Mentor to both Jinnah and Gandhi

Gokhale was famously a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi in his formative years. In 1912, Gokhale visited South Africa at Gandhi’s invitation. As a young barrister, Gandhi returned from his struggles against the Empire in South Africa and received personal guidance from Gokhale, including a knowledge and understanding of India and the issues confronting common Indians. By 1920, Gandhi emerged as the leader of the Indian Independence Movement. In his autobiography, Gandhi calls Gokhale his mentor and guide. Gandhi also recognised Gokhale as an admirable leader and master politician, describing him as ‘pure as crystal, gentle as a lamb, brave as a lion and chivalrous to a fault and the most perfect man in the political field’.[8]Despite his deep respect for Gokhale, however, Gandhi would reject Gokhale’s faith in western institutions as a means of achieving political reform and ultimately chose not to become a member of Gokhale’s Servants of India Society. [9] Gokhale was also the role model and mentor of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the future founder of Pakistan, who in 1912, aspired to become the “Muslim Gokhale”. Gokhale famously praised Jinnah as an “ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity.”