Many of them present features of special interest which deserve recognition, but I must be content to describe one of them to which the personality of its founder lends exceptional importance. This is the society of "The Servants of India," founded by Mr. Gokhale at Poona. Mr. Gokhale's career itself exemplifies the cross-currents that are often so perplexing a feature of Indian unrest.
Gokhale, who founded the society of "the Servants of India," dedicated chiefly to social reform, of which the beneficent activities have expanded steadily throughout a decade of political turmoil. His mantle fell on no unworthy shoulders, and it is a good omen that his chief disciple, Mr.
But before the Congress met again a disease common amongst Indians and aggravated by overwork and anxiety had carried away in April 1915, still in the prime of life, the founder of the "Servants of India Society," Mr. Gokhale, himself perhaps the greatest servant of India that has toiled in our time for her social as well as her political advancement.
When Tilak opened his first campaign of unrest in the Deccan by attacking the Hindu reformers, he found few stouter opponents than Mr. Gokhale, who was one of Ranade's staunchest disciples and supporters. Nor did Tilak ever forgive him. His newspapers never ceased to pursue him with relentless ferocity, and only last year Mr.
Gokhale, who had become one of the most influential leaders of the Moderate party, carried by far the greatest weight, and his premature death before the Commission completed its Report seriously impaired its usefulness.
M. G. K. Gokhale, in a keenly interesting paper read before the East India Association in the summer of 1906, states very definitely the point of view of educated Indians as regards our unfulfilled pledges of nearly eighty years since.
Whether, as Mr. Gokhale himself always contended, as a deliberate breach of the promise made to him by the principal Union Ministers, or as the result of a lamentable misunderstanding, measures were again taken in 1913 which led Mr. Gandhi to renew the struggle, and it assumed at once a far more serious character than ever before. It was then that Mr.
Gokhale tells us that to-day seven children out of eight are growing up in ignorance, and four villages out of five are as yet without a school-house.
Gokhale and the "moderate" party in the Congress, who had seen in the meantime to what lawlessness the boycott was leading, were anxious to undo or to mitigate at the Calcutta session what they had helped to do at Benares.
Gokhale that his fellow-countrymen for the most part still lack many essential qualifications for the successful discharge of those civic duties which are the corollary of the civic rights he claims for them.