Research Programs: Fellowships

Period of Performance

5/1/2019 - 4/30/2020

Funding Totals

$60,000.00 (approved)
$60,000.00 (awarded)

Shaking the Empire: Dadabhai Naoroji and the Birth of Indian Nationalism

FAIN: FEL-262705-19

Dinyar Phiroze Patel
University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC 29208-0001)

Research and writing a biography of Indian politician Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917).

My book manuscript details the life of Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), an Indian nationalist leader whose economic ideas transformed global anti-colonialism in the late Victorian era. Naoroji was the most significant Indian nationalist leader before Mahatma Gandhi. In 1892, he became the first-ever non-white elected to the British Parliament, from where he championed political reform for India. By developing the “drain of wealth” theory, Naoroji rubbished claims of colonial benevolence and instead demonstrated how British rule was responsible for a spate of deadly famines that killed millions of Indians in the nineteenth century. My book will be the first comprehensive study of Naoroji’s career. It situates Naoroji as a global leader, someone with a conscious commitment towards broader emancipatory politics worldwide. Consequently, my study reorients our understanding of how modern politics emerged in India, emphasizing its uniquely cosmopolitan foundations.

Media Coverage

‘Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism’ Review: Portrait of an Independent Mind (Review)
Author(s): Tunku Varadarajan
Publication: Wall Street Journal
Date: 5/8/2020

“Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism” by Dinyar Patel (Review)
Author(s): Soni Wadhwa
Publication: Asian Review of Books
Date: 5/19/2020
URL: http://'s%20book%20takes%20this%20passing,lectures%2C%20pamphlets%2C%20and%20publications.

Dadabhai Naoroji: A new life for the grand old man of India (Review)
Author(s): Niranjan Rajadhyaksha
Publication: Mint
Date: 6/6/2020

Book review – “Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism” by Dinyar Patel (Review)
Author(s): Simon McGrath
Publication: Liberal Democrat Voice
Date: 6/23/2020

Naoroji: 'Un-British' Pioneer (Review)
Author(s): Rudrangshu Mukherjee
Publication: Business Standard
Date: 6/27/2020

All You Wanted To Know About Dadabhai Naoroji (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Fiona Fernandez
Publication: Mumbai Mid-Day
Date: 6/28/2020

Dadabhai Naoroji strove to be inclusive. Today’s majoritarian nationalism represents a betrayal of principles he bequeathed to India (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Dinyar Patel
Publication: Indian Express
Date: 7/27/2020

A Few Heroic Men (Review)
Author(s): Priya Satia
Publication: London Review of Books
Date: 9/9/2021

Dinyar Patel wins the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize for his biography of Dadabhai Naoroji (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Priya Satia
Date: 12/1/2021

Dinyar Patel’s biography of Dadabhai Naoroji wins Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2021 (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Priya Satia
Publication: Indian Express
Date: 12/1/2000

From Bombay to the Green Benches (Review)
Author(s): Abhimanyu Arni
Publication: Literary Review
Date: 7/1/2020

A Nationalist before Nationalism (Review)
Author(s): Siddharth Singh
Publication: Open
Date: 7/3/2020

The Grand Old Man of India and his unwavering legacy (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Navneet Vyasan
Publication: Hindustan Times
Date: 8/5/2020

To Commemorate Dadabhai Naoroji Is To Write an Inclusive, More Complex Colonial History (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Inderjeet Parmar
Date: 8/31/2020

At Last, A Biography of India's Grand Old Man (Review)
Author(s): A.R. Venkatachalapathy
Date: 8/21/2020

The Grand Old Man of India who became Britain's first Asian MP (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Dinyar Patel
Publication: BBC News
Date: 7/4/2020

Associated Products

Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism (Book)
Title: Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism
Author: Dinyar Patel
Abstract: Mahatma Gandhi called Dadabhai Naoroji the “father of the nation,” a title that today is reserved for Gandhi himself. Dinyar Patel examines the extraordinary life of this foundational figure in India’s modern political history, a devastating critic of British colonialism who served in Parliament as the first-ever Indian MP, forged ties with anti-imperialists around the world, and established self-rule or swaraj as India’s objective. Naoroji’s political career evolved in three distinct phases. He began as the activist who formulated the “drain of wealth” theory, which held the British Raj responsible for India’s crippling poverty and devastating famines. His ideas upended conventional wisdom holding that colonialism was beneficial for Indian subjects and put a generation of imperial officials on the defensive. Next, he attempted to influence the British Parliament to institute political reforms. He immersed himself in British politics, forging links with socialists, Irish home rulers, suffragists, and critics of empire. With these allies, Naoroji clinched his landmark election to the House of Commons in 1892, an event noticed by colonial subjects around the world. Finally, in his twilight years he grew disillusioned with parliamentary politics and became more radical. He strengthened his ties with British and European socialists, reached out to American anti-imperialists and Progressives, and fully enunciated his demand for swaraj. Only self-rule, he declared, could remedy the economic ills brought about by British control in India. Naoroji is the first comprehensive study of the most significant Indian nationalist leader before Gandhi.
Year: 2020
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780674238206
Copy sent to NEH?: No