The Prime Minister paid tributes to the great Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his birth anniversary.
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Section: History, Art & Culture: Social reformers | Personalities in News
About Gopal Krishna Gokhale
- Gokhale hailed from the Ratnagiri district in present-day Maharashtra and studied at the Elphinstone College in Mumbai.
- He joined Fergusson College in Pune as a professor where he taught political economy and history.
- Gokhale first arrived on the national scene after cross-examining British colonial expenditure at the Welby Commission of 1897 in England.
- Gokhale’s work earned him praise in India as he laid bare British military financing policies that heavily burdened Indian taxpayers.
- In 1889, Gokhale joined the Indian National Congress, emerging as one of the main leaders of its ‘moderate’ wing.
- Gokhale is best remembered for his extensive work in colonial legislatures.
- Between 1899 and 1902, he was a member of the Bombay Legislative Council followed by a stint at the Imperial Legislative Council from 1902 till his death.
- He started working with Ranade in the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha of which he later became the Secretary.
- Ranade helped Gokhale in establishing the “Servants of India Society” in 1905.
- The main objective of this society was to train Indians to raise their voice against social evils and serve their country.
- At Bombay, Gokhale opposed the British government’s onerous land revenue policies, and advocated free and compulsory primary education.
- He also asked for the creation of equal opportunities to fight against untouchability.
- At the Imperial legislature, Gokhale played a key role in framing the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909 and advocated for the expansion of legislative councils.
- A critic of British imperial bureaucracy, Gokhale favored decentralization and the promotion of panchayat and taluka bodies.
- Gokhale became Congress president at its Banaras session in 1905.
- Gokhale first met Gandhiji in 1896 and later explained to him the issues plighting the common people in India and urged Gandhiji to return to his country to join the efforts of the Congress.
- He helped Gandhi structure the Natal Indentured Labour Bill in 1910 and raised money for Gandhiji’s efforts in South Africa.
- Gandhiji regarded Gokhale as his political mentor, and wrote a book in Gujarati dedicated to the leader titled ‘Dharmatma Gokhale’.