Dadabhai Naoroji who is also known as the "Grand Old Man of India" and "Unofficial Ambassador of India" was an Indian political leader, merchant, scholar and writer who was a Liberal Party Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom House of Commons between 1892 and 1895.
Naoroji is renowned for his work in the Indian National Congress, of which he was one of the founding members and thrice the elected president in 1886, 1893 and 1906.
On the anniversary of his death, let us look at some interesting facts about "The Grand Old Man of India":
1. Naoroji was born in Navsari into a Gujarati-speaking Parsi Zoroastrian family and educated at the Elphinstone Institue School.
2. In December 1855, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in Elphinstone College in Bombay becoming the first Indian to hold such an academic position.
3. 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. Within three years, he had resigned on ethical grounds.
4. In 1859, he established his own cotton trading company, Dadabhai Naoroji & Co.
5. Later, Naoroji became Professor of Gujarati in University College London.
6. In 1865, Naoroji directed and launched the London Indian Society, the purpose of which was to discuss Indian political, social and literary subjects.
7. In 1867 he also helped to 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.
8. This Association soon won the support of eminent Englishmen and was able to exercise considerable influence in the British parliament.
9. Naoroji was married to Gulbai at the age of eleven.
10. He passed away in Bombay on 30 June 1917 at the age of 91.