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Gokhale: The Indian Moderates and the British Raj

Gokhale: The Indian Moderates and the British Raj

Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 536
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    Gokhale: The Indian Moderates and the British Raj
    Book Description:

    In this full biography of Gopal Krishna Gokhale reassesses the Indian political scene during the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. In focusing on the career of the preeminent leader of his time, B. R. Nanda surveys the Indian Nationalist movement during the years 1885-1915 and especially the developments within the Indian National Congress.

    The author's clear account of Indo-British relations spans the administrations of Lords Curzon, Minto, and Hardinge. Through vignettes of eminent Indian contemporaries, insights into attitudes of officials, and vividly described popular reactions to British policies, he captures the spirit of India's political life at the turn of the century.

    B. R. Nanda interweaves his discussion of Gokhale's ideas and actions with analysis of major events of the day. He considers the ferment in Maharashtra, the social reform movement, the conflict between Moderates and Extremists in the Indian National Congress, the crisis in the Punjab in 1907, and many other important topics. His book gives rare glimpses of two great friends of India, A. O. Hume and William Wedderburn. Materials from Indian as well as British sources illuminate the pre-Gandhian phase of the conflict between British imperialism and Indian nationalism.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7049-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    B. R. N.
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xii-xii)

    • 1 Early Life
      (pp. 3-8)

      It is now 10.30 p.m., and I am writing in a train after a long and exhausting day. I have presided for six hours at the budget meeting of the Legislative Council. The only speaker of the slightest merit whom we possess in Council is Mr Gokhale from Bombay. He is a very able and courageous person, a Mahratta Brahmin, a Congressman, as you remember, connected with Poona affairs…. But he is not, I believe, disloyal; he represents a very important stratum in Native thought and opinion; he is highly cultivated and not unreasonable….

      The date was 25 March 1903....

    • 2 Ferment in Maharashtra
      (pp. 9-13)

      Nearly fifty years before Gokhale’s birth the Maratha Confederacy had been overthrown and its territories had passed under the control of the East India Company. The successors of Shivaji lacked the qualities which had enabled him to carve out a kingdom in the Deccan. The Peshwas, who wrested power from the House of Shivaji, made themselves a power in the land, but could not sustain a strong, stable and well-knit administration. In the last phase of the Anglo-Maratha wars the actions of almost all the Maratha chiefs seemed to be dictated more by personal and dynastic ambitions than by patriotism...

    • 3 Emergence of the Educated Élite
      (pp. 14-25)

      Mountstuart Elphinstone, who, as the Commissioner of the Deccan and later as the Governor of Bombay, administered the territories conquered from the Peshwa, was no stranger to the Deccan. For ten years he had served as the British Resident at Poona. He had seen at first hand the authority and prestige enjoyed by the Brahmans, especially the Chitpavan Brahmans, who had a virtual monopoly of the best land and the best jobs under the Peshwas. Elphinstone had little love for the Brahmans. He was sceptical about their loyalty to the new regime and, as a good Christian, detested Brahmanical domination...

    • 4 The Indian Jesuits
      (pp. 26-38)

      The summer of 1879 was a turbulent one for India. A terrible famine, the result of repeated failures of the monsoon, was ravaging the land; the pent-up tensions of the viceroyalty of Lord Lytton seemed to have reached the breaking point. There was a crisis in Anglo-Afghan relations; three British armies were in Afghanistan, heading for a disaster, the echoes of which were to reverberate throughout the subcontinent. The imperial bombast of Lord Lytton was wearing thin; the racial slant of his policies particularly towards the vernacular press was too obvious to be missed by the Indian educated classes.


    • 5 Apprenticed to Ranade
      (pp. 39-50)

      ‘There are not half a dozen towns in India’, Allan Octavian Hume, the ‘Father of the Indian National Congress’, said in 1893, ‘that surpass Poona in intellectual development. There are thousands of men and women in Poona qualified to understand every particle of the Congress programme.’¹ In the spring of 1880, I. P. Minayeff, the Russian Indologist, had visited Poona and noted in his diary that the town was regarded a hotbed of treason by the British, that legends about its glorious past were still current in Maharashtra, that Phadke’s ‘rebellion’ was secretly admired even by those who considered it...

