Dadabhai Naoroji Biography

(Indian Political Leader Who was the Second Person of Asian Descent to be a British MP)

Birthday: September 4, 1825 (Virgo)

Born In: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

The first ever Asian to be a British Member of Parliament, Dadabhai Naoroji was a pioneer in many fields. He was an intellectual and an educator; he was the first Indian to become a professor at the Elphinstone Institute, Bombay, where he taught mathematics and natural philosophy. He had a deep love for mathematics and along with his love for the subject he also harbored several other interests. He was born into a poor Parsi family and struggled a lot during his childhood as his widowed mother single-handed raised him. As a young man he traveled to London to become a partner in Cama & Co, the first Indian company to be established in Britain. However, he was fed up with the unethical practices adopted in the company and resigned. Later on he went on to establish his own cotton trading company and became actively involved in politics. He felt that the British were exploiting India and set up the Gyan Prasarak Mandali to educate the adult men folk. He wrote many articles and gave speeches on the plight of India and played an important role in the formation of the Indian National Congress.
Quick Facts

Indian Celebrities Born In September

Also Known As: Dadabhai Naoroji Dordi

Died At Age: 91


Spouse/Ex-: Gulbaai

father: Naoroji Palanji Dordi

mother: Maneckbai

Political Leaders Indian Men

Died on: June 30, 1917

place of death: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Notable Alumni: Elphinstone College

City: Mumbai, India

Founder/Co-Founder: Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path), Rast Goftar, Naoroji & Co,

More Facts

education: University Of Mumbai, Elphinstone College

  • 1

    What was Dadabhai Naoroji's contribution to the Indian independence movement?

    Dadabhai Naoroji was a prominent figure in the Indian independence movement and is known as the Grand Old Man of India. He founded the Indian National Congress and was a vocal advocate for India's self-rule. He also exposed the economic exploitation of India by the British through his work on the drain theory.

  • 2

    How did Dadabhai Naoroji contribute to the field of economics?

    Dadabhai Naoroji was a pioneering economist who made significant contributions to the understanding of India's economic conditions under British colonial rule. He developed the 'drain theory', which highlighted how British policies were draining India's wealth. His work laid the foundation for economic nationalism in India.

  • 3

    What was Dadabhai Naoroji's role in the British Parliament?

    Dadabhai Naoroji made history by becoming the first Indian to be elected to the British Parliament in 1892. He represented the Liberal Party from the Finsbury Central constituency. During his tenure, he tirelessly advocated for Indian interests and raised awareness about the plight of India under British rule.

  • 4

    How did Dadabhai Naoroji influence future generations of Indian leaders?

    Dadabhai Naoroji's ideas and activism inspired and influenced many future leaders of the Indian independence movement, including Mahatma Gandhi and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. His emphasis on self-reliance, economic empowerment, and political representation laid the groundwork for the fight for independence.

  • 5

    What was Dadabhai Naoroji's vision for the future of India?

    Dadabhai Naoroji envisioned a future for India where it would be free from British colonial rule and would prosper as a self-governing nation. He believed in the principles of justice, equality, and economic development for all Indians, regardless of caste or creed. His vision continues to inspire generations of Indians striving for a better future.

Childhood & Early Life
He was born in Bombay in 1825 into a poor Parsi family. The family fell upon really difficult times when his father died when Dadabhai was just four years old.
His mother Maneckbai single-handedly raised her family and did a very admirable job at it. She herself was illiterate but wanted to give her son a quality education. She played a very important role in making Dadabhai the person he grew up to be.
His marriage was arranged to Gulbaai when he was 11 years old as per the custom in India during those times.
He received his primary education from the Native Education Society School after which he went to the Elphinstone Institute where he studied literature of the world.
He was chosen for Clare’s scholarship when he was 15 years old and was considered a scholar at this young age.
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When he was just 25, he became an Assistant Professor at the Elphinstone Institute.
He hailed from an Athornan (priestly family) and founded the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha on 1st August 1851 in an attempt to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its past glory. This society still operates in Bombay (now Mumbai).
He founded a fortnightly publication, the ‘Rast Goftar’, meaning the ‘truth teller’ in 1853 to clarify the Zoroastrian concepts to the common man.
In 1855 he was appointed the professor of Mathematics and Philosophy at the Elphinstone Institute thus becoming the first Indian professor at the college which only had English professors so far. He also served as the Treasurer of the Student Literary and Scientific society.
He left for London in June 1855 to become a partner in Cama & Co., which was the first Indian company to be established in Britain. Though he worked diligently there, he was disillusioned by the company’s unethical practices and resigned.
In 1859 he established his own company, Naoroji & Co., a cotton trading firm.
Starting from the 1860s, he actively began working for the upliftment of Indians. He was very vocal against the colonial rule of the British in India.
He presented the “Drain Theory” to the British in which he stated how the British had exploited India, systematically depleting her wealth and resources while making the country poorer.
He became involved with politics and helped to establish the East India Association in 1867. This association would serve as one of the predecessor organizations of the Indian National Congress.
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He was patronised by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda and started his public life as the Dewan (Minister) to the Maharaja in 1874. He also served as a member of the Legislative Council of Mumbai from 1885 to 1888.
He was elected the president of the Indian National Congress in 1886.
He moved to London in the late 1880s and was elected for the Liberal Party in Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election - becoming the first British Indian MP.
He spent his later years writing articles and giving speeches on the exploitation of India by the British, thus setting the foundation for the Indian Nationalist Movement.
Major Works
Known as the Grand Old Man of India, Dadabhai Naoroji was an intellectual, educator and political figure who worked to promote the Zoroastrian religion and the Indian culture. He spearheaded India’s freedom struggle by giving speeches and writing articles on the exploitation of India by the British.
Personal Life & Legacy
When he was 11 years old, his mother arranged his marriage with Gulbaai, a seven year old girl. The couple went on to have three children—one son and two daughters.
This freedom fighter, social reformer and educator had a long and productive life, spanning nine long decades. He died in 1917 at the age of 91.
The Dadabhai Naoroji Road is named in his honour.
Facts About Dadabhai Naoroji

Dadabhai Naoroji was a pioneer in the field of economic and political thought in India, known for his theories on poverty and economic development.

Naoroji was the first Indian to be elected as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons in Britain, where he tirelessly advocated for Indian rights and independence.

He was affectionately referred to as the "Grand Old Man of India" for his dedication to social and political reform, and his significant contributions to the Indian nationalist movement.

Naoroji was a strong believer in the power of education and founded several educational institutions in India, aiming to empower future generations with knowledge and skills.

See the events in life of Dadabhai Naoroji in Chronological Order

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