1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bhownaggree, Sir Mancherjee Merwanjee

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7409411922 Encyclopædia Britannica — Bhownaggree, Sir Mancherjee Merwanjee

BHOWNAGGREE, SIR MANCHERJEE MERWANJEE (1851-       ), Indian parliamentarian, the son of a Parsee merchant of Bombay, was born in Bombay Aug. 15 1851, and began life as a journalist, but when only 22 was appointed, on the death of his father, to succeed to the Bombay agency of the Kathiawar state of Bhavanagar. Called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1885, in the following year the Maharaja appointed him judicial councillor, a post in which he introduced far-reaching reforms. Settling in England in 1891, he actively associated himself with public bodies connected with India. He was the head of the Parsee organization in Europe and chairman of the Indian Social Club. To the Imperial Institute building he contributed, in memory of his only sister, the eastern colonnade leading to the Indian section. His compatriot Dadabhai Naoroji was in the 1892-5 parliament, but Bhownaggree, elected in the latter year in the Unionist interest for N.E. Bethnal Green, was the only other Indian to enter the House of Commons, and the only one to be reëlected (1900). During his ten years there he impressed the House by the vigour and eloquence of his speeches on Indian matters, and he originated and unflaggingly maintained in and out of the House the long battle against the disabilities of Indians in South Africa and other overseas dominions of the Crown. His cogent and detailed statement of the case for Indians in the Transvaal after annexation was the basis of a blue-book (Cd. 2239, 1904), and was sent to Lord Milner by the Colonial Secretary, Alfred Lyttelton, with the observation that he felt much sympathy for the views expressed, and that it would be difficult to give a fully satisfactory answer. The practical result was that the proposals of the High Commissioner were in some important particulars rejected. Bhownaggree was one of the first Indians to press forward the need for technical and vocational education in India side by side with the literary instruction which was too exclusively maintained. He was made a C.I.E. in 1886 and K.C.I.E. in 1897. In early life he wrote a history of the constitution of the East India Company, and made a Gujarati translation of Queen Victoria's Life in the Highlands. During the World War he assisted in repelling German falsehoods regarding British rule in India by means of a widely circulated booklet entitled The Verdict of India.