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Dadabhai Naoroji

Dadabhai Naoroji was a Parsi intellectual and educator, and an early Indian political leader. He was a Member of Parliament in the Parliament of the United Kingdom between 1892 and 1895, and the first Asian to be a British MP. The son of Maneckbai and Naoroji Palanji Dordi, a poor Athornan Parsi family, Naoroji was educated at Elphinstone College and later became a teacher. By 1855 he was Professor of Mathematics and Natural philosophy. He moved to England in 1855, first working in business, later becoming professor of Gujarati at University College London. In 1867 Naoroji helped establish the East India Association. In 1874 he became Prime Minister of Baroda and was also a member of the Legislative Council of Bombay (1885-88). He also founded the Indian National Association from Calcutta a few years before the founding of the Indian National Congress in Bombay, 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 Central Finsbury in July 1892, he was the first British Indian MP.

Date of Birth Sep 4, 1825
Date of Death Jun 30, 1917
Place of Birth India

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 small book of 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 Pakistan. 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.

By the time of his death in 1917, Naoroji was known as the 'Grand Old Man of India', a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi. He was married to Gulbai from the age of eleven.