Dadabhai Naoroji – UPSC Prelims

Dadabhai Naoroji
  • He was an Indian nationalist, educationist, first Indian MP in British Parliament, an Economist, a mentor and belonged to a Parsi community
  • As an educationist: He began his career as a professor and work towards equality and state-supported universal education.
  • As a British MP: He used the British institution to fulfil Indian interests. He passed a resolution in British Parliament to bring reforms in the Indian Civil Service.
  • As an Economist: Dadabhai Naoroji put forward the ‘drain of wealth‘ theory in which he stated that Britain was completely draining India. He calculated that the British drain one-fourth of India’s revenue every year.
  • His theory facilitated alliance with other anti-imperialists and socialists. Karl Marx briefly dabbled with the idea of the drain of wealth. Socialists like Henry Hyndman applied it in their critiques of capitalists.
  • As a mentor: He mentored Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozesha Mehta, Romesh Chunder Dutt and other leaders.
  • For his contribution, he is described as the “Grand Old Man of India”.
  • Naoroji stuck only to constitutionalist politics, while things changed after World War I. Before the 1920s, advocating self-government for India was a radical idea while this is not the same case after the 1920s. In the 1920s, nationalism changed fundamentally, after the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi.