Gopal Krishna Gokhale was an important member of the Indian National Congress during the period before the Indian independence movement. Gokhale was more concerned with improving social and cultural institutions in India than he was in Indian nationalism and independence. For this reason, Gokhale worked with British authorities on a regular basis in an attempt to improve the lives of Indians. His biggest contribution to India was his effort to reform India’s education system. Despite an illustrious political career, his counseling of Gandhi during his formative political years impacted the independence movement.
The greatest connection between Gokhale and independence was in his mentorship of Mahatma Gandhi, who is almost universally accepted as the father of an independent India. Gokhale and Gandhi did not see eye to eye on how India would become free. Despite their differences, by Gandhi’s own admission, Gokhale played a remarkable role in his skill as a political leader. It was Gokhale that funded many of Gandhi’s programs through the Indian National Congress. Gandhi returned from South Africa at Gokhale’s behest and funding. While Gokhale is not as recognized or important in India’s history as Gadhi, it is possible Gandhi would not have been the powerful leader he was without Gokhale’s tutelage.