Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji (1825 - 1917)


         Dadabhai Naoroji was born in Bombay in September 4. 1825 in a priestly Parsi family. As a consequence of his outstanding performance at the Elphinstone College, Dadabhai obtained the Clare Scholarship He became a graduate in 1845. In 1916, he as awarded the honorary degree of LL.D. by the Bombay University.

         On June 27, 1855 he left for London to join business as a partner in Cama’s firm in London. In 1886 he went to England to contest the elections to Parliament and in 1907 to espouse the cause of the freedom of India from British rule.

          Foreign travel left its mark on his character and personality. Himself a product of liberal western education, he was an admirer of the western system of education.

           Soon after graduation in 1845, he became the first Indian to be appointed Professor at Elphinstone He taught in the special classes held for the spread of women's education. In March 1856, he was nominated as Professor of Gujarati in the University College. London, a post he continued to hold till 1866. During this period Dadabhai took a keen interest in and laboured hard for the spread of education.

          On December 1, 1866 he founded the East India Association, London, whose scope for activity was wider, and became its Secretary.

          In 1874 he was appointed the Dewan of Baroda and a year later, on account of differences with the Maharaja and the Resident, he resigned from the Dewanship. In July 1875 he was elected a Member of the Municipal Corporation, Bombay. In 1876 he resigned and left for London. He was appointed as Justice of the Peace in 1883 and was elected to the Bombay Municipal Corporation for the second time.

           In August 1885 he joined the Bombay Legislative Council at the invitation of the Governor, Lord Reay.

          On January 31. 1885, when the Bombay Presidency Association came into being, he was elected as one of its Vice-Presidents. Al the end of the same year, he took a leading part in the founding of the Indian National Congress and became its President thrice in 1886. 1893 and 1906.

          In 1883 he started a newspaper called the Voice of India. Dadabhai was a frequent contributor of articles and papers to various journals and magazines. In 1887 he gave evidence before the public service commission. In 1902 he was elected as a Member of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons, representing Central Finsbury. He was a firm believer in parliamentary democracy. He is known in the history of Indian economic thought for his pioneering work in assessing India's national income.

          He founded several important organisations and belonged to many leading societies and institutions, both in India and the U.K. Some of the important organisations that he helped to found are the Indian National Congress, the East India Association, London, and the Royal Asiatic Society of Bombay and so on.

            He was a prominent nationalist of progressive views. He belonged to the school of moderates, and was a great believer in constitutional methods. Although he was a champion of Swadeshi, he was not against the use of machines for organising key industries in the country. He urged Tata to raise Indian capital for his iron and steel plants.

            Known as "The Grand Old Man of India" Dadabhai Naoroji was a great public figure. Through the innumerable societies and organisations with which he was associated and his contributions to organs of public opinion, he voiced the grievances of the Indian people and proclaimed their aims, ideals and aspirations to the world at large. He won with effortless ease high distinction on many fronts and will always be remembered in the history of the national movement.

This list was prepared by Dr. Jinadatha

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