    • 6 The Young Politician
      (pp. 51-59)

      Eighteen eighty-nine, the year of Gokhale’s entry into the politics of Poona, was the last year of the administration of Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay. Lord Reay was a friend of Gladstone. He was by no means a pro-Congress Governor, but he had an easy and friendly manner with Indians and did not think the I.C.S. impeccable and infallible. Some of his early decisions, such as the raising of school fees and the refusal to transfer the Deccan College to Indian control, were unpopular, but he more than made up for them by conceding a liberal constitution to the municipality...

    • 7 Professor Gokhale
      (pp. 60-66)

      For the first ten years of its existence the Fergusson College was located in the old Gadre Wada in Shaniwarpeth with its old-world ornamental arches and overcrowded benches. It offered a complete contrast to the government-owned Deccan College. It could not boast of a hostel, a library or even a playing field; its teachers were young, inexperienced and without the high qualification and prestige of the English Principal and professors of the Deccan College. ‘A tinpot college’ was how the students of the Deccan College described the Fergusson College. However, the Fergusson College more than made up for what it...

    • 8 On the Congress Platform
      (pp. 67-71)

      The visits of Hume and Naoroji were reminders of the ties between Poona and the Indian National Congress. It was at the annual sessions of the Congress that Gokhale experienced a sense of participation in national politics.

      In November 1888, even before he was elected secretary of the Sarvajanik Sabha, Gokhale attended the first Provincial Conference at Poona, which elected delegates to the Allahabad Congress. He moved one of the important resolutions at the Provincial Conference and was elected its joint secretary.¹ Gokhale could not, however, attend the Allahabad Congress. The following year, in the Christmas week of 1889, when...

    • 9 The Great Split
      (pp. 72-87)

      In the long-drawn-out controversy between Agarkar and Tilak differences on social reform had not figured prominently, though they undoubtedly contributed to mutual misunderstanding and bitterness. After Tilak was forced out of the Deccan Education Society in 1890, social reform increasingly became a wedge in the public life of Poona.

      It is not easy for us to imagine the feelings of those who attacked and those who defended orthodox customs and ritual eighty years ago. Under Muslim rule, Hindu society had developed a defensive dogmatism and rigidity. As a system of thought Hinduism continued to be liberal, but as a social...

  6. 10 The Rising Star
    (pp. 88-101)

    Within three years of the foundation of the Indian National Congress, A. O. Hume had come to the melancholy conclusion that it was futile to address petitions and protests to the Government of India in Calcutta or Simla. He decided to appeal to public opinion in India and England over the head of the bureaucracy. The unchanging and unchangeable bureaucracy in India was impervious to Congress agitation; if any reforms were to come at all, it was obvious they would have to be through the pressure of public opinion in England. Distinguished parliamentarians such as Burke, Bright, Fawcett and Bradlaugh...

  7. 11 Eclipsed
    (pp. 102-117)

    In his evidence before the Welby Commission Gokhale had referred to the terrible famine of 1896-7, officially described at the time as the most disastrous in a century¹ which was no stranger to famines in India. An area of more than half a million square miles, inhabited by nearly 97 million people, was affected. Some of the worst-affected districts were in the Deccan. Wedderburn, Naoroji and their friends of the British Committee of the Congress, who kept a watching brief for India in England, were naturally anxious about conditions in India; it was their pressure which led to the foundation...

  8. 12 The Clouds Lift
    (pp. 118-132)

    Eighteen ninety-seven had been a trying year for Poona and its leaders. It had brought famine, plague, search parties of soldiers and the punitive police. To Gokhale it had brought public humiliation and political eclipse; to his rival, Tilak, it had brought arrest and imprisonment. Tilak was prosecuted for the ‘seditious’ tone of certain articles in theKesari; but it was obvious to all that he was being made a scapegoat for the authorities’ failure to capture Rand’s assassins. Governor Sandhurst and his officers were resolved to make an example of TiIak who appeared to them the epitome of the...

  9. 13 Triumph
    (pp. 133-142)

    On 20 December 1901, ‘the Hon’ble Mr Gopal Krishna Gokhale’ took his seat in the Council of the Governor-General as ‘an Additional Member’. The ‘Supreme Council’ or the ‘Imperial Council’, as it was called, had been set up under the Indian Councils Act of 1892. The word 'election' did not figure in the Act of the British Parliament nor in the regulations issued under it. Of the twenty-four councillors, nineteen were officials of the government or its nominees. Of the remaining five, one represented British commercial interests through the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, and four were appointed by the Governor-General...


    • 14 Gokhale Comes of Age
      (pp. 145-153)

      The Imperial Council met in Calcutta during the last week of December and adjourned at the end of March when the Viceroy and his colleagues left for Simla for the summer. From 1902 onwards Gokhale was to spend the best part of winter not in Poona, but in Calcutta. Calcutta was the seat of the provincial and the central governments and the heart of commerce of the ‘Indian Empire’. The gulf between Indians and the Europeans was much wider in Calcutta than in Bombay. Gokhale’s privileged position as a member of the Imperial Council gave him access to the highest...

    • 15 Wanted, A Leader
      (pp. 154-168)

      The nineteenth session of the Indian National Congress was held in Madras during the last week of December 1903. ‘The Congress was a great failure’, Lord Ampthill, the Governor of Madras, reported to Lord Curzon, ‘and it is a question whether the President’s speech or the cyclone storm administered the greatest douche of cold water to the assembled delegates.’¹ Lord Ampthill was by no means a sympathetic observer, but his verdict was endorsed by friendly critics. TheHindustan Reviewdistinguished the Madras session from all its predecessors as a ‘distinct and dismal failure’.²

      Gokhale did not go to Madras, but...

    • 16 Servants of India
      (pp. 169-176)

      By 1904 it was clear to Gokhale that the Indian National Congress was losing its influence in India, and its branch in England, the British Committee, was on the verge of insolvency and collapse. The apathy of the Congress organization between the annual sessions was deplorable enough, but even the ‘three-day Congress festival’ was ceasing to be impressive. Many of the Congress leaders were well-meaning and patriotic, and some of them were really able and eloquent, but they tended to treat politics as an occasional diversion from their personal and professional preoccupations. Indian universities turned out every year hundreds of...

  11. 17 Clash with Curzon
    (pp. 177-186)

    Gokhale’s election to the Bombay Council in 1899 had marked the beginning of his political rehabilitation after his eclipse over the ‘apology incident’. Six years later, when he presided over the Benares session of the Indian National Congress, he may be said to have climbed the top rung of the political ladder. His rise to political eminence thus almost exactly coincided with the term of Lord Curzon as the Viceroy of India.

    The viceroyalty of India was a prize which Curzon had long coveted. He had formed a romantic image of the Indian Empire in his schooldays at Eton; he...

  12. 18 Envoy Extraordinary
    (pp. 187-201)

    By the summer of 1904 Indian nationalists had despaired of a favourable response to their demands from Lord Curzon or the Conservative Government in Whitehall. Things looked really bleak, but fortunately, as the year wore on, British politics took a hopeful turn. The Conservative party found itself in difficulties; it was split down the middle by Joseph Chamberlain’s campaign for ‘imperial preference’; it lost the goodwill of the nonconformists on temperance and of the working class on the import of Chinese labour to work in South African mines. The days of the Balfour ministry seemed numbered, and a general election...

  13. 19 Congress President
    (pp. 202-211)

    Gokhale had been elected president of the Benares Congress only a few days before he sailed for England. ‘The Presidential speech’, he wrote to N. A. Dravid from s.s.Caledoniaon 26 September 1905, ‘is fermenting in the head and some of the ideas are already taking a definite shape. But the thought of the responsibility is oppressive and God alone knows how it will be discharged in the end.’¹ How oppressive the responsibility was to be was mercifully hidden from him at that time. During the next three months, while he campaigned on behalf of the Congress in England,...

  14. 20 Advocate for India
    (pp. 212-220)

    In the last months of his viceroyalty, Curzon had so thoroughly alienated large sections of Indian opinion that almost any Viceroy following him would have been popular. Lord Minto did not have Curzon’s dominating personality, intellectual stamina and demoniac energy, but he was also free from his predecessor’s flamboyance, conceit and irascibility. Soon after his arrival in India, the new Viceroy stumbled upon the key to popularity which had eluded Curzon for six years. ‘It takes a very short time in this country’, Minto wrote, ‘to realize how much may be done by a sympathetic appreciation of existing conditions.’¹ He...

  15. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)

    • 21 Morley’s Dilemma
      (pp. 223-240)

      The victory of the Liberal party in the general election of 1905 thrilled the Indian intelligentsia. Reared on the works of Burke, Macaulay and Mill, it tended to see English history as a triumphal procession from autocratic and feudal rule to constitutional government and democracy. It associated the Liberal party with the best in English politics and indeed in English character. Few educated Indians could speak of Lord Ripon without emotion, and for many years it was not unusual for the annual Congress sessions to conclude with three cheers for the Queen or for Mr Gladstone. When a collection of...

