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Gopal Ganesh Agarkar

Sangli, Maharashtra

October 07, 2022

Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was an educationist, freedom fighter, and social reformer. He was born on 14 July 1856, in Satara district (present-day Sangli) in Maharashtra.

In his early years, Agarkar developed a close relationship with Tilak. As college students, he and Tilak decided never to join government service and pledged to dedicate their lives to the education and independence of their country. Agarkar believed that education was a powerful weapon in the fight for independence, as it would give the Indians the confidence to question the British and thus strengthen the fight for freedom. Agarkar established the New English School in Pune along with Tilak and Vishnu Chiplunkar. In 1884, Agarkar and Tilak established the Deccan Education Society in Pune. The Society's members had to devote themselves entirely to the cause of education and teaching, despite low pays. Agarkar was also associated with the nationalist newspaper Kesari, first published in 1880. He used to write and edit, and his articles strongly endorsed the cause of national freedom and espoused national resistance to the British atrocities. During his lifetime, Agarkar was an active campaigner for social reforms, and believed in giving citizens their political rights. According to him India would not be able to rise and be free if casteism and religious superstitions were not eradicated. He felt that social reforms were necessary for political reforms. He started his own newspaper Sudharak (The Reformer), which challenged both untouchability and casteism.

In 1895, Agarkar passed away. He was a profound thinker who will always be remembered for his selfless service to the country.

Source: Indian Culture Portal