London home of Dadabhai Naoroji
Why in news?
The south London home where Dadabhai Naoroji, a prominent member of the Indian freedom struggle and Britain’s first Indian parliamentarian, lived for around eight years at the end of the 19th century has been honoured with a commemorative Blue Plaque.
About blue plaque
- The Blue Plaque scheme, run by the English Heritage charity, honours the historic significance of particular buildings across London.
- Naoroji’s plaque was unveiled to coincide with the 75th anniversary celebrations of Indian Independence.
About Dadabhai Naoroji
- Naoroji, often referred to as the “grand old man of India”, is reported to have moved to Washington House, 72 Anerley Park, Penge, Bromley, at a time when his thoughts were turning increasingly towards full independence for India in 1897.
- That red-brick home now has a plaque which reads: “Dadabhai Naoroji 1825-1917 Indian Nationalist and MP lived here”.
- Much of his time here would have been occupied by his work as a member of the Welby Commission, set up by the British government to investigate wasteful spending in India. His key text on drain theory – ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India’ (1901) – was published while he was living in London
- Washington House functioned as an important centre for the Indian community in London – a place where many Indians were invited and where Indians travelled to if they were in distress or in trouble.
- Fellow Indian nationalists Romesh Chunder Dutt and Sister Nivedita are known to have been guests at the house.
- “Naoroji left the address in 1904 or 1905, making it his longest-standing London residence.
Born in Mumbai, the prominent Parsi nationalist was an influential political and intellectual force in both India and Britain.