Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915) was one of the leading liberal and nationalist politician and public intellectuals of his times. His ideas influenced both Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founding fathers of India and Pakistan respectively. In that sense, Gokhale truly deserves the title of the maker of modern South Asia.
Born in a poor Brahmin family, Gokhale was part of the first generation of Indians to receive a university education. His training at the Elphinstone College, completed in 1884, brought him in touch with the ideas of Mill and Burke. In the same year, Tilak and Agarkar had founded the Deccan Education Society. A year later, Gokhale joined one of the society-run schools as a teacher. Social reformer and Gokhale’s mentor Mahadev Govind Ranade had founded the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha in 1870. He appointed Gokhale the editor of the quarterly journal of the Sabha in 1889. Gokhale went on to attend his first session of Indian National Congress in the same year.