Dadabhai Naoroji, also known as the Grand Old Man, is credited for his works that educated people about the drain of wealth from India to Britain. He belonged to the earliest band of Indian nationalists, known as moderates. He strived to make India economically independent through dialogues with the British government.
Birth, education, and career
He was born on 4th September 1825 in Bombay. He was a Parsee and his father was a priest. Dadabhai Naoroji studied in Elphinstone Institute School and was a good student. In 1855, his hard working nature earned him the professorship of two subjects: mathematics and natural philosophy in Elphinstone College (Bombay). He was the first Indian, who had acquired such a prestigious position. Although he was respected by British and held a respectable position in the society, he was pained to see the economically downtrodden situation of India because of the British rule.
Work towards the betterment of India
Dadabhai Naoroji took the very first step in checking economic exploitation of India by establishing the East India Association in 1867. The aim of the association was to make the British government and public aware of the bad economic situation of India. He was determined to make the government stop the regular drain of funds from India. Soon, he took membership of another similar association named Indian National Association, whose founder was Surendrenath Bannerjee. As the time passed, Dadabhai Naoroji became more involved in the work of bettering India. He played a major role in the founding of the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1885, which had the members of both East India Association and Indian National Association. In 1886, he was made the President of INC.
Open support for India
Dadabhai Naoroji maintained good relations with the British, as he wanted to use his position to persuade the Government to improve the condition of India. He relocated in London and became a part of the Liberal Party. In the 1892 general elections, he was elected to represent the Finsbury Central in the British Parliament’s House of Commons. Thus, he was the first British MP of Indian origin. Even during his tenure, he put stress on how people of India were being badly treated by the British. His main concern was the money, that the British Government raised in India, was not used for the development of India. Rather, the money was sent to Britain and it contributed to its economic growth.
In 1895, he could not garner enough support and lost his seat in the House of Commons. In the following years, he dedicated his time to writing books and being an active member of INC. His most celebrated works is Poverty and Un-British Rule in India, where he explained his Drain theory. In the book, he statistically highlighted the way the British government had been draining India of its wealth.
Training the young India
Dadabhai Naoroji was the mentor of many Indians like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and M.K Gandhi. He trained these young brains and made them realize that India would become prosperous only when it comes out of foreign interference. He passed away on 30th June 1917.