Pune is home to several museums dedicated to national leaders and freedom fighters, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, among others, as well as artists, sportsmen and defence personnel. Adding to this long list is yet another museum, dedicated to Gopal Krishna Gokhale, which will come up on the campus of Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE).
The museum has a special link to the eminent social leader — it will be located in the house where Gokhale lived in the early 1900s. Even today, the elegant house with a sloping roof, located in a corner of GIPE, continues to stand apart, even as it undergoes final touches of renovation.
Gokhale, one of the prominent names in India’s freedom struggle, lived here between 1907 and 1915. Along with being a member of the Indian National Congress (INC), he also taught at the Fergusson College after graduating in 1884. Under the guidance of his mentor Mahadev Govind Ranade, he was instrumental in establishing the Servants of India Society (SIS) in 1905.
Confirming the development, Rajas Parchure, director of GIPE, said, “The society was awarded a grant from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to convert Gokhale’s residence into a museum.”
The Heritage Cell of the civic body had begun restoration and renovation works of the residence a few months ago, after the PMC provided a grant of Rs 25 lakh last year.
One of the senior experts from PMC’s Heritage Cell, who was involved with the project, said, “The restoration and renovation works are underway and the first phase should be completed by September this year.”
The home already has over 100 of Gokhale’s photographs, showcasing his life and explaining his political, literary and academic associations. Some of the pictures also have eminent personalities like freedom fighter Balgangadhar Tilak and S Radhakrishnan, the country’s first vice-president.
The museum will also have several of Gokhale’s personal gifts and items on display, said Milind Deshpande, secretary of SIS.
“Along with his well-known pagdi and personal utility items and gifts, the museum will also showcase some of his prestigious awards ,” informed Deshpande.