GOPAL KRISHNA GOKHALE
The Prime Minister of India paid tribute to Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his Jayanti.
MORE ABOUT NEWS
ABOUT GOPAL KRISHNA GOKHALE (1866-1915)
o Gokhale hailed from the Ratnagiri district in present-day Maharashtra and studied at the Elphinstone College in Mumbai.
o He joined later as a professor at the Fergusson College in Pune, where he taught political economy and history.
Arrival on the national scene
o He first arrived on the national scene after cross-examining British colonial expenditure at the Welby Commission of 1897 in England.
Welby Commission, was set up to look into Indian expenditures.
o Gokhale’s work had earned him praise in India as he laid bare British military financing policies that heavily burdened Indian taxpayers much to the chagrin of then Viceroy Lord Curzon.
o Gokhale joined the Indian National Congress In 1899.
o He emerged as one of the main leaders of its ‘moderate’ wing, and gave up teaching three years later to work as a lawmaker for the remainder of his life.
A liberal politician
o Following the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, there arose a brand of liberal political leaders in India who sought a greater role for Indians in running the country’s affairs while pledging allegiance to British rule.
o In the Bombay Presidency, the prominent leaders who adopted constitutional methods as a means of achieving political reform included Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Justice MG Ranade.
o Gokhale had worked towards the very same line of thought realizing constitutional ideals in India for three decades and abjured the use of reactionary or revolutionary ways.
Extensive work in colonial legislatures
o Bombay Legislative Council (1899 and 1902)
Here he opposed the British government’s onerous land revenue policies, advocated free and compulsory primary education, and asked for the creation of equal opportunities to fight against untouchability.
o Imperial legislature (from 1902 till his death)
Gokhale played a key role in framing the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909.
He advocated for the expansion of legislative councils at both the Centre and the provinces.
A critic of British imperial bureaucracy, Gokhale favored decentralization and the promotion of panchayat and taluk bodies.
Gokhale also spoke for the Indian diaspora living in other parts of the British Empire and opposed tooth and nail the indentured labor system
Work in the Indian National Congress
o Gokhale became Congress president at its Banaras session in 1905.
o This was also the time when big differences had arisen between his group of ‘Moderates’ and the ‘Extremists’ led by Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak among others.
o Matters came to a head when the two factions split at the Surat session of 1907.
o Despite his ideological differences, Gokhale maintained cordial relations with his opponents.
o In 1907, he fervently campaigned for the release of Lala Lajpat Rai, who was imprisoned that year by the British at Mandalay in present-day Myanmar.
Role as Mahatma Gandhi’s political mentor
o After Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India, he had joined Gokhale’s group before going on to lead the independence movement.
o Gandhi regarded Gokhale as his political mentor, and wrote a book in Gujarati dedicated to the leader titled ‘Dharmatma Gokhale’.
o The Hitavada was started in the central Indian city of Nagpur by freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
o Gokhale also published a daily newspaper entitled Jnanaprakash, which allowed him to voice his reformist views on politics and society.