History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Gopal Krishna Gokhale


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GK Gokhale

Mains level : Gokhale and his contribution in freedom struggle

The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his birth anniversary.

These days, personality-based prelims questions are quite prevalent.

Q.) He wrote biographies of Mazzini, Garibaldi, Shivaji and Shri Krishna; stayed in America for some time; and was also elected to the Central Assembly. He was – (CSP 2018)

a) Aurobindo Ghosh

b) Bipin Chandra Pal

c) Lala Lajpat Rai

d) Motilal Nehru

Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915)

  • Gokhale was a liberal political leader and a social reformer during the Freedom Movement.
  • Gokhale was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress (INC) and the founder of the Servants of India Society.
  • Through the Society as well as the Congress and other legislative bodies he served in, Gokhale campaigned for Indian self-rule and for social reforms.

Gokhale and INC

  • Gokhale became a member of the INC in 1889, as a protégé of social reformer MG Ranade.
  • He was the leader of the moderate faction of the Congress party that advocated reforms by working with existing government institutions.

Quest for political reforms

  • Gokhale’s mentor, justice M.G. Ranade started the Sarvajanik Sabha Journal.
  • Gokhale’s deposition before the Welby Commission on the financial condition of India won him accolades.
  • He played a leading role in bringing about Morley-Minto Reforms (1909), the beginning of constitutional reforms in India.

Servants of India Society

  • In 1905, when Gokhale was elected president of the INC and was at the height of his political power, he founded the Servants of India Society.
  • It aimed to specifically further one of the causes dearests to his heart: the expansion of Indian education.
  • The Society took up the cause of promoting Indian education in earnest, and among its many projects organised mobile libraries, founded schools, and provided night classes for factory workers.

Involvement in the government

  • In 1899, Gokhale was elected to the Bombay Legislative Council.
  • He was also elected to the Imperial Council of the Governor-General of India as a non-officiating member representing Bombay Province.

Mentor to Gandhi

  • Gokhale was famously a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi in the latter’s formative years.
  • In 1912, Gokhale visited South Africa at Gandhi’s invitation.
  • As a young barrister, Gandhi returned from his struggles and received personal guidance from Gokhale, including a knowledge and understanding of India and the issues confronting common Indians.
  • By 1931, Gandhi emerged as the leader of the Indian Independence Movement. In his autobiography, Gandhi calls Gokhale his mentor and guide.

His literary works

  • In 1908, Gokhale founded the Ranade Institute of Economics.
  • He started the English weekly newspaper, The Hitavad (The people’s paper).
  • He also published a daily newspaper titled Jnanaprakash, which allowed him to voice his reformist views on politics and society.

With inputs from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopal_Krishna_Gokhale

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