04 Aug 1845
Birth of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta
Sir Pherozeshah Merwanjee Mehta, one of the founders of the Indian National Congress, was born on 4th August 1854 at Bombay.
- Pherozeshah Mehta was born to a Parsi trader family in Bombay. He graduated from Bombay’s Elphinstone College in 1864 and secured an MA Honours degree from the University of Mumbai. He was the first Parsi to obtain an MA degree.
- After that, Mehta went to England to pursue law at London’s Lincoln’s Inn. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1868. There, he became associated with other eminent Indian lawyers like WC Bonnerjee, Dadabhai Naoroji and Badruddin Tyabji.
- He returned to India in 1868 whereupon he started his legal practice in Bombay.
- He stressed on the need to bring reforms in the Bombay Municipal government. He later drafted the Bombay Municipal Act of 1872. He is hence considered the ‘Father of Bombay Municipality’. He was the president of the Bombay Municipal Corporation for 6 years.
- He relinquished his legal practice in order to enter politics. He became the president of the Bombay Presidency Association in 1885, the year of its founding. He was to remain the organisation’s president till his death.
- He urged Indians to acquire western education. He contributed to social causes like sanitation, education and health care.
- He was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1885. He was the president of the Congress session at Calcutta in 1890.
- He played a part in the establishment of the Central Bank of India.
- In 1887, Mehta was nominated to the Bombay Legislative Council. In 1893, he was nominated to the Imperial Legislative Council.
- The following year, Mehta was made a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE). In 1904, he was appointed a Knight Commander (KCIE) by the British government.
- In 1910, Mehta started a newspaper called the ‘Bombay Chronicle’. It became an important nationalist newspaper chronicling the national struggle.
- He was nicknamed the ‘Lion of Bombay’ and the ‘Uncrowned King of Bombay’. He was even called ‘Ferocious Mehta’ for his call to Indians to become politically active and involved.
- Mehta passed away on 5th November 1915 in Bombay aged 70.
Also on this day 1935: The Government of India Act 1935 gets the royal assent. 1956: India’s first nuclear research reactor APSARA was commissioned.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.