Feb 14, 2007

Khurshed Framji Nariman


Khurshed Framji Nariman, also known as Veer Nariman, was one of the second generation of Parsi stalwarts in the Indian National Congress. He came into the public eye in 1928 as an independent and courageous politician for his sensational process against the British engineer involved in the Bombay 'Backbay Reclamation' scandal. He exposed the scandalous financial arrangements in this scheme.

Nariman was later elected president of the Bombay Provincial Congress Committee and then mayor of Bombay. His Whither congress? 'Spiritual idealism' or 'political realism' some random thoughts on the Poona conference and after, published in 1933, was unpopular among members of the party.

In 1930 he was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and organised the civil disobedience movement in Bombay. However, following the elections of 1937 in the Bombay Presidency, he was passed over in the selection of the chief minister in favour of B. G. Kher. He complained of a communalist bias to the party high command, but no investigation was taken up by Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhi responded to a separate appeal, but could find no proof for Nariman's complaints.

He was expelled from the Congress party due to his vociferous but unsubstantiated charges. His attempts to reestablish himself in the freedom movement through the All India Forward Bloc (founded in 1939 by Subhash Chandra Bose) failed.

Bombay's Nariman Point and Veer Nariman Road in front of the Churchgate station are named after him.