Dadabhai Naoroji who is also known as the “Grand Old Man of India” and “Unofficial Ambassador of India”, was the first Indian to be nominated to the Parliament of Great Britain. By securing his place in the UK Parliament he brought glory to India. In 1892, he became a part of the British Parliament. Dadabhai Naoraji was one of the prominent leaders of the country before the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi. Importantly, leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopalkrishna Gokhale etc., took lessons in politics from Dadabhai Naoroji.
Biography of Dadabhai Naoroji
|Date of Birth||September 4, 1825|
|Place of Birth||Bombay, Maharashtra|
|Father’s Name||Dadabhai Palanji Dordi|
|Education||1/ Native Education Society|
2/ Elphinstone Institution
|Death||30 June 1917|
Early Life and Education of Dadabahai Naoroji
Dadabhai Naoroji was born on September 4, 1825, in Mumbai against casteism and colonial rule. Born into a Gujrati speaking poor Parsi family, Dadabhai Naoroji possessed progressive thinking. His father’s name is Dadabhai Palanji Dordi and mother’s name is Manekbai. It is to be noted that Naoroji was four years old when his father had surrendered from his life. Dadabhai Naoraji’s mother bravely shouldered all the responsibilities of the house due to the untimely death of her husband. Despite facing a lot of challenges in his childhood, Dadabhai Naoroji bravely faced all the problems. It is important to note that Dadabhai Naoraji got married to Gulbai at the age of 11 because child marriage was prevalent in the society at that time.
Dadabhai Naoroji started his early education at Elphinstone Institute School. It is to be noted that Naoroji was very talented in academics since his young age.
Also Read: Biography of Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Contribution of Dadabhai Naoroji
It is to be noted that Dadabhai Naoroji worked as a patron of Maharaja of Baroda Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Subsequently, in 1874, Naoroji started working as the Dewan of Sayajirao Gaekwad. Importantly, Rahnumai Mazdayasan Sabha was established on August 1, 1851 by Naoroji for the revival of Zoroastrian religion to its original purity and simplicity. Subsequently, in 1854 he began publishing the Rast Goftar (or The Truth Teller) Gujrati fortnightly publication. It is to be noted that this fortnightly letter played an important role in reforming Parsi society among Indian Parsis. He also published another newspaper called The Voice of India.
In December 1955, Dadabhai Naoroji was appointed professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Elphinstone College, Bombay. It is to be noted that with this, Naoroji became the first Indian to serve in a renowned academic position like a professor. It was subsequently in 1955 that Dadabhai Naoroji travelled to London. After travelling to London, Naoraji founded Cama & Co Company as a partnership, opening a Liverpool location for the first Indian company to be established in Britain. Importantly, it is the first Indian company to be set up in the US. However, almost three years after joining, Dadabhai Naoroji resigned from Cama & Co due to various ideological differences.
Subsequently in 1859, Dadabhai Naoroji founded his own cotton company named Dadabhai Naoroji & Company. Apart from this, he also served as a professor of Gujarati language at University College London for some time. It may be recalled that on October 31, 1861, Naoroji merged with Muncherjee Hormusji Cama to establish The Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe, a religious, cultural and social organization for Zoroastrian.
Dadabhai Naoroji founded the London Indian Society in 1865 to contribute to issues related to the Indian political, social and economic situation. Subsequently, in 1867, he played an important role in the formation of the East India Association to change the course of the freedom struggle for India. The East India Association is one of the organizations before the formation of the Indian National Congress. Through this organization, the Naoroji highlighted the racial dominance of the white British as well as the exploitation of the British among the Indians.
It may be recalled that Dadabhai Naoroji became one of the members of the Legislative Council of Bombay from 1885 to 1888 and became the Prime Minister of Baroda in 1874. After the birth of the Indian National Congress in 1885, he was voted president in 1886. Later, he again took over as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1893 and 1906. Naoroji published Poverty and Un-British Rule in India in 1901.
