Gokhales of Aundh


The house of Shri Ramchandra Janarthan Gokhale at Aundh in delapidated condition.

The Gokhales were the second largest clan of Konkan Brahmins to migrate from the coast to the ghats. They were educated intellectuals with very high social and moral values. They were advisors, record keepers, religious counsellors, priests and administrators in the Maratha Nation.

 

Gokhales were initially associated with the Peshwas and later with the princely state of Aundh for generations.

 

History records Narhar Ganesh Gokhale popularly known as Bapu Gokhale as the last senapati (General) of the Maratha kingdom under Peshwa Baji Rao II. In its last war against the East India Company (Third Anglo-Maratha War 1817-1818) which saw the largest army ever amassed by the British, Bapu Gokhale as the senapati of the Marathas fought to his last breath and attained martyrdom.

Another famous Gokhale of the Maratha region was Vishnu Bhikaji Gokhale, who was famous as Vishnubuva Bramhachari born in the year 1825.

 

Vishnubuva Brahmachari as a social reformer showed a remarkable sense of independence of mind in rejecting a number of traditional ideas and customs. In his view, caste should be determined by a person's qualities, and not by his birth. He favoured female education and upheld the right of girls to be consulted in the choice of their husbands. He also opposed the custom of Sati and favoured widow remarriage. He was a prolific writer. Among his famous works was Vedokta Dharmaprakasha (the Principle of Hindu Religion) published in 1864. In a very interesting essay on 'Beneficial Government' (Marathi) he put forward ideas such as 'One home and all citizens as one family'.

 

Members of the Gokhale family always held an important position in the Maratha region as educationists, advisors, administrators and priests to several rulers of the Maratha Nation.

 


The Ram Mandir at Aundh village.

Ganesh Shastri Gokhale , the Patriarch of the family (that is the subject of this website) came to Aundh during the reign of Shri Parashuramrao Shrinivas (Thote Pant Pratinidhi )". He was a Vydh (Doctor) of high repute. The legend says he was blessed with medical and medicinal skills by the Velneshwarnath during his tirth yatra there. He had a vision in a dream, that lead to discovery of a 2000 year old Ram Mandir with a swayambhu Murthsi of Lord Rama, mother Sita and Laxmana. He proposed the Ram Mandir project to Shriman Parashuramrao Shrinivas (Thote Pant Pratinidhi ) and with his support and aid he constructed the Ram Mandir at Aundh which still exists to this day.

 

The descendents of Ganesh Shastri Gokhale continued to serve the rulers of Aundh in diverse capacities till the State Merged with Indian Union in 1948.