UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2-  The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

The Grand Old Man’s Inclusive Nationalism

Dadabhai Naoroji was the first modern Indian economic thinker, the first Indian elected to the British Parliament, and the first leader to establish swaraj as the goal of the Congress. But Naoroji was an Indian first in another important way. Throughout his career, he stressed an Indian national identity which overrode religious, caste, class, or ethnic differences“Whether I am a Hindu, a Muhammadan, a Parsi, a Christian, or of any other creed, I am above all an Indian,” he told the Congress in 1893. “Our country is India, our nationality is Indian.”

Participation in Indian Nationalism:

Imparting inclusiveness in India’s Nationalism:

  One episode from Naoroji’s career demonstrates how Indians responded positively to his inclusive, cross-communal politics. After he was elected to the British Parliament in 1892, Naoroji declared himself to be an Indian representative, someone who would fight on behalf of all of his countrymen and countrywomen. This was immediately challenged by several British Conservative MPs. How could a Parsi represent a country with a Hindu majority and a sizeable a Muslim minority? How could anyone represent India when, these Britons claimed, India was not a nation, but a collection of squabbling communities governed by mutual hatred? In December 1893, Naoroji returned to India in order to preside at the annual Congress session, held that year in Lahore. His journey from Bombay to Lahore became a popular demonstration staged by hundreds of thousands of Indians: A thoroughgoing affirmation that someone from a minority community could represent all of India, and that Indians could place their faith in a person who did not share their religion, language, caste, or background. In Bombay, Naoroji was welcomed by around 500,000 people—half of the city at the time—and honoured by Hindu priests and the city’s Muslim qazi.    

Over a century after his death, India is in critical need of remembering Naoroji’s brand of nationalism.

Source:”The Hindu”.


Highlight the participation of Dadabhai Naoroji in the initial phase of national freedom struggle as well as his inclusive brand of nationalism.