    • 22 The Extremist Challenge
      (pp. 241-252)

      There was little to cheer Gokhale when he left England at the end of August 1906. Not only had Morley failed to rectify the mistakes of the Tory regime in India; he had asked for a moratorium on all political agitation for a couple of years so that he and Minto could work out a scheme of reforms. Little did Morley realize that the mood of Indian nationalists, sick with hope long deferred, was already turning into one of weariness, frustration and even bitterness. The impression was growing that constitutional reforms would not be conceded by Britain and would have...

    • 23 The Widening Rift
      (pp. 253-267)

      ‘You have not returned a day too early’, R. N. Mudholkar, the Moderate leader from Berar, wrote to Gokhale on 14 September 1906. ‘During your absence events have moved fast, and far into the sea of trouble is the ship of Congress gone.’¹ Mudholkar was referring to dissensions within the Congress organization which were undermining its unity and raising a big question-mark over the next annual session due to be held at Calcutta in December 1906.

      It was at the Benares session, over which Gokhale had presided, that the 1906 Congress was invited to Calcutta. Surendranath Banerjea, Bhupendranath Basu and...

    • 24 Crisis in the Raj
      (pp. 268-278)

      While Gokhale and Wedderburn were scanning the political horizon for a generous gesture from the Liberal Government, India was hit by a political storm which threatened to cut the ground from under the feet of the Moderate leadership. The storm was caused by the arrest on 9 May 1907 of Lajpat Rai, the most prominent Congress leader of the Punjab and his deportation, without a trial, to Burma. The weeks which followed this drastic step were among the tensest and most strenuous of Gokhale’s life. He had to batter against the wall of official prejudice; his own aims and motives...

    • 25 Road to Surat
      (pp. 279-295)

      While Gokhale grappled with the crisis caused by Lajpat Rai’s deportation, another and a more serious crisis which was to have far-reaching consequences was brewing in the Congress. At the Calcutta session in December 1906 it had been decided, at the request of the Moderate leaders of the Central Provinces, to convene the next Congress session at Nagpur. This invitation was in fact a Moderate manoeuvre to prevent the Congress from being held at Lahore, where the Extremist influence had been growing since the partition of Bengal. G. M. Chitnavis and his friends, who controlled Congress affairs in the Central...

    • 26 Reforms on the Anvil
      (pp. 296-313)

      In the heat and dust raised by the deportation of Lajpat Rai and the Moderate-Extremist conflict, the issue of constitutional reforms seemed to have receded to the background. But it was soon to dominate the political scene again. Towards the end of August 1907, the Government of India’s dispatch of 21 March 1907 to the Secretary of State on constitutional reforms was published, and the decision to appoint two Indians to the Secretary of State’s Council announced. Early in September 1907, a Royal Commission was appointed to report on decentralization of the Indian administration.

      These announcements failed to evoke much...

    • 27 Climax
      (pp. 314-319)

      ‘We have now fairly raised the curtain’, Morley wrote on 18 February 1909, ‘and our play has begun. The Councils Bill was read formally a first time in H. of L. [House of Lords] last night.’¹ The second reading was postponed by a couple of days to enable Curzon to take part in the discussion. Morley noted that his audience, including as it did a number of former Viceroys and Governors, was ‘rather brilliant, and very attentive, but not over-sympathetic …’² Lords Reay and Ampthill supported the bill, but Lords Macdonell, Northcote, Harris and Sandhurst were critical. Lansdowne did not...

    • 28 Origins of Muslim Separatism
      (pp. 320-336)

      When Gokhale was being initiated into the politics of the Deccan in the late 1880s, the first confrontation had already taken place between Indian nationalism as represented by the Indian National Congress, and Muslim separatism as represented by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and other Muslim leaders. Only two Muslim delegates attended the first Congress session in 1885; the number rose to 33 at the second session in 1886, and 79 at the third session in 1887, over which a prominent Muslim leader of Bombay, Badruddin Tyabji, presided. The bulk of the Muslim elite in India, however, followed Sir Syed’s lead...

