Gopal Krishna Gokhale was one of the leading lights of the Indian Independence Movement. He was a senior freedom fighter and also a respected leader of the Indian National Congress. He was widely respected because of his knowledge and intellect. Gopal Krishna Gokhale was also considered as the political Guru of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He was one of the founding leaders of the Indian independence movement. He was not just a political leader but also a social reformer. Gopal Krishna Gokhale was born to Krishna Rao and Valubai in Kothluk in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. After receiving his early education in Kothaout, he moved to Bombay for higher studies. It is said that Gopal Krishna Gokhale was one of the first Indians to complete graduation and that is no mean achievement.
Gokhale completed his graduation in arts from the Elphinstone College, Bombay. Thereafter, he joined Fergusson College, Poona as professor of history and political economy. His higher knowledge base made him see all the spheres of Indian freedom movement. He had a keen eye for effects of virtues like liberty, democracy and parliamentary system of the government. Gopal Krishna Gokhale considered Mahadev Govind Ranade as his ‘Guru’. Ranade was a great leader and scholar. He was also renowned social reformer. Together, they worked in establishing ‘Servants of India Society’ and in a quarterly Journal, called ‘Sarvajanik’.
Gokhale was a prominent face of the Indian National Congress. He consistently raised his voice against the policies of British government. He was also sent to England on behalf of Congress to present India’s constitutional demands among the British leaders. His efforts led to formation of Minto-Morley Reforms of 1909. His perseverance ensured that Indians had access to seats of the highest authority within the government.
The first meeting between two stalwarts of Indian freedom movement, Gokhale and Gandhi took place in South Africa in 1912. Gopal Krishna Gokhale made Mahatma Gandhi aware of issues faced by the people of India. No wonder, Gandhi Ji, considered him as his ‘Mentor and Guide’ in his autobiography. Gokhale also played a crucial role in shaping the beliefs and ideologies of Jinnah. Gopal Krishna Gokhale finally, passed away on February 19, 1915, but before that he ensured that nation was on its way to attain freedom.