GOPAL KRISHNA GOKHALE, a great liberal and parliamentarian, was a disciple of Justice Renade. Mahatma Gandhi regarded him as his political 'guru'
Gokhlae's rise to the national political stage was swift. He became the general secretary of the Indian National Congress and then its president at a very young age. His thoughts grasp of the economic and administrative problems facing India were recognized both by the members of the British Parliament and his countrymen. He was the most active member of the central legislature, where he was unofficially recognised as a leader of the opposition. Though mild by temperament, he did not compromise on his principles. It was Gokhlae who gave the call for spiritualization of politics and did not stop at preaching this doctrine but put it into practice by founding the 'Servants of India Society' which was aimed at creating a team of dedicated political and social workers inspired by lofty idealism and missionary zeal.
Though Gokhale was under the spell of Justice Ranade and Dadabhai Naroji, he carved from himself a niche in the political life of India. He was an eloquent speaker who avoided appealing to sentiments. His appeal was to reason. Being a mathematician, the statistical figures came alive to him; nonetheless his speeches were never prosaic or boring. It was his axiom that his generation had to suffer reverses so that the generations to come to reap the benefits. The task before him was daunting. But he and the liberals of his generation succeeded in nailing the moral bankruptcy of imperialism.
It is noteworthy that this book is being published in the centenary year of the Servants of India Society. The book depicts the life of Gokhale in the context of the situation prevalent in India and England and also of the dominant ideologies of the time. The writer has made an extensive use of English and Marathi sources, some of which were untouched before to throw a new light on Gokhale's personality and achievements.
About the Author:
Born in 1925, Govind Talwalkar graduated from the University of Mumbai and joined as an apprentice journalist in Navbharat, an intellectual monthly started by Shankarrao Dev in Pune. After a twelve year stint in Loksatta, he was invited in 1962 to be an assistant editor of Maharashtra Times, of the Times of India group. In 1968 he was appointed editor. He retired in 1996.
His long and distinguished tenure has left an indelible mark on the cultural life of Maharashtra. His writings were avidly read and discussed for their style and incisive analysis. Conscious of his social responsibility, Talwalkar championed the cause of landless labourers and the famine stricken people. Though he was impressed by the famine stricken people. Though he was impressed by the analytical writings of M.N. Roy, he always remained a non-conformist. He made Maharashtra Times an open intellectual forum. Distinguished writers, economists, sociologists and political thinkers of different hues were happy to contribute. He took a broad view, shunned parochialism and was eager to keep his readers abreast of the modern intellectual trends in the world. He accepted that 'of all the nationalism, cultural nationalism is the worst'. Hence, though sympathetic of legitimate nationalist aspirations, he remained a liberal and a humanist.
Talwalkar has written several books in Marathi including The Transfer of Power (3 vols.) and Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire (4 vols.)
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