Gopal Krishna Gokhale was an Indian liberal political leader and a social reformer during the Indian Independence Movement. Gokhale was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and the founder of the Servants of India Society. ⁣

He was born in relatively poor family on 9 May 1866 in Kotluk village of Guhagar taluka in Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra.⁣

Gokhale became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1889, as a disciple of social reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade. ⁣

He was the leader of the moderate faction of the Congress party that advocated reforms by working with existing government institutions.⁣

Gokhale gave twenty years of his life to the work of Furgusson college. He taught Mathematics at first, and then for a time lectured on English and then turned his attention to History and Economics. In all the three he reached a high standard of efficiency. People called him a “professor to order”; because he had to change his subject so often. He believed true political change can only be achieved by educated future generations.⁣

In 1905, he founded the Servants of India Society to unite and train Indians of different ethnicities and religions in welfare work. It was the first secular organization in that country to devote itself to the underprivileged, rural and tribal people, and other social causes.⁣

He also published english weekly newspaper, The Hitavad (The people’s paper), from Nagpur commenced in 1911.⁣

Gokhale was famously a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi in the latter’s formative years. In 1912, Gokhale visited South Africa at Gandhi’s invitation and requested Gandhi to come back India and participate in freedom struggle.⁣

He was deeply concerned with the future of Congress after the split in Surat. He thought it’s necessary to unite the rival groups, and in this connection he sought the advice of Annie Besant. ⁣

He died on 19 February 1915. On his deathbed, he reportedly expressed to his friend Sethur a wish to see the Congress united. ⁣