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Dadabhai Naoroji, 1892.

Dadabhai Naoroji (4 September 1825 – 30 June 1917), known as the "Grand Old Man of India", was a Parsi intellectual, educator, cotton trader, and an early Indian political leader. His book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India brought attention to the draining of India's wealth into Britain. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commons between 1892 and 1895, and the first Asian to be a British MP.[1] He is also credited with the founding of the Indian National Congress, along with A.O. Hume and Dinshaw Edulji Wacha.

Contents

Early years

Naoroji was the son of Maneckbai and Naoroji Palanji Dordi, born into a poor family of Parsi-Zoroastrian priests in Navsari in Southern Gujarat. His father died when he was four, leaving his illiterate mother to raise him.[2] Naoroji was educated at Elphinstone College, Mumbai. At the early age of 25, he was appointed leading Professor at the Elphinstone Institution in 1850, becoming the first Indian to hold such an academic position.[3] Being an Athornan (ordained priest), Naoroji founded the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path) on 1 August 1851 to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its original purity and simplicity. In 1854, he also founded a fortnightly publication, the Rast Goftar (or The Truth Teller), to clarify Zoroastrian concepts. By 1855 he was Professor of Mathematics and Natural philosophy in Mumbai. He travelled to London in 1855 to become a partner in Cama & Co, opening a Liverpool location for the first Indian company to be established in Britain. Within three years, he had resigned on ethical grounds. In 1859 he established his own cotton trading company, Naoroji & Co.[4] Later he became professor of Gujarati at University College London.

Statue of Naoroji in Mumbai

In 1867 Naoroji helped establish the East India Association, one of the predecessor organizations of the Indian National Congress. In 1874 he became Prime Minister of Baroda and was a member of the Legislative Council of Mumbai (then Bombay) (1885-88). He was also a member of the Indian National Association founded by Sir Surendranath Banerjea from Calcutta a few years before the founding of the Indian National Congress in Mumbai, with the same objectives and practices. The two groups later merged into the INC, and Naoroji was elected President of the Congress in 1886. Naoroji published Poverty and un-British Rule in India in 1891.

Naoroji moved to Britain once again and continued his political involvement. Elected for the Liberal Party in Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election, he was the first British Indian MP. He refused to take the oath on the Bible as he was not a Christian, but was allowed to take the oath of office in the name of God on his copy of Khordeh Avesta. In Parliament he spoke on Irish Home Rule and the condition of the Indian people. In his political campaign and duties as an MP, he was assisted by Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the future Muslim nationalist and founder of Pakistan. In 1906, Naoroji was again elected president of the Indian National Congress. Naoroji was a staunch moderate within the Congress, during the phase when opinion in the party was split between the moderates and extremists.

Naoroji was a mentor to both Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Naoroji was the paternal uncle of famous industrialist J. R. D. Tata.[citation needed] He was married to Gulbai from the age of eleven. He died in Mumbai on 30 June 1917, at age 92.

Works

See also

References

Further reading

  • Rustom P. Masani, Dadabhai Naoroji (1939).
  • Munni Rawal, Dadabhai Naoroji, Prophet of Indian Nationalism, 1855-1900, New Delhi, Anmol Publications (1989).
  • S. R. Bakshi, Dadabhai Naoroji: The Grand Old Man, Anmol Publications (1991). ISBN 8170414261
  • Verinder Grover, ‘'Dadabhai Naoroji: A Biography of His Vision and Ideas’’ New Delhi, Deep & Deep Publishers (1998) ISBN 8176290114
  • Debendra Kumar Das, ed., ‘'Great Indian Economists : Their Creative Vision for Socio-Economic Development.’’ Vol. I: ‘Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) : Life Sketch and Contribution to Indian Economy.’’ New Delhi, Deep and Deep (2004). ISBN 8176293156
  • P. D. Hajela, ‘'Economic Thoughts of Dadabhai Naoroji,’’ New Delhi, Deep & Deep (2001). ISBN 8176293377
  • Pash Nandhra, entry Dadabhai Naoroji in Brack et al. (eds).Dictionary of Liberal History; Politico's, 1998
  • Zerbanoo Gifford, Dadabhai Naoroji: Britain's First Asian MP; Mantra Books, 1992

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frederick Thomas Penton
Member of Parliament for Finsbury Central
18921895
Succeeded by
William Frederick Barton Massey-Mainwaring
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DADABHAI NAOROJI (1825-), Indian politician, was born at Nasik on the 4th of September 1825, the son of a Parsi priest. During a long and active life, he played many parts: professor of mathematics at the Elphinstone college (1854) founder of the Rast Goftar newspaper; partner in a Parsi business firm in London (1855); prime minister of Baroda (1874); member of the Bombay legislative council (1885); M.P. for Central Finsbury (1892-1895), being the first Indian to be elected to the House of Commons; three times president of the Indian National Congress. Many of his numerous writings are collected in Poverty and Un-British Rule in India (Igor).


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