Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha was a Parsi politician from Bombay. He was a founding member of the Indian National Congress and president 1901.

Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha was a Parsi politician from Bombay. He was a founding member of the Indian National Congress. He was also president of Congress in 1901.

Life

Dinshaw Edulji Wacha was born in Bombay on 2 August 1844 in a middle-class Parsi family. He worked in close association with Dadabhai Naoroji and Pherozeshah Mehta in the Congress and along with his political activities was active in both social reform and education.

Wacha was associated with the cotton industry and was the President of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber in 1915.

Political Career

He took interest in the Bombay Municipality, being its member for forty years. He was a founder member of the Indian National Congress. He worked as its Secretary for several years and was elected its President in 1901.

He was the Secretary of the Bombay Presidency Association for thirty years (1885-1915) before he became its President (1915-18). Early in life, he demonstrated his grasp of public finance and economic issues. 

He not only stands with Pherozeshah Mehta as the maker of the Bombay Municipal Corporation but also with Gopal Krishna Gokhale as the custodian and watchdog of the country’s finance.

Sir Dinshaw was a member of the Bombay Legislative Council, the Imperial Legislative Council, and the Council of State. He headed the Western India Liberal Association from 1919 to 1927.

Wacha as a Critic

Wacha was a prolific writer and was foremost in educating the people and creating an enlightened public opinion on the political and economic issues that faced the country.

He criticized economic irregularity and misuse of finance. He condemned the ‘homeopathic dose’ of Indian participation in legislation provided by the Morley – Minto and Montford Reforms. A great nationalist, economic critic, and financial wizard, he was modest, unassuming, and unostentatious throughout his long life.

Wacha on Hume

Wacha acknowledges the vital role that the Scotsman, Allan Hume, played in maintaining Congress in between sessions, stating, “He is the man to give us steam.” But, Wacha expressed concern over Hume’s growing influence over Congress and micromanagement of its affairs. “Because he is indispensable… [Hume] ought not to behave as a tyrant…He thinks in all matters he must have the upper hand.” Wacha encouraged fellow Indians to take a more active and vocal role in Congress affairs, expressing, “We [Indians] ought to be energetic and patriotic enough to make an advance in our political progress without such aid. We cannot expect a perennial crop of Allan Humes to assist us.”

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