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Dadabhai Naoroji

Naoroji, Dadabhai (däˈdəbəhĪ närōˈjē) [key], 1825–1917, Indian nationalist leader. The son of a Parsi priest, at 27 he became professor of mathematics at Elphinstone Institution, Bombay (now Mumbai). At 30 he left for England to start a career in business. He worked for an improvement in British policies toward India. He was particularly concerned about the economic consequences of British rule for India, and he wrote and lectured extensively on the "drain" of wealth, or unilateral transfer of resources from India to Britain, which he regarded as the principal cause of Indian poverty. His writings on this subject, especially his classic study, Poverty and Un-British Rule in India (1901), played a major role in arousing and stimulating economic nationalism in India. Active for more than 60 years in Indian social and political causes, he served three times as president of the Indian National Congress (1886, 1893, 1906). He was the first Indian to be elected a member of the British Parliament—in 1892, as a Liberal. As a member of Parliament he was instrumental in securing the appointment of a royal commission on Indian expenditure, the Welby Commission, and served on it as its sole Indian member. The younger generation of nationalist leaders, including such men as Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mohandas K. Gandhi, regarded him as their mentor, and he was affectionately hailed as the Grand Old Man of India.

See biography by R. P. Masani (1939).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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