|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."
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
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
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.
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