June 13, 2020

Dadabhai Naoroji: A new life for the grand old man of India

Niranjan Rajadhyaksha reviews the new biography of Dadabhai Naoroji, written by Dinyar Patel. 




"Some defining features of Naoroji shine through in the book. First, his commitment to factual arguments, as would be expected of a man whose first love was mathematics—it was a common attribute among the national leaders of his time before M.K. Gandhi introduced the politics of the inner voice. Second, the deep thought that went into constructing the famous argument of how British rule was draining India of its wealth, an argument that has subsequently lost some of its bite thanks to the work of contemporary economic historians who have painted a more nuanced picture of why India became an economic laggard. Third, his ability to build coalitions to further his political campaigns, be it with progressive businessmen in 1850s Bombay or with Indian princes after the 1870s or with Irish Home Rule activists during his parliamentary campaign. Fourth, his persistent interest in greater freedom for women, from setting up six schools for girls in Bombay in collaboration with Maharashtrian social reformers to the support he got from Emmeline Pankhurst and Florence Nightingale in his London campaigns."


Read the complete review here.

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