Dadabhai Naroji was a great nationalist leader. A Parsi by birth, he is popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Man’ of India. Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of his death. Here are some interesting facts about the great life of this remarkable son of the soil.
1. He (1825-1917) was one of the integral leaders of India who led the country to its independence. One can see the honour given to him in the form a statue near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) of as one walks by the railway station.
2. The title – Grand Old Man of India – was given to him as it was believed that he was one of the intellectuals who had helped in shaping the modern India.
3. He has worked extensively to promote the Zoroastrian religion, and Indian culture. Naoroji belonged to an a priestly Zoroastrian family. He later went on to found the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha in 1851 in an attempt to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its past glory. This society still operates in Bombay (now Mumbai).
4. When Naoroji was as young as 25, he got a job of an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Elphinstone College in Mumbai.
5. In 1855, Naoroji went to London and became a partner at Cama and Co., one of the first Indian company that was established in Britain.
6. He later resigned from the company and in 1859, went ahead and established his own cotton trading firm and named it Naoroji & Co.
7. Naoroji began working towards upliftment of Indians from 1860s and became quite eloquent against the British colonialism and their exploitation of India.
8. He became the Divan, also known as the Chief Minister of the Princely state of Baroda in 1874 and was also patronised by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda.
9. He left the post soon for an elected seat in the Bombay Municipal Corporation.
10. He was an active participant in the founding of the Indian National Congress and became its President thrice in 1886, 1893 and 1906.
11. 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.
12. He was the first Indian to win a seat in the House of Commons.
13. Apart from the D. N Road named after him in Mumbai, Naoroji Street in Finsbury, UK has also been named after him.
Truly, he was a great personality who was able to propagate nationalist values among the young and old people of the country.