Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was a social reformer and journalist from the state of Maharashtra. He was the first editor of the famous Marathi newspaper ‘Kesari’, but due to ideological differences with Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he left the editorship of Kesari and started publishing a magazine called ‘Sudharak’. He was a founding member of the “Deacon Education Society” of Vishnu Krishna Chiplunkar and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He was the co-founder and first principal of Ferguson College.
Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was born on July 14, 1856 in a poor ‘Komna, Brahmin’ family in ‘Tambhu’ village of Satara district of Maharashtra. His father’s name was ‘Ganeshrao Agarkar’ and mother’s name was ‘Saraswati Agarkar’. He was married in 1877 to a daughter named ‘Yashoda’. He had his primary education at the Primary School in Karad. He worked as a clerk in a court in Karad. After that he went to Ratnagiri, but could not get education there. He completed his B.A. in 1878. And in the year 1880, M.A. did. Later spent all his life in the service of the society.
Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was once a close associate of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, co-founder of educational institutions such as New English School, Deccan Education Society and Ferguson College. Along with this he also worked with Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Mahadev Ballal Namjoshi, V.S. Apte, V.B. Kelkar, MS. Gole and N.K. Dharap helped a lot. He was the first editor of the weekly ‘Kesari’ and the founder and editor of ‘Sudharak’. He was the second principal of Ferguson College and held that position from August 1892 until his death.
Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was the first editor of Kesari, a leading Marathi weekly newspaper, which was founded by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1880–81. Ideological differences with Bal Gangadhar Tilak left him later. He started his periodical ‘Sudhakar’, in which he campaigned against untouchability and the injustice of the caste system. He supported widow remarriage.
Gopal Ganesh Agarkar also wrote a book ‘Alankar Mimamsa’.
- In 1880, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar established the ‘New English School’ in Pune.
- In 1881, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar started ‘Kesari’ in Marathi language and ‘Maratha’ weekly in English language. The responsibility of editing the post of ‘Kesari’ fell on Gopal Ganesh Agarkar.
- In 1884, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar founded the Deccan Education Society of Pune. Similarly, in 1885, Fergusson College was opened on behalf of this institution in Pune itself.
- In 1888, he started his own independent weekly named ‘Sudharak’. ‘Reformers’ were famous in both Marathi and English languages.
- Further, the first principal of Ferguson College, V.S. Apte died suddenly in 1892. After that Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was appointed as the principal.
- Gopal Ganesh Agarkar had opposed the evil traditions and customs like child marriage, shaving, racial discrimination, untouchability in Indian society.
Gopal Ganesh Agarkar died on 17 June 1895.