The Grand Old Man of India Dadabhai Naoroji
Dadabhai Early Days:
Dadabhai Naoroji was one of the makers of modern India. He was born on 4 September 1825 in Bombay. His father was Palanji Dorji, a Parsi priest, and his mother was Manakbai. He married Quilbai. In those days, Hindus follow the custom of Child marriage. At his wedding, he was only 11, and Quilbai was seven years old.
Travellings to London:
He was very brilliant in education. His outstanding performance at Elphinstone College caused him to obtain the Clare Scholarship. Hence, he graduated in 1845 and became the first Indian Professor at Elphinstone. He had the ambition to bring reforms to Indian society. He taught particular classes to women to spread Women’s education. Although in 1885 Cama family opened a new branch in London and made Dadabhai a partner. On 27 June 1855, he left for London to supervise the business. Later, he set up a company named ‘Dadabhai Naoroji Company’. Later he worked as a professor of Gujarati at the University College London.
Dadabai As an Industrialist and Politician:
Dadabai strongly desired to bring the Indian point of view before the British public. So in 1867, he founded the East India Association in London. In 1874 he was appointed as a Dewan of Baroda and later resigned from the post a few months later due to ideological differences between him and the Maharaja of Baroda. Consequently, in 1875, he was elected as a member of the Bombay Municipal Corporation. In 1883 he started a newspaper called ‘Voice of India’; later, he joined the Bombay Legislative Council at the invitation of the Governor, Lord Reay. On 31 January 1885, he was elected as the Vice-President of the Bombay Presidency Association and led in forming the Indian National Congress. He worked as its President three times. In 1902 he was elected as a member of the House of Commons representing Finsbury and the first Indian British MP.
Dadabai Quest for Reforms in the Society:
His travelling to foreign countries impressed me a little with his personality. He was impressed with the western system of education. Therefore he wanted to bring such education to India and firmly believed in Democracy. He started several vital organisations, societies and Institutions. For instance, the East India Association in London, the Royal Asiatic Society of Bombay, etc. He was very keenly interested in bringing reforms to society.
He was an excellent supporter of Industries and believed that machines would bring economic growth to the people in society. He encouraged Tata to establish Iron factories to raise India’s financial status. He advocated for the Indians to get modern education methods into the Indian community to enlighten the students in the experimental field. He was known as ‘The Grand Old Man of India’. He was associated with many organisations and brought the Idea of public opinion and grievances of the Indians among the British. He proclaimed the Indian’s ideas and aspirations for Independence to the world, in subsequently made an idea of the importance of Independence to the Indians. So he was known as ‘The Grand Old Man of India’. He died in 1917.
Dadabai Naoroji A True Indian:
In 1893, he was addressed as the President of the Indian National Congress session in Lahore.
“Let us always remember that we are all children of our mother country. Indeed, I have never worked in any other spirit than that I am an Indian and owe the duty to my country and all my fellow citizens. Whether I am a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Parsi, a Christian, or any other creed, I am, above all, an Indian. Our country is India; our nationality is Indian.”
Above the words, we can understand the nature of Dadabhai Naoroji.