Monday, June 26, 2017

Dadabhai Naoroji (4 September 1825 – 30 June 1917) - Biography

Naoroji was born in Mumbai in a Parsi family, and educated at the Elphinstone Institute School. He started his public life as the Dewan (Minister) to the Maharaja of Baroda in 1874.  In 1855, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at the Elphinstone College in Bombay. He was the first Indian to hold such an academic position. 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. He resigned from the partnership and in 1859, he established his own cotton trading company, Dadabhai Naoroji & Co. He became professor of Gujarati at University College London.

In 1865, Dadabhai Naoroji directed the launch the London Indian Society, the purpose of which was to discuss Indian political, social and literary subjects. In 1867,  Naoroji also helped to establish the East India Association,  with the aim of putting across the Indian point of view before the British public. The Association was instrumental in counter-acting the propaganda by the Ethnological Society of London which, in its session in 1866, had tried to prove the inferiority of the Asians to the Europeans. This Association soon won the support of eminent Englishmen and was able to exercise considerable influence in the British Parliament.

In 1874, he became Prime Minister of Baroda and was a member of the Legislative Council of Mumbai (1885–88). He was also a member of the Indian National Association founded by Sir Surendranath Banerjee from Calcutta a few years before the founding of the Indian National Congress in Bombay.. The two groups later merged into the INC. Naoroji was elected President of the Congress in 1886. Naoroji published Poverty and un-British Rule in India in 1901.

Naoroji moved to Britain once again.  He was elected for the Liberal Party in Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election. He was the first British Indian MP.  He 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.  He was a member of the British House of Commons from 1892-1895. During his time he put his efforts towards improving the situation in India.  He set forth his views about the situation in India over the course of history of the governance of the country and the way in which the colonial rulers rules.

Naoroji published Poverty and un-British Rule in India in 1901.

Poverty and un-British Rule in India
Video Talk


Mrunal Patel

Read the book on

 In 1906, Naoroji was again elected president of the Indian National Congress. Naoroji was a mentor to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.  He died in Bombay on 30 June 1917, at the age of 91. Mumbai has Dadabhai Naoroji Road, a heritage road of Mumbai, is named after him. Naoroji Street is there  in the Finsbury area of London.

The Second International (1889–1916), the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated.  It continued the work of the dissolved First International  and existed until 1916. Among the Second International's famous actions were its 1889 declaration of May 1, May Day, as International Workers' Day and its 1910 declaration of the International Women's Day, first celebrated on March 19. Dadabhai Naoroji is a member of the second international.

Read an old article in Guardian

Encyclopaedia Eminent Thinkers (vol. 11 : The Political Thought Of Dadabhai Naoroji)

Ashu Pasricha
Concept Publishing Company, 2008 - Political science

Economic Thoughts of Dadabhai Naoroji

Prayag Das Hajela
Deep and Deep Publications, 2001 - 234 pages

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