- Gopal Krishna Gokhale (9 May 1866 – 19 February 1915)was an Indian political leader and a social reformer during the Indian In
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale was born on 9 May 1866 in Kotluk village of Guhagar taluk in Ratnagiri district, in present-day Maharashtra.
- Despite being relatively poor, his family members ensured that Gokhale received an English education, which would place Gokhale in a position to obtain employment as a clerk or minor official in the British Raj.
- He studied in Rajaram College in Kolhapur. Being one of the first generations of Indians to receive a university education, Gokhale graduated from Elphinstone College in 1884
- Gokhale became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1889. In many ways, Tilak and Gokhale’s early careers paralleled .
- Both were Chitpavan Brahmins, both attended Elphinstone College, both became mathematics professors, and both were important members of the Deccan Education Society. However, differences in their views concerning how best to improve the lives of Indians became increasingly apparent
- In 1895, when the Indian Congress held its session in Pune, he was chosen as the Secretary to the Indian National Congress along with Tilak. The position gained him prominence in the Indian political circle. Same year, he was elected to the Senate of Bombay University.
- Additionally, he served as the member of Poona Municipality from 1898 to 1906, during which for three years, from 1902 to 1905, he chaired the seat of the President. It was under his leadership that the functioning of the Municipality was reformed considerably.
- In 1899, he was elected to the Bombay Legislative Council where he spoke vehemently against the British government and stressed on the need for politically free India. Year 1905 marked the zenith of his political career as he was elected as the President in the Indian National Congress.
- The fight between the moderates and extremists came out openly at Surat in 1907, which adversely affected political developments in the country.
- Tilak wanted to put Lala Lajpat Rai in the presidential chair, but Gokhale’s candidate was Rash Behari Ghosh. The tussle begun, and there was no hope for compromise.
- The session ended, and the Congress split. In January 1908, Tilak was arrested on charge of sedition and sentenced to six years imprisonment and dispatched to Mandalay. This left the whole political field open for the moderates.
SERVANTS OF INDIA
- The Servants of India Society was formed in Pune, Maharashtra, on June 12, 1905. The Society organized many campaigns to promote education, sanitation, health care and fight the social evils of untouchability and discrimination, alcoholism, poverty, oppression of women and domestic abuse.
- Servants of the India Society aimed at training men and women and developing a sense of national spirit in them. For the same, it started promoting education by establishing schools, mobile libraries, day and night classes and so on.
- Gokhale first met Gandhi in 1896 and the two of them spent almost a month in Calcutta in 1901. During their discussions, Gokhale explained to him the issues plighting the common people in India and urged Gandhi to return to his country to join the efforts of the Congress.
- In addition to mentoring Gandhi, he also played as a role model for Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who later on became the founder of Pakistan. Such was his influence over Jinnah that he aspired to become ‘Muslim Gokhale’.
- He bequeathed his life for a better and improved nation. For the same, he multi-tasked and continued to make contributions in various sectors which took a toll on his health and he passed away on February 15, 1915.
- He married Savitribai in 1880. Savitribai was frail and suffered from congenital ailment. Gokhale remarried in 1887. His second wife died in 1900 and Gokhale did not remarry after that. He had two daughters with his second wife, Kashibai and Godubai.
- The higher education made Gokhale understand the importance of liberty, democracy and parliamentary system of the government.Gokhale dedicated his life to the advancement of the nation’s welfare.
- Gokhale was instrumental in the formation of the MintoMorley Reforms of 1909, which was tabled and eventually enacted into law. But unfortunately, it did not give the people a democratic system.