It is to be noted that Dadabhai Naoroji, one of the strongest nationalist leaders, is one of the founders of the Indian National Congress. Apart from this, Naoroji was one of the leaders who raised his voice against the British administration at home and abroad. In 1906, at the Congress session held in Calcutta, Dadabhai Naoroji first mentioned Swaraj. Naoroji had set the congress policy by deciding the policy of self-governance. It is to be noted that Naoroji, who has been raising his voice against the misrule of the British, has made efforts to make all Indians aware through writing.
Interestingly, Naoroji became the first Indian to participate in the British Parliament in 1892. It is to be noted that he held this post from 1892 to 1895. Elected for the Liberal Party in Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election, he was the first British Indian MP.
Dadabhai Naoroji, who played an important role in the field of women empowerment, also played a leading role in the field of women’s education. He was instrumental in establishing schools for women’s education in the 1840s. It is to be noted that there have been a lot of obstacles and challenges from the traditional thinkers in the establishment of the school, but Dadabhai Naoroji stuck to his thoughts and actions. Due to Naoroji’s unwavering attitude, the enrolment rate in the girls’ school, which was later established in Bombay, started increasing. Naoroji has been raising his voice for equality in society, for dividing equal rights between men and women.
Importantly, Naoroji wrote a research book on the injustice done by the British. In 1901, he had thoroughly described how the British exploited India through a book called Poverty and the Un-British Rule in India. This book is one of the most important books in the context of the Indian independence movement. Naoroji was a mentor to Bal Gngadhar Tilak, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Naoroji’s Poverty and Un-British Rule influenced Mahatma Gandhi.
It is to be noted that Dadabhai Naoroji was called Grand Old Man of India by everyone in the country. The contribution of Dadabhai Naoroji in the Indian independence movement was explained by Mahatma Gandhi through a letter in 1894 that, “Indians look at you like a child looks at their father! That is the attitude of a true Indian regarding you.” Dadabhai Naoroji, who has served as president of the Indian National Congress thrice, is a progressive social reformer. He also imparted knowledge on political dynamics. Naoroji, who possessed great intelligence, revealed the true nature of British rule through the Drain of Wealth theory.
Dadabhai Naoroji, known as a very talented person, politician, educationist, has also authored several books. Most of his books deal with the socio-economic and political problems of India under the British Raj. Apart from this, he also wrote books on the Persians. Some of his notable works are – The Manners and Customs published in 1864, The European and Asiatic races published in 1866, Admission of Educated Natives into the Indian Civil Service, published in 1876 The Wants and Means of India, published in 1882, Condition of India published in 1876, Poverty of India published in 1876, published in 1889 The Parsee Religion published in 1861 Poverty and Un-British Rule in India published in 1901.
Dadabhai Naoroji, who had made immense contribution to his country and countrymen, breathed his last on June 30, 1917 at the age of 91. To honour him Dadabhai Naoroji Road, a heritage road of Mumbai, is named after him, Dadabhai Naoroji Road in Karachi, Pakistan and Naoroji Street in the Finsbury area of London. A prominent residential colony for central government servants in the south of Delhi is also named Naoroji Nagar. Dadabhai Naoroji is an inspiration for today’s generation.
1. Who was the first Indian to be nominated to the Parliament of Great Britain?
Ans: Dadabhai Naoraji was the first Indian to be nominated to the Parliament of Great Britain.
2. When and Where was Dadabhai Naoroji born?
Ans: Dadabhai Naoroji was born on September 4, 1825, in Mumbai.
3. What are the names of Dadabhai Naoroji’s father and mother?
Ans: Dadabhai Nauraji’s father’s name is Dadabhai Palanji Dordi and mother’s name is Manekbai.
4. Who is known as “The Grand Old Man of India”?
Ans: Dadabhai Naoroji.
5. When did Dadabhai Naoroji breathed his last?
Ans: Naoroji breathed his last on June 30, 1917 at the age of 91.
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