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The Godfather of India With Persian Roots (Freedom Fighter)

Map of Persian Empire

Map of Persian Empire

Hello Everyone

The present day Iran is one of 50+ Islamic nations in the world. It has been in news and controversies since long due to its current state and political issues. However, it wasn’t an Islamic state since always. In fact, the name of the country, Iran, was found attested from a 3rd century inscription, which was found at Naqsh-e Rostam, which is directly derived from the word ‘Eran’ from Persian. Yes. Up until 7th Century BCE, it was under the Sassanid Empire. The official religion of the state was Zoroastrianism. However, during the reign of the last ruler, Yazdegard, it was attacked and taken over by Arab Armies. The remaining ones moved to Khorasan Hills to evade further persecution. However, it wasn’t long since Arabs went after those as well. So, they migrated to Hormuz port which is in the southern part of present day Iran, where they weren’t at peace either. Hence, the remaining persians traveled from Strait of Hormuz to India to seek refuge in the Mid 8th Century.These refugees reached Diu on the coast of Gujarat (India). They were then allowed refuge in Gujarat by then local leader Jadi Rana. Persians, then, traveled further to a city today known as Valsad, where they established their settlement after coming to terms with a local ruler about not picking up arms. They named that place Sanjan after a place in Northern Iran in Khorasan Province. They stayed there peacefully until Alauddin Khilji ordered an attack. Again, these Persian refugees travelled in and around parts of Southern Gujarat and Northern Maharashtra escaping several attacks and finally settled in Navsari which is located little North of Valsad in Gujarat where the community flourishing to this day and has now spread across India and even in parts of Pakistan as they hand landed before the British Rule. Also, their holy fire, Iranshah, is burning bright in Udwada even after more than 1100 years. This Persian Community is known as Parsis, who are now an integral part of India and have gifted us many gems like Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (Indian Army), Jamsetji Tata (Indian Pioneer Industrialist and founder of Tata Group) and such others.

This is where our story begins.

On 4th September 1825, a boy was born in one of the Parsi families residing in Navsari. The British were ruling India for more than 60 years by then. And using various tactics and strategies, they oppressed, enslaved and exploited Indians and India’s resources, gains of which were transferred to Britain making them wealthier and more powerful. However, the picture painted back in Britain regarding inhumane practices done by their fellow citizens in India was entirely different. It was presented so professionally that it often came about to the people there as India was being improved under the foreigner’s rule.


While the headlines and details in the newspapers presented a different scenario, the ones in power here were increasing the amount of atrocities inflicted day-by-day just for greed and sheer lust for power.

That boy born in Navsari in 1825 managed to get higher education and grew up to be a patriot and an intellectual. His name was Dadabhai Naoroji. By the age of 30 he became a professor at Elphiston College (Mumbai) in 1855. However, he wanted to start his own business. So, he partnered at Cama & Co and opened a Liverpool location thereby becoming the first Indian Company to be established in Britain. However, shortly after, he resigned from the company on ethical grounds. Then he established his own cotton trading company Dadabhai Naoroji & Co, and also became professor of Gujarati in University College London.

Dadabhai Naoroji

Dadabhai Naoroji

Thereafter, he returned to India and learnt about the extreme level of corruption in the appointments for Indian Civil Services. Hence, he started agitation against it in 1859. Dadabhai, then in 1862, established a group called East India Association. The key goal of this association was to make the general population of Britain aware about horrifying ways in which the British rulers were treating Indians to drain resources and wealth from our country, and to put across a proposition regarding the freedom of India. This was the first time such thought was floated across.

From a Diwan (Minister) to a Member of British Parliament

In 1974, he returned to India. Upon returning, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the Maharaja of Baroda, patronized him as a Diwan (Minister). But Dadabhai Naoroji had something else running through his mind. He wanted to become a member of parliament in England. So, after being in India for a few years, he returned in 1886. After successfully campaigning, Dadabhai Naoroji became the First Indian to become a member of British Parliament on 5th of July 1892. During his time there, he spread the word across about the debilitating situation of India under British rule and helped garner support for our freedom. He became known as the father of Indian Nationalism.

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Promotional material for D. Naoroji as a candidate for Member of Parliament

Promotional material for D. Naoroji as a candidate for Member of Parliament

Sowing the Seeds

After serving his time in the British Parliament, he returned to India and played a key role in establishing the Indian National Congress. He was elected as the party president thrice. In 1906, during a conference organized in Kolkata by Congress, he spoke about the freedom and liberty of our nation thereby sowing its seeds in the minds of locals for the first time.

The Departure

Similar to the ones mentioned above, he floated across many thoughts, took well planned actions which were proven to be very useful for the freedom of India. Thus, where Gandhiji is known as the father of our nation, Dadabhai Naoroji became known as the Godfather of India who not only sparked the torch of a free nation but also kicked off the industrial era fruits of which we are reaping to this day and will continue to reap for years to come. In 1917, on 30th of June this great Indian Visionary, Intellectual, Industrialist, Author, Expert Strategist and Politician passed away, leaving behind some of his profound initiatives and ideologies to guide our ancestors to freedom and glory which we cherish even today.

Gracias

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