    • 29 Gokhale and the Communal Problem
      (pp. 337-343)

      Nearly three months before the Viceroy received the Muslim deputation, indeed even before Mohsin-ul-Mulk sought the assistance of Principal Archbold in arranging an interview with the Viceroy, Gokhale, in a speech in London, had hailed the awakening of the Muslims of Aligarh to the necessity of political agitation as a significant sign of the times. ‘It is most improbable’, he told the East India Association, ‘that the Aligarh programme when drawn up will be found to be substantially different from the Congress programme, and though the new organization may maintain its separate existence for a while, it must inevitably merge...

    • 30 Separate Electorates
      (pp. 344-353)

      An event destined to change the face of the Indian sub-continent occurred four days before Gokhale’s arrival in England in 1908, but was scarcely noticed at the time. This was the opening of a branch of the All-India Muslim League at 42 Queen Anne’s Chamber, Westminster. The president—and the prime mover—of the London branch was Syed Ameer Ali, a barrister and a former judge of the Calcutta High Court, who had consistently advised his co-religionists to take to western education, but to keep clear of the Indian National Congress. Like Syed Ahmed Khan, he counted on British support...

    • 31 Anticlimax
      (pp. 354-360)

      On 25 January 1910 Gokhale attended the first meeting of the Imperial Council after its reconstitution under the Act of 1909. The new Council was very different from the one Gokhale had known for eight years. British officials and their nominees maintained their majority, but the number of members had more than doubled. There were more Indian members and there were greater opportunities for the discussion of official policies and resolutions. The new seating arrangement imparted to the council the appearance of a deliberative chamber rather than that of an official committee. Minto gave a vivid pen-picture of the inaugural...

    • 32 A House Divided Against Itself
      (pp. 361-371)

      If the ‘reformed’ legislatures belied Gokhale’s hopes, the ‘reformed’ Congress proved a still greater disappointment. He had returned from the Surat Congress more in sorrow than anger, but most of his Moderate colleagues were in a bellicose and vindictive mood. ‘Mr Tilak and his followers’, Krishnaswami Aiyer wrote in theMadras Standardin January 1908, ‘are like a diseased limb gangrened to the core, which ought to be amputated.’¹ Two months later Tilak called on R. C. Dutt and pleaded for arapprochementbetween the two parties. ‘All that he got from me’, Dutt wrote to Gokhale, ‘was my firm...

    • 33 Détente
      (pp. 372-377)

      Gokhale’s policy of general conciliation, which the Allahabad Congress had endorsed, happened to fit in with the changes in the British official hierarchy. Morley had resigned from the Liberal Cabinet in September 1910. By that time the constitutional reforms which he had piloted through the British Parliament had already lost much of their glitter. His inflexible stand on the partition of Bengal and his ostensible support to the repressive measures of the Minto regime during the years 1907-10 had damaged his prestige in nationalist circles in India.

      Not many tears were, therefore, shed over Morley’s departure from the India Office....

    • 34 Leader of the Opposition
      (pp. 378-385)

      Gokhale saw in the ‘reformed’ legislative councils an instrument of constructive cooperation between the educated classes and the government. These councils, however, proved more conservative than he expected. The Imperial Council had a solid official bloc consisting of seven Executive Councillors, eight representatives of the provincial governments and nineteen officials of the Government of India. Since the government could also count on most of the representatives of the European Chambers of Commerce, the landholding classes and the Muslim community, it had an overwhelming majority in a legislature consisting of only sixty members. Men like Malik Umar Hyat Khan Tiwana, Nawab...

    • 35 Educating the Masses
      (pp. 386-394)

      Gokhale started life as a teacher and taught at the New English School and the Fergusson College for nearly eight years. There was scarcely an aspect of the Indian educational system to which he had not given thought. He had pleaded for the extension of female, technical, and higher education. Above all, he had advocated the diffusion of elementary education among the Indian masses. As early as 1896, when invited to deliver the annual address to the Bombay Graduates Association, Gokhale chose ‘Education in India’ as his subject. ‘To us’, he had declared, ‘it [the spread of primary education] means...


    • 36 Educating the British
      (pp. 397-406)

      Gokhale had long been thinking of visiting England to canvass support for his education bill. Early in 1912 he had strong reasons for undertaking this trip. His friends were anxious about his failing health, and begged him not to drive himself too hard. ‘I wish’, he wrote in 1910 to Krishnaswamy Aiyer, ‘I could tear myself off from all work as you suggest and I cannot tell you how I long for thesanti[peace] that you speak of. The time for this, however, is not yet for me. A couple of years may make the situation easier and then...

