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GokhaleThe Indian Moderates and the British Raj$
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B. R. Nanda

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195647518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195647518.001.0001

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On the Congress Platform

On the Congress Platform

(p.67) 8 On the Congress Platform

B. R. Nanda

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes Gokhale’s participation in the Indian National Congress. His maiden speech on the Congress platform was delivered on 27 December 1889. He spoke in support of an amendment moved by Tilak to a resolution on the reform of the Governor-General’s Legislative Council. It was an uninspiring performance, but on the following day, when Gokhale criticized the Government of India’s action on the report of the Public Service Commission, he gave ample proof of his gifts as a speaker. The young professor–politician was developing his style as a speaker: mastery of facts; marshalling of arguments; a repertoire of literary and historical allusions; and a felicitous English style which was calculated to fascinate a generation of educated Indians. His diction was elegant, but he did not hesitate to call a political spade a spade.

Keywords:   Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Gokhale as speaker, Indian National Congress, political participation, Tilak, Legislative Council, Public Service Commission

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