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Dadabhai Naoroji was born in Bombay on 4th September 1825, the son of Maneckbai and Naoroji Palanji Dordi, a poor Athornan (priestly) Parsi family. At the age of 4, Dadabhai's father died and his mother was left the difficult task of bringing up the family, and she managed admirably. According to prevailing customs, she arranged the marriage of Dadabhai to Gulbai at the early age of 11. For the rest of her life, Maneckbai remained a close companion and mentor to Dadabhai. "She made me what I am" noted Dadabhai in 1901 when he gave an account of his early life in "The Days of my Youth." Dadabhai Naoroji

He did his MA in mathematics . Dadabhai became a scholar at the Elphinstone Institution (now Elphinstone College, Bombay) and had a brilliant academic career. In 1850 at the early age of 25, he was appointed Assistant Professor, and 4 years later, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at the Elphinstone Institution. Professor Orlebar of the college called him "The Promise of India". Dadabhai, being an Athornan (ordained priest), founded the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path) on 1st August 1851. The ethos of the Rahnumae at its inception was to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its original purity and simplicity. The society is still in operation in Bombay.

On 27th June 1855, Dadabhai sailed for England to join the first Indian business firm of the mercantile Cama family. In 1859, Dadabhai established his own business firm under the name of Dadabhai Naoroji & Co. In 1866 he along with NC Banerjee found the East India Association in England.This siciety was successful in counter-acting the propoganda of the London Ethnological Society which believed that the Europeans were superior to Asians and Africans.By this he wanted the British public to know what the British were doing in India.

In 1892 he was the first Indian to be elected to the British House of Commons. He was given a ticket by the Liberal party. He put forward a resolution in the House of Commons regarding the Indian Civil Services examination. But this resolution was not passed.He did great service to the cause of Indians and Africans. He was one of the founder members of the Indian National Congress.

He was known for his moderate views but he changed the aims and objects of the Congress by declaring swaraj as its ultimate goal. He was the first to tell that we should ask for Swaraj. The methods he adopted for swaraj were boycott , swadeshi and national education . Swadeshi gives a flip to the Indian economy. This was the time when most of the Indian industries were started. Dadabhai edited a newspaper called Rast Goftar (speaker of the truth). He also edited a magazine called dharma marg darshan.

Dadabhai Naoroji and family

He believed that the British rule was not evil. The British rule would be better for India. He felt western education was good for India. He was in favor of all reforms and scientific inventions that came to India. He believed that the British were economically exploiting India.

The “Drain of wealth” theory was his and he even published a book “Poverty and Un-British rule in India”. He said that there are so many british officials working in India and they send all their money back to England. The salary of the people of the Indian Council is paid from the Indian revenue, though it is in England. After retirement of the British their pensions are given from India. There are so many British soldiers in India, but they are being paid by the Indian revenues. There are so many British companies in India and their profit was given to England.

Dadabhai was one of the moving spirits and founder of the Indian National Congress. He took part in the inauguration of the Indian National Congress that was held in Bombay in 1865, before his departure to England. Dadabhai was thrice elected President of the Congress.

Dadabhai Naoroji had attempted to keep the Freedom movement on a moderate path during the formative years of the Congress. He had put his faith in the British. He believed that if they were informed of India's problems, they would reform their method of rule. However, his experience of the British political system and years of dealing with British officialdom led to increasing disillusionment. Dadabhai began to despair when even moderate claims were not considered. Dadabhai said "Indians were British citizens with a birthright to be free" and that they had "every right to claim an honorable fulfillment of our British pledged rights". -"It is futile to tell me that we must ait till all the people are ready. The British people did not -wait for their parliament". "Self-government is the only and chief remedy. In self-government is our hope, strength and greatness". "I am a Hindu, a Muslim, a Parsi, but above all an Indian First".

He was rightfully called 'The Grand Old Man Of India.'


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