  • Gopal Krishna Gokhale played a major role in the Morley-Minto reforms.
  • In 1908, Gokhale founded the ‘Ranade Institute of Economics’. He discouraged the untouchability and caste-system, pleaded for the liberation of women and supported the cause of female education.
  • Gokhale visited Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa in 1912 on the latter’s request. He famously mentored to the father of the nation, who returned to India at Gokhale’s request.

In Gandhi’s autobiography, he writes of Gokhale, “pure as crystal, gentle as a lamb, brave as a lion and chivalrous to a fault and the most perfect man in the political field.”Gokhale also started newspapers, ‘Mahratta’ and ‘Jnanaprakash’.