Source: The Indian Nation Builders: Part I, 7th ed (Madras: Ganesh & Co.)

Gopal Krishna Gokhale

Gopal Krishna Gokhale was born May 9, 1866, He was Senior leader of the Indian National Congress and founder of the Servants of India Society.

After College, where Gokhale earned a scholarship, he joined the Deccan Education Society, which controlled a number of schools. Members of the society restrained themselves to low pay, a rule which appealed to Gokhale. While teaching as an English Professor under the society, Gokhale met Mr. Justice Ranade, an old acquaintance of his father. He became a devoted pupil of Ranade, applying himself intensely to work, not stopping for rest even when sick. Ranade later honoured Gokhale by appointing him as secretary for the Sarvajanik Sabha of Poona, then the chief political association in India.

Gokhale first entered politics in 1890, when he was twenty-three. While he began gaining prominence in other parts of India, he was regarded poorly in Maharashtra, mostly due to his decision to take a second wife after pressure from his family. His enemies, which included Hindu extremists, stirred up hatred against him, causing him to become victim to public mockery. He bore these attacks with patience.

In 1899, he was elected to the Bombay Legislative Council and in 1902, the Imperial legislative council, where he fought against many controversial policies, such as the Salt Tax and heavy military expenditures. In 1905, he founded the “Servants of Indian Society”, whose group of disciples voluntarily pledged themselves to a life of poverty in the name of their nation.

Gokhale had long suffered diabetes, but in February 19, 1915, mounting pressure from being member of the Public service commission, Head of the Servant of India Society, member of the Legislative Council, President of the Congress and representative of South African Indians, all took its toll – and he passed away.

Source: L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Great Men of India (Bombay: 1939)


Speeches of the Honourable Mr. G.K. Gokhale (Madras: G.A. Natesan, 1908)

Gokhale, my political Guru (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Pub. House, 1955)

Speeches and writings of Gopal Krishna Gokhale (Poona: Deccan Sabha, New York: Asia Pub. House, 1962)

Speeches. (G. A. Natesan, 1916)

Ideas of IndiaIdeas of India