H. A. L. FISHER.
In talent and character, he was extraordinary, combining in a singular degree the visionary qualities of the Indian life. Even in India, where saints are not uncommon, Gokhale's saintliness shone with a peculiar lustre, for not only was he utterly disinterested in his pursuits of patriot ends. carring nothing for wealth and station, but his rare spiritual intensity was united to a subtlety of mind, a quite grasp of detail, and a gift for action, qualities that are not usually associated with the devotional temperament of the East.
That he was a great orator, I can well believe, for his use of English was exact and brilliant and entirely free from the redundancy and magniloquence which is sometimes imputed to Indian eloquence. Thought his training was mathematical, he was well read in modern historical and political literature... Yet neither in learning, nor in the conduct of affairs had he any touch of pedantry.
In the general commerce of life there could be no more gracious or easy companion. But though he could adapt his conversation to circumstances and have a pretty gift of delicate humour, he always contrived to make you feel that he was living in an atmosphere of his own.
In politics he might be described as mid-Victorian radical, owing intellectual allegiance to J. S. Mill, but also largely influenced by Mazzini, whom he resembled in moral intensity and fervour. He made no secret of his ambitions for India. Believing in Parliamentary institutions, he desired to see India become a self- governing member of the British Empire after the model of Canada of Australia.
Critics have urged that he was vain of applause- an allegation brought against all orators; and he was also hypersensitive and of a combustible temper, these qualities which also belong to the soul of an orator, were never so developed as to make him intractable. His friends will long remember him with affectionate regret as one of the best and noblest of men, an honour to India in whose service he laboured and to Great Britain, from whose thinkers ans poets, he derived no small part of his inspiration.