A commemorative postage stamp on Dadabhoy Naoroji, the Grand Old Man of India, first Asian to be a British Member of Parliament (MP) :
Issued by India
Issued on Dec 29, 2017
Issued for : Department of Posts is pleased to issue a Commemorative Postage Stamp on Dadabhai Naoroji. The stamp also depicts Udvada Atash Behram Fire Temple and Elphinstone College. The Fire temple in Udvada is one of the eight fire temples (holy place of worship) of the Zoroastrian religion in the country and the oldest fire temples in India, dating back to the 8th century, and represents the historical cultural and religious links with ancient Persia. This temple also symbolizes the contribution of Dadabhai Naoroji in spreading the message of Zoroastrian concepts and promoting social reforms in the Parsi Community. The temple attracts Zoroastrian pilgrims from all parts of India and from around the world.
Stamp/First Day Cover/Brochure : Sh. Sankha Samanta
Cancellation Cachet : Smt. Nenu Gupta
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.5 million
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
Name : Dadabhai Naoroji
Born on 4 Sep, 1825 at Bombay, British India [now Mumbai, Maharashtra, India]
Died on 30 Jun, 1917 at Bombay, British India
- Dadabhai Naoroji, known as the Grand Old Man of India was one of the guiding lights in the late nineteenth century who played a cardinal role in shaping India’s destiny. He had the distinction of becoming a Liberal Party Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom House of Commons between 1892 and 1895, the first Asian to be a British MP. Naoroji is also credited with the founding of the Indian National Congress, along with A. O. Hume and Dinshaw Edulji Wacha. His book “Poverty and Un–British Rule in India” gave a brilliant account of India’s economic exploitation under the colonial rule.
- Dadabhai Naoroji was born on September 4, 1825 in Mumbai in a Parsi family, and was educated at the Elphinstone Institute School. He was patronised by the Maharaja of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, and started his public life as the Dewan (Minister) to the Maharaja in 1874. As an Athornan (ordained priest), Naoroji founded the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path) on August 01, 1851 to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its original purity and simplicity. In 1854, he also founded a Gujarati fortnightly publication, the Rast Goftar (or The Truth Teller), to clarify Zoroastrian concepts and promote Parsi social reforms. In 1855, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at the Elphinstone College in Bombay becoming the first Indian to hold such an academic position. He travelled to London in 1855 to become a partner in Cama & Co, opening a Liverpool location for the first Indian company to be established in Britain, but within three years, he resigned on ethical grounds. In 1859, he established his own cotton trading company, Dadabhai Naoroji & Co. Later, he became professor of Gujarati at University College London.
- In 1865, Dadabhai Naoroji directed the launch of London Indian Society, the purpose of which was to discuss Indian political, social and literary subjects. In 1861, Naoroji, alongwith Muncherjee Hormusji Cama, founded the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe. In 1867 Naoroji also helped establish the East India Association, one of the predecessor organisations of the Indian National Congress with the aim of putting across the Indian point of view before the British public. The Association was instrumental in countering the divisive propaganda by some opinionated groups. This Association soon won the support of eminent Englishmen and was able to exercise considerable influence in the British Parliament. In 1874, he became Prime Minister of Baroda and was a member of the Legislative Council of Mumbai (1885-88). He was also a member of the Indian National Association founded by Sir Surendranath Banerjee from Calcutta a few years before the founding of the Indian National Congress in Bombay. The two groups later merged into the Indian National Congress, 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 Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election, he was the first British Indian MP. In 1901, he published his book, “Poverty and un-British Rule in India”. In 1906, Naoroji was again elected president of the Indian National Congress, during the phase when opinion in the party was split between the moderates and extremists. Naoroji was a mentor to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was married to Gulbai at the age of eleven. He died in Bombay on 30 June 1917, at the age of 91. In 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg inaugurated the Dadabhai Naoroji Awards for services to UK-India relations.
- Dadabhai Naoroji’s work focused on highlighting the drain of wealth from India to England during colonial rule. One of the reasons that the Drain theory is attributed to Naoroji is his decision to estimate the net national profit of India, and by extension, the effect that colonisation has on the country. In Naoroji’s book he estimated a 200-300 million pounds loss of India’s revenue to Britain that is not returned.
- He was regarded as one of the most important Indians during the independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi wrote to Naoroji in a letter of 1894 that “The Indians look up to you as children to the father. Such is really the feeling here.”
- Text : Based on the material available on internet.