December 6, 2013

Dadabhai Naroji's Contributions to Freedom Struggle

Dadabhai's love for nation and his contribution to the nationalist movement may be studied under the following headings:
1.            India's Unofficial Ambassador in England: In 1866 Dadabhai founded the East India Association in London. Its object was to inform the British of the true state of affairs in India. During his long stay in England, he made friendship with eminent Englishmen like Gladstone, Bradlaugh and Bright. He was the first Indian to have won a seat in 1892 in the British House of Commons. As member of British Parliament he rendered admirable service to the cause of India and the people of Indian origin in South Africa. It was due to the efforts of Dadabhai and Bradlaugh that the British House of Commons passed a resolution recommending that the ICS examination be held simultaneously both in England and in India. The Resolution, however, could not become an Act.
2.            One of the Founder-Members of Indian National Congress: Dadabhai was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress. Thrice he presided over the sessions of the Congress in 1886,1893 and 1906. His Presidentship of the Congress in 1906 was memorable in many ways. The partition of Bengal in 1905 had very sadly disillusioned the early nationlists. Their power and prestige were on the decline. They, therefore, persuaded Dadabhai to preside over the Kolkata session of the Congress in 1906. Dadabhai's name and fame made it difficult for the assertive nationalists to oppose his candidature, although they would have liked Tilak to hold that office.

3.            His Historic Address to the Kolkata Session of Congress in 1906: Dadabhai's historic address, read out by Mr. Gokhale due to Dadabhai's ill health, laid stress on attainment of "SWARAJ". He said as in the United Kingdom "all taxation, legislation and all powers of spending the taxes were in the hands of representatives of the people, so should it be in India. We do not ask for any favours. We want JusticeThe Congress Session of 1906 passed resolutions on Swaraj, Swadeshi, Boycott and National Education.
4.            His Enunciation of the Nature of British Imperialism and Cause of Poverty in India (His Famous Drain Theory and Views on Indian Economy): Dadabhai edited 'Rast Goftar' (Speaker of Truth). He also started a magazine 'Dharma Marg Darshak'. He was a great thinker and writer.
Dadabhai's views on Indian economy and exploitation of India could be gathered from his classic work 'Poverty and Un-British Rule in India'. Through his famous 'Drain Theory' he explained how India's wealth was being taken away to England in these forms: a) Salaries payable to the members of the India Council, (b) Dispatch of savings to England by British personnel posted in India, (c) Pensions to British Officers, (d) Payments to the War Office for the maintenance of British troops in India, and e) Profits of the British Trading Agencies. The Hindu, an English daily, stated that “as an authority on Indian economics there is none equal to Dadabhai in all India."
5.            His Advocacy of a Just Political System: Dadabhai believed that justice and union of heart and feelings constituted the real basis of political power, and not brute force.
Dadabhai passed away in 1917. His was a great life nobly lived, spanning more than nine decades. As a professor, legislator, tanker and statesman his life was a glorious i saga of devotion to duty. He was, indeed, "a Path-finder of Indian nationalism".


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