Books

Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism. Harvard University Press, 2020.

Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), popularly known as the “Grand Old Man of India,” was a Parsi intellectual, educator, economic and political thinker, and Indian nationalist leader. He was the most important and influential nationalist leader before Mohandas K. Gandhi, and he made significant contributions towards global anti-imperialism. The first Indian to publicly identify swaraj or self-rule as the goal of the Indian National Congress, Naoroji was thrice president of the Congress and the first Indian to be elected to the British House of Commons. Early in his career, Gandhi referred to Naoroji as the “father of the nation” and a “mahatma”–titles that Gandhi now enjoys in modern India. This is the first comprehensive biography of Dadabhai Naoroji to appear in eight decades. It analyzes three critical stages of his political career to demonstrate how Naoroji developed his devastating critiques of British imperialism into a clarion call for Indian self-government.

Naoroji OUP volume

Dadabhai Naoroji: Selected Private Papers. Co-edited with S.R. Mehrotra. Oxford University Press, 2016.

This volume brings together a substantial collection of private papers of Dadabhai Naoroji from the National Archives of India. It chronicles Naoroji’s interactions with political leaders, scholars, friends, and acquaintances from Allan Octavian Hume, one of the founders of the Indian National Congress, to the well-known economic thinker Romesh Chunder Dutt and Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the famous Indian political leader whom Naoroji mentored. A substantial section on correspondence with Behramji Malabari, the Parsi writer and social reformer, throws light on Naoroji’s parliamentary campaigns and his interactions with Indian princes. The volume includes a detailed Introduction which sets the context for Dadabhai Naoroji’s life and work. This volume complements an earlier series of Naoroji correspondence published in the 1970s.

Read the “Introduction.”

From Ghalib’s Dilli to Lutyens’ New Delhi. Co-edited with Mushirul Hasan. Oxford University Press, 2013.

New Delhi remains the greatest architectural legacy of the British Raj. This volume brings together some of the key documents on New Delhi between 1911 and 1914, helping throw light on the infant capital’s evolution. Reports and correspondence here, collected from the National Archives of India, explain why British authorities judged New Delhi a necessary replacement for Calcutta and how the city took shape in the years before the First World War. New Delhi was much more than an exercise in imperial city planning and architecture. It was a project shaped by historical events such as the 1905 partition of Bengal and the rise of Indian nationalism. It was a city meant to symbolize a new era for the British Raj, representative of political change and the embrace of Indian traditions and public sentiment. But, as these documents show, it was also a project fraught from the very beginning with serious financial concerns—and especially deep concerns about land acquisition and drawn-out litigation—which in time would result in a severely curtailed form for the imperial capital.

Read my introductory essay, “A Century of New Delhi: Political Reform, Questions of Finance, and the Creation of a New Capital for India.”