Sunday, January 2, 2011

A respectful homage to Gopal Krishna Gokhle as flashed on the f.b. on January 01,2011.

Bishwa Nath Singh:

How many of us remember one of the greatest leader of Pre-independent era who the founding social and political leaders during the Indian Independence Movement against the British Empire in India who was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and founder of the Servants of India Society. Through the Society as well as the Congress and other legislative bodies he served in, He promoted not only or even primarily independence from the British Empire but also social reform. To achieve his goals, he had followed two overarching principles: avoidance of violence and reform within existing government institutions. That great leader was none else than Gopal Krishna Gokhle.Let us have glimpse of his life in brief!


( Photo of Gopal Krishna Gokhle,founder of the Servants of India Society in Pre-independence era)

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Bishwa Nath Singh :
 Gopal Krishna Gokhale was born in a village Kothluk, in Maharashtra, on May 9, 1866,.He was brought up in the house of his maternal grandfather. Kothluck village was not too far from Tamhanmala, the native town of his father, Krishna, who was a farmer by occupation .Later on,his father worked as a clerk due to the poor soil of the region. His mother, Valubai, also known as Satyabhama, was a very pious & simple woman who instilled in her children the values of religion, devotion to one's family, and caring for one's fellow man. His elder brother and sister-in-law, had helped Gokhale to managed his education at Rajaram High School in Kothapur. Due to his respect for his brother and recognition of the compassion with which he was treated, Gokhale learned the value of self-sacrifice to avoid asking for more material support. At times he went without meals and studied by the light of street lamps to save his elder brother as much money as possible. A hardworking student, he moved on to college and graduated from Elphinstone College, Bombay in 1884 at the age of 18, earning a scholarship of Rs.twenty per month in his final year. His education influenced Gokhale's life in many ways. Primarily, his understanding of the English language allowed him to express himself without hesitation and with utmost clarity. Also, his appreciation and knowledge of history instilled in him a respect for liberty, democracy, and the parliamentary system. Soon after his graduation, he accepted a teaching job as an Assistant Master in the New English School in Pune. Among many achievements which testify to his talent and passion for teaching, perhaps the greatest of them all was a compilation, a book of arithmetic in collaboration with a colleague, N. J. Bapat, which became a widely used and widely translated textbook across the country. Gokhale moved on to become a founding member of Fergusson College in Pune in 1885, with colleagues in the highly honored Deccan Education Society. He pledged twenty years of his life to this college, as a teacher and board member. So apt was he at teaching subjects of any variety, that he was known as the "Professor to Order." The year 1886 had seen the entry of Gopal Krishna Gokhale into public life. At the age of twenty, he had delivered a public address concerning "India under the British Rule" and was applauded for his expression and command of the English language.He became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1889, as a protégé of social reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade. Along with other contemporary leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Dadabhai Naoroji, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Annie Besant, Gokhale fought for decades to obtain greater political representation and power over public affairs for common Indians. He was moderate in his views and attitudes, and sought to petition the British authorities by cultivating a process of dialogue and discussion which would yield greater British respect for Indian rights. Gokhale had visited Irelandand had arranged for an Irish nationalist, Alfred Webb, to serve as President of the Indian National Congress in 1894. The following year, Gokhale became the Congress’s joint secretary along with Tilak. In many ways, Tilak and Gokhale’s early careers paralleled – both were Chitpavan Brahmin (though unlike Gokhale, Tilak was wealthy), both attended Elphinstone College, both became mathematics professors, and both were important members of the Deccan Education Society. When both became active in the Congress, however, the divergence of their views concerning how best to improve the lives of Indians became increasingly apparent Gokhale moved on later on to managing public affairs. While contributing articles to the English weekly Mahratta, he was seduced by the idea of using education as a means to awaken patriotism among the people of India. Just as this idea was enveloping Gokhale was promoted to Secretary of the Deccan Education Society. Once in the limelight, there was no looking back. After being given charge of the Bombay Provincial Conference in 1893, he was elected to the Senate of the Bombay University. In time, Gokhale came to devote all his spare time to the causes of the common man: famine, plague relief measures, local self- government, land reform, and communal harmony. As a member of the Pune Municipality, twice elected its President, he continued to strive to solve the problems of the poor, and those who came to him with grievances concerning water supply, drainage, etc. were pleased with the practical manner in which he dealt with the problem. He had also published a daily newspaper entitled Jnanaprakash, which allowed him to voice his reformist views on politics and society.In 1905, he founded the Servants of India Society, which trained people to be selfless workers so they could work for the common good of the people. So strong was the desire to make a difference, that these kindred spirits vowed a simple life of dedication to these causes. Among the many things the organization did, there were the commendable services of helping victims of floods and famines, and taking the time to educate women in society, so that they too may have a voice. Many people influenced Gokhale and gave him the strength and discipline to bring his ideas to the realm of reality, but none more than Mahadev Govind Ranade, to whom he was apprenticed in 1887. Ranade trained him for 15 years in all spheres of public life, and taught him sincerity, devotion to public service and tolerance. These qualities, which Ranade helped instill in Gokhale, are those qualities which helped make Gokhale the man he is known today. He had visited England and voiced his concerns relating to the unfair treatment of the Indian people by the British government. In one span of forty nine days, he spoke in front of forty seven different audiences, captivating every one of them. Before long, he was touted as the most effective pleader for India's cause. While, he pleaded for gradual reform to ultimately attain Swaraj, or self-government, in India, some of his contemporaries, comprising a radical element, wished to use force as a means of persuasion. He maintained his moderate political views and worked out some reforms for the betterment of India. He was instrumental in the formation of the Minto-Morley Reforms of 1909, which eventually became law. Unfortunately, the Reforms Act became law in 1909 and it was disappointing to see that the people were not given a proper democratic system despite best efforts. The communal harmony he had longed for was shattered when he realized that the Muslim community was steadfast in considering itself as a separate unit. On the bright side, however, his efforts were not in vain. We Indians now had access to seats of the highest authority within the Government, and their voices were more audible in matters of public interest. The years of hard work and devotion of Gopal Krishna Gokhale , a great freedom fighter who did much for the country of India, but sadly also took their toll on the health of this great leader. Excessive exertion and the resulting exhaustion only aggravated his diabetes and cardiac asthma. He had died on February 19, 1915. Pointing his finger toward heaven and then folding his hands respectfully, He was a great Scholar besides being a man of vision & courage. Let us pay our humble obeisance’s to his lotus feet & seek His bliss for well-being of all living-being of this Universe!
· Like· 3 people

.Poonam Matia :
salute to a gr8 freedom fighter............thanx sir for sharing such details with us

Naresh Matia likes this..

Alicia Pagdanganan :
I do not know him... But I salute him for being a good leader....

.Bishwa Nath Singh:
‎@Alicia! Only with that notion, I felt like focusing him so that people can recapitulate their memories.

Manjula Rishi :
I do remember reading about him in school and college and did and still do have a great deal respect for him. After reading your artical it reminded me of this great man. Thank you.

January 01,2011.

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