Dadabhai Naoroji Biography
As a student, he had a knack for mental Mathematics and went on to distinguish himself in Mathematics and English at the Elphinstone Institution (now a college) in Mumbai.
So inspired were his associates that one teacher considered him the “guarantee of India.” Another offered to pay a large portion of the costs for Dadabhai to think about abroad.
His Parsi elders refused to pay the other half of the expenses out of fear that Dadabhai would convert to Christianity and marry an English woman.
On completion of his education, Dadabhai was appointed the Head Native Assistant Master at the Elphinstone Institution and went on to become the first Indian professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy.
Dadabhai entered the political fray in 1852. The East India Company procured a 20-year rent to “oversee” India from the British Government in 1833. The company applied for renewal of the lease in 1853.
Dadabhai strongly opposed the renewal of the lease and organized large meetings and sent petitions to the British government in England to deny the company a renewal.
Even though the British Government did renew the company’s lease, his petitions dispelled a lot of ignorance regarding India.
Dadabhai felt that the British misrule of India was because of ignorance of the way of life and needs of the Indian people.
To cure this, he felt that he should teach the Indian masses of their rights.
Dadabhai started free education classes for young ladies in Marathi and Gujarati. He set up the Dnyan Prasarak Mandali (Society for Promotion of Knowledge) for the training of grown-up menfolk. Subjects of general mindfulness were examined before vast social events.
Then he believed that the British bureaucracy in India must be made aware of the problems of India. He composed a few petitions to governors and emissaries with respect to India’s issues.
Dadabhai got this open door when the rich Cama family welcomed him to participate in a business wander in England. He did not think twice and set sail for England on June 27, 1855.
Dadabhai was chosen to the British parliament in 1892 from Central Finsbury as the Liberal Party hopeful.
This made it possible for him to work for India from within! He got goals to go for holding primer examinations for the I.C.S. in India and England simultaneously and also got the Wiley Commission, the royal commission on Indian expenditure, to acknowledge the need for even distribution of administrative and military expenditure between India and England.
Dadabhai’s efforts were rewarded in 1896 when the Secretary of State for India agreed to appoint nine Indians out of 60 to the Indian Civil Service (I.C.S.) by nomination.
As the years passed, he grew more and more disillusioned with the “fair-minded” British. After spending years collecting statistics, Dadabhai propounded the drain theory: “The inevitable consequence of foreign domination is the drain of the wealth of the subject nation to the country of the rulers.”
Dadabhai proved that the average annual income of an Indian was barely Rs. 20 Analyzing the import and fare figures for a long time, he demonstrated that India’s fares surpassed its imports by Rs. 50 crores annually.
He was key to the establishment of the Indian National Congress (I.N.C.) founded by A.O. Hume. All the more vitally, he turned away a split in the Congress between the fanatics like B.G.Tilak, B.C. Pal, and A. Ghosh and the moderates The fanatics pushed the blacklist of British products and requested swaraj (self-government).
He died at the ripe age of 92 on June 30, 1917. Two months later, the Minto Morley reforms were passed in the British parliament granting much of what Dadabhai had been fighting for.
The “Grand Old Man of India,” as Dadabhai was fondly known, can be viewed as the architect that laid the foundation of the Indian freedom struggle. He sacrificed his career and his family for India.
He resigned his professorship to go to England to increase the awareness of India in Britain. His only son and his mother died while he was in England. Dadabhai’s methods of justice for India were always non-violent and constitutional.