Meet the man whom Mahatma Gandhi called ‘the Father of the Nation’

Today is the birth anniversary of Dadabhai Naoroji, the Grand Old Man of India, and one of the most influential leaders India ever knew.

Dadabhai was born into a poor Parsi family and struggled a lot during his childhood. His father passed away when he was just 4 years old. His widowed mother single-handedly raised him. As a young man he actively began working for the upliftment of Indians. He was very vocal against the colonial rule of the British in India.

Today, on his birth anniversary we bring to you some interesting facts about the great life of this remarkable son of the soil.

1. In 1855, he was appointed as the professor of Mathematics and Philosophy at the Elphinstone College thus becoming the first Indian professor at the college which only appointed English professors.

2. He became the Diwan, 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.

3. Dadabhai Naoroji was instrumental in the establishment of the Indian National Congress founded by A.O. Hume in 1885. He was elected thrice to the post of the President of the Indian National Congress, in 1886, 1893 and in 1906.

4. 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 at regular intervals.

5. He spent his later years writing articles and giving speeches on the exploitation of India by the British, thus setting the foundation for the Indian Nationalist Movement.

6. Many places including the Dadabhai Naoroji Road, in Mumbai, the Dadabhai Naoroji Road in Karachi, Pakistan; and the Naoroji Street in the Finsbury section of London are named in his honour.

Writing in Hind Swaraj, Mahatma Gandhi declared Naoroji to be both “the author of nationalism” and “the Father of the Nation”. “Had not the Grand Old Man of India prepared the soil,” concluded Gandhi, “our young men could not have even spoken about Home Rule.”