Dadabhai Naoroji


Dadabhai Naoroji was a man who laid the foundation of India’s freedom struggle. He was fondly known as ‘the promise of India’ in his youth and ‘the grand old man of India’ in the later years of his life. This great man was personified as the symbol of purity, sincerity, generosity, bravery and patriotism.

Dadabhai was born on September 4, 1825 in Bombay in a Parsi priest’s family. His childhood was uplifted by his mother Maneckbai because his father Naorji Palanji Dordi expired when he was just four years old. He studied in the Elphinstone College in Bombay and after completing his studies he was appointed as the Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in the same college.

Naorji started with his political career in 1852. He strongly opposed the misrule of British Government and wrote several petitions to Governors and Viceroys regarding the sufferings of Indian people. There was no action taken to it and later he realized that this is because of the ignorance of Indian people. To promote education and propagate the seeds of Free India, he founded the Gyan Prasarak Mandal.

In 1855, Dadabhai left for England to join the first Indian business firm and later in 1859, he established his own business firm there. During his time in England, he endeavored to educate local people through various learned societies, articles and speeches. Most of his life he had spent writing on India’s plight, trying to influence people to realize the importance of freedom.

Naorji was the driving spirit of Indian National Congress and was elected three times as the President of the Congress in 1866, 1893 and 1906. He demanded for Swaraj, self government for India, publicly during his third term of presidentship and strongly opposed violence and revolutionary methods as means of attaining freedom.

The next three years saw meteoric rise in his stature and the British power which had long since considered him their chief concern and had sent him to prison twice already, decided on a firmer measure. Much has been said of his trial of 1908. He utilized his time in prison in scholarly pursuits and wrote "GitaRahasya", a commentary on the Gita. He returned to Indian political scene in 1915. The political situation was fast changing under the shadow of World War I. Mahatma Gandhi's star was on rise with Satyagraha at Sabarmati in 1914.

This great noble life lived for almost a century and came to end on June 30, 1917. The people around the world still believe that Dadabhai came to earth with a mission to achieve Self-Rule for India.

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