Source: Naoroji Dumasia, “Sir Pherozeshan Mehta: A Veteran Indian Leader”, Great Men of India, ed. L.F. Rushbrook Williams (The Home Library Club, 1939), 294

Pherozeshah Mehta

Sir Pherozeshah Mehta was born on August 4, 1845 to a respectable middle class Parsi family. After qualifying for one of five scholarships to study Law in England, Mehta came into contact with Dadabhai Naoroji, who he openly acknowledged as his political guru.

In his political career, he was cognizant of the gulf that lay between the aspiration and capacity for nationalism in India. He was guided by two leading principles throughout his political career. Firstly, he felt that British rule was the best possible thing that could have happened to India and secondly, that there was a need for Indian affairs to be an issue in the British Parliament to bring about better administration. Unlike his contemporaries, Mehta recognised that the fundamental requisite for the exercise of freedom was the capacity for its exercise. This recognition led to his devotion to the field of municipal administration.

In 1885, the Bombay Presidency Association was established and he became its first President, a position he held until his death in 1915. He was further involved in various other political and legal associations. The cause for higher education for Indians, along with the treatment of overseas Indians were also issues that he was passionate about.

In his later years, he abstained from Congress politics and the nationalist movement generally but continued to make contributions to Bombay by establishing The Bombay Chronicle in 1913 and helping to establish the Central Bank of India. Both these ventures, which were exclusively managed by Indians, were in accordance to his ideal of swadeshi.

Source: Naoroji Dumasia, “Sir Pherozeshan Mehta: A Veteran Indian Leader”, Great Men of India, ed. L. F. Rushbrook Williams (The Home Library Club: 1939), 294-313.

 

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