Date of Birth: 9 May 1866
Best known as :President of the Indian National Congress (1905)
Date of Death: 19 February 1915
Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s Life Journey
Gopal Krishna Gokhale was one of the petitioners for greater Indian independence from the British. He was one of the first Indians to receive a university education and was influenced by the modern ideas of many English thinkers and philosophers. Gokhale joined the Indian National Congress in 1899. There, he had frequent run-ins with Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He was very close to Tilak over the age of consent bill that raised the age of marriage from 10 to 12.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale was the Political guru of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale founded the Servants of India society to further the cause of education in India. He also famously mentored both Gandhi and Jinnah when they were young. However, in the end, Gokhale’s fervent belief in the merits of British institutions would be rejected by all his proteges.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s Career and Achievements
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale was one of the first Indians to graduate from the Elphinstone College and became a mathematics professor later in life.
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale followed in the footsteps of the Marathi social reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade. He was as concerned about the social conditions of the Indians as he was about Indian independence.
- He founded the Deccan Sabha after his arch-rival Bal Gangadhar Tilak gained control of the Poona Sarvjanik Sabha.
- Gokhale was elected to the Bombay Legislative Council in 1899. In 1901, he was elected to the Imperial Council of the Governor General. In 1903, he was chosen to be the non-officiating member of the Bombay Legislative Council.
Gokhale was instrumental in the formation of the Minto-Morley Reforms of 1909, which was tabled and eventually enacted into law.
- He believed more in social reform and improving the Indian condition through education and awareness. This was the reason that he served on all the councils. He also did not agree with the later thought of nationalists who wanted to fight for better representation through non-cooperation.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s Awards and Legacy
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale was elected as the president of the Indian National Congress in 1905 which is when he also founded the Servants of Indian society. The SIS, he hoped, would provide more opportunities to educated Indians.
- He started and edited a weekly English newspaper called Mahratta(1881).
- Mahatma Gandhi was personally mentored by Gokhale upon his return to India.
- It included a knowledge of the country and its people after Gandhi had spent considerable time in South Africa. Gandhi would come to look at Gokhale as a mentor.