Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) was a uniquely global pioneer. He was the first major Indian nationalist, the first modern Indian leader of truly national standing, the first Asian to serve in the British Parliament, the first person to put Indian nationalism in contact with other emancipatory movements around the world, and probably the first colonial subject to popularly articulate the evils of imperialism. It is impossible to imagine what the Indian nationalist movement, or even global anticolonialism, would have looked like without him. How did one person, born into relative poverty in Bombay, so thoroughly change the direction of India and the British Empire?
At the same time, Naoroji left a special mark close to home: on Gujarat and the broader Gujarati-speaking community. This talk will pay special attention to these regional and cultural connections, including familial ties in Navsari and Kutch, his involvement in the Gujarati language press in Bombay, his contacts with the Gujarati-speaking diaspora worldwide, and his extensive networks in Gujarati princely states.
Speaker: Dinyar Patel is Assistant Professor of History at the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research in Mumbai and a Research Affiliate with the Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard University. He is the author of Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism (Harvard University Press, 2020). Patel completed his PhD in history from Harvard and has received Fulbright and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships.
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