    • 37 Gandhi and Gokhale
      (pp. 407-421)

      On 3 September 1893, Ranade read a paper on ‘Indian Foreign Emigration’ before the third conference of the Industrial Association of Western India. ‘Few people are aware’, he observed, ‘of the comparative magnitude of relief ... afforded to our surplus population, and of the magnificent field for extension [of emigration], which is opening before our vision in the possibilities of the future. In this respect the expansion of the British Empire is a direct gain to the mass of the population of this country.’¹

      This paper was published in theQuarterly Journal of the Poona Sarvajanik Sabhaof which Gokhale...

    • 38 Crisis in South Africa
      (pp. 422-434)

      Gokhale returned from South Africa on 13 December 1912 in a mood of sober optimism. He told a correspondent of theTimes of Indiathat he had been heartened by the desire he had noticed in a section of the European population in South Africa in favour of a reasonable settlement of the Indian grievances. Bombay gave Gokhale a magnificent welcome. On 14 December 1912 a meeting was held in his honour at the Town Hall which was packed to capacity; hundreds, unable to gain admission, waited outside. Jamsetji Jejeebhoy, the Parsi baronet, presided and among those present were Jehangir...

    • 39 The Last Battle
      (pp. 435-450)

      While the South African crisis was at its height, Lord Willingdon, the Governor of Bombay, wrote enthusiastically to Lord Hardinge about a meeting he had had with Gokhale. ‘I am glad’, Hardinge replied on 14 November 1913, ‘that you saw Gokhale and that you like him. I like him too. But my confidence in him has certain limitations. I know what his ultimate aims & objects are, although he bides his time, & these are inconsistent with the prolongation of the British Raj.’¹

      That the Viceroy should have expressed such distrust of Gokhale at a time when he was receiving the fullest...

    • 40 No Reunion
      (pp. 451-460)

      When Gokhale returned to India in November 1914, three months after the outbreak of the war, it was still too soon for people to visualize the tremendous changes the war was to bring about. However, many thinking people felt that in the face of the world crisis the country should stand united. There had already been a thaw in Hindu-Muslim relations as a sequel to the Balkan wars, and arapprochementbetween the All-India Muslim League and the Indian National Congress was on the cards. But the gulf which divided the Moderates and the Extremists within the Congress remained unbridged....

    • 41 Last Days
      (pp. 461-470)

      The outbreak of the war in Europe, the deadlock in the Royal Commission, and the failure of the negotiations initiated by Annie Besant for a united Congress combined to make the political landscape in early 1915 a bleak one, but Gokhale was not unduly depressed. Ever since the partition of Bengal, Indian politics had been tricky and unpredictable. But he had never given up hope; this was partly due to the fact that he took long-term views and could thus take setbacks and failures in his stride. He had a firm conviction that ultimately the destiny of India would be...

    • 42 ‘The Greatest Indian’
      (pp. 471-479)

      ‘Mr Gokhale was the greatest leader that India has ever produced,’ wrote theStatesmanon 21 February 1915, ‘perhaps her greatest man.’¹ A few days later, at a memorial meeting in London, Sir Krishna Gupta, a member of the India Council, referred to Gokhale as the greatest Indian of his time. Obituaries and memorial tributes often need to be discounted, but there is no doubt that at the time of his death, and indeed for nearly a decade before it, Gokhale occupied a unique place in the public life of India. ‘You know’, Mrs Besant had pleaded with him in...

    • 43 The End of an Era
      (pp. 480-494)

      Within nine months of Gokhale’s death, the Moderates suffered another shattering blow. Pherozeshah Mehta died on 5 November 1915. Most of the Congress veterans were dead or dying. Telang, Ranade, Bonnerjee, Badruddin Tyabji, R. C. Dutt, Ananda Charlu, Anand Mohan Bose and A. O. Hume had already gone. Old Dadabhai Naoroji, living in retirement near Bombay, lingered on awhile, and Wedderburn gallantly carried on the work of the British Committee of the Congress until his death in 1918. But the Moderate era had really ended.

      The Moderates had taken India half-way to freedom, but circumstances conspired to deprive them of...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 495-506)
  19. Index
    (pp. 507-520)