Gopal Hari Desmukh (1823-92), popularly known as “Lokahitawadi”, was a product of the Western learning in India. He was a judge and a member of the Governor-General’s Council in 1880. As a votary of national self-reliance, he attended the Delhi Durbar in 1876, wearing handspun khadi.

A great social reformer and rational thinker, “Lokahitawadi” urged the people to be self-reliant and seek Western learning. These were, in his view, tools for cultivating a rational outlook and for solving the country’s pressing problems. He advocated humanitarianism and social service as the two driving forces in India. A profound scholar, he wrote hundreds of articles on social issues and volumes on history. In his essays, “Lokahitawadi” deplored the prevalent ignorance, the hold of outdated social values, the dominance of religion in social life, and the selfishness of the upper classes. He supported the cause of women and advocated female education.