Dadabhai Naoroji

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Naoroji, Dadabhai

 

Born Sept. 4, 1825, in Bombay; died there July 2, 1917. Prominent figure of the Indian national movement. Publicist and economist; one of the founders of the Indian national school of bourgeois economists. From 1885, one of the organizers and leaders of the Indian National Congress Party.

A graduate of Elphinstone College in Bombay, Naoroji was the first Indian to attain the rank of professor (1854). In 1855 he left for Great Britain, where through the Indian League he propagandized the need for reforms in India. Naoroji maintained ties with liberals and Social Democrats. He visited Great Britain on numerous occasions and lived there for many years. In 1892 he was elected to Parliament as a member of the Liberal Party. In 1904, in an address to the Amsterdam Congress of the Second International, he criticized the colonial system in India.

Naoroji’s program was one of liberal nationalism and cultural enlightenment. In his writings and speeches he criticized the colonial exploitation of India and the Indians’ lack of political rights but rejected the idea of overthrowing English colonial rule through mass action. Naoroji advanced the demand for self-rule in India within the framework of the British Empire; in his opinion, this could have been achieved gradually through the impact of propaganda by Indian national organizations on English liberal circles.

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Also, he came to know the political viewpoints of the Indian leaders, Sir Feroz Shah Mehta and Dadabhoy Naoroji, and appreciated their moderate visions.
The paintings depict Dadabhoy Naoroji, the first Asian MP, Diane Abbott, the first black woman MP, Paul Boateng as the first black Cabinet minister and Baroness Amos as the first black leader of the House of Lords.