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Dadabhai Naoroji, 1892.
Dadabhai Naoroji (September 4, 1825June 30, 1917) known as the 'Grand Old Man of India' was a Parsi intellectual, educator, cotton trader, and an early Indianmarker political leader. His book, Poverty and Un-British Rule in India, brought into the limelight the drain of India's wealth into Britain. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commonsmarker between 1892 and 1895, and the first Asian to be a Britishmarker MP. He is also credited with the founding of the Indian National Congress, along with A.O. Hume and Dinshaw Edulji Wacha.He established the GYAN PRASARAK MANDALI.

Early years

The son of Maneckbai and Naoroji Palanji Dordi, born into a poor family of Parsi-Zoroastrian priests in Navsarimarker in Southern Gujaratmarker. His father died when he was four, leaving his illiterate mother to raise him. Naoroji was educated at Elphinstone College, Mumbaimarker. At the early age of 25, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the Elphinstone Institution in 1850, becoming the first Indian to hold such an academic position. Being an Athornan (ordained priest), Naoroji founded the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path) on 1 August 1851 to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its original purity and simplicity. In 1854, he also founded a fortnightly, the Rast Goftar (or The Truth Teller), to clarify Zoroastrian concepts. By 1855 he was Professor of Mathematics and Natural philosophy in Mumbaimarker. He travelled to Londonmarker in 1855 to become a partner in Cama & Co, opening a Liverpoolmarker location for the first Indian company to be established in Britain. Within 3 years, he had resigned on ethical grounds. In 1859 he established his own cotton trading company, Naoroji & Co. Later he became professor of Gujarati at University College Londonmarker.

In 1867 Naoroji helped establish the East India Association, one of the predecessor organizations of the Indian National Congress. In 1874 he became Prime Minister of Barodamarker and was a member of the Legislative Council of Mumbaimarker (then Bombaymarker) (1885-88). He also founded the Indian National Association from Calcuttamarker a few years before the founding of the Indian National Congress in Mumbaimarker, with the same objectives and practices. The two groups later merged into the INC, and Naoroji was elected President of the Congress in 1886.

Naoroji moved to Britain once again and continued his political involvement. Elected for the Liberal Party in Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election, he was the first British Indian MP. He refused to take the oath on the Bible as he was not a Christian, but was allowed to take the oath of office in the name of God on his copy of Khordeh Avesta. In Parliament he spoke on Irish Home Rule and the condition of the Indian people. In his political campaign and duties as an MP, he was assisted by Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the future Muslim nationalist and founder of Pakistanmarker. In 1906, Naoroji was again elected president of the Indian National Congress. Naoroji was a staunch moderate within the Congress, during the phase when opinion in the party was split between the moderates and extremists.

Naoroji was a mentor to both Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mahatma Gandhi. Naoroji was the paternal uncle of famous industrialist J.R.D.Tata. He was married to Gulbai from the age of eleven. He died in Mumbaimarker June 30, 1917, at age 92.


  • The manners and customs of the Parsees (Bombay, 1864)
  • The European and Asiatic races (London, 1866
  • Admission of educated natives into the Indian Civil Service (London, 1868)
  • The wants and means of India (London, 1870)
  • Condition of India (Bombay, 1881)
  • Poverty of India: A Paper Read Before the Bombay Branche of the East India Association, Bombay, Ranima Union Press, (1876)
  • C. L. Parekh, ed., Essays, Speeches, Addresses and Writings of the Honourable Dadabhai Naoroji, Bombay, Caxton Printing Works (1887). An excerpt, "The Benefits of British Rule", in a modernized text by J. S. Arkenberg, ed., on line at Paul Halsall, ed., Internet Modern History Sourcebook.
  • Lord Salisbury’s Blackman (Lucknow, 1889)
  • ; Commonwealth Publishers, 1988. ISBN 8190006622


  • Rustom P. Masani, Dadabhai Naoroji (1939).
  • Munni Rawal, Dadabhai Naoroji, Prophet of Indian Nationalism, 1855-1900, New Delhi, Anmol Publications (1989).
  • S. R. Bakshi, Dadabhai Naoroji: The Grand Old Man, Anmol Publications (1991). ISBN 8170414261
  • Verinder Grover, ‘'Dadabhai Naoroji: A Biography of His Vision and Ideas’’ New Delhi, Deep & Deep Publishers (1998) ISBN 8176290114
  • Debendra Kumar Das, ed., ‘'Great Indian Economists : Their Creative Vision for Socio-Economic Development.’’ Vol. I: ‘Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) : Life Sketch and Contribution to Indian Economy.’’ New Delhi, Deep and Deep (2004). ISBN 8176293156
  • P. D. Hajela, ‘'Economic Thoughts of Dadabhai Naoroji,’’ New Delhi, Deep & Deep (2001). ISBN 8176293377
  • Pash Nandhra, entry Dadabhai Naoroji in Brack et al. (eds).Dictionary of Liberal History; Politico's, 1998
  • Zerbanoo Gifford, Dadabhai Naoroji: Britain's First Asian MP; Mantra Books, 1992


  1. Sumita Mukherjee, “‘Narrow-majority’ and ‘Bow-and-agree’: Public Attitudes Towards the Elections of the First Asian MPs in Britain, Dadabhai Naoroji and Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree, 1885-1906”, Journal of the Oxford University History Society, 2 (Michaelmas 2004).
  2. 'Historic Figure:Dadabhai Naoroji', Black and Asian Studies Newsletter, No.54, July 2009
  3. "Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji, 'The Grand Old Man of India'",
  4. "Dadabhai Naoroji, 1825-1917", Migration Histories. On line.

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