Pherozeshah Mehta (1845-1915), an eminent leader of the Indian National Congress, was born on August 4, 1845 in Bombay. A moderate whom Gopal Krishna Cokhale recognised as his leader, Pherozeshah was educated in the best institutions such as the Branch School and Elphinstone College.
While in England for law studies during 1964-68, he was influenced by the personality of Dadabhai Naoroji. He distinguished himself in the legal profession after returning to India.
The Ilbert Bill was denounced by him for being based on injustice during a meeting of the citizens of Bombay in April 1883. Six years later, he was made the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Bombay. In 1915, he was appointed its vice-chancellor.
Pherozeshah became a member of the Indian National Congress in its founding year. He elaborated his idea of nationalism at the Calcutta session of the Congress in 1890. He became President of Lahore Congress after the Congress Surat split (1907). In 1893, he was elected to the Imperial Council. His achievements here are also associated with the amendment bills to the Cantonments Act of 1889 and the Police Act of 1861.
For his social activities, he gained popularity as ‘the uncrowned king of Bombay’. He started a newspaper, The Bombay Chronicle, and founded the Central Bank of India. He died on November 5, 1915 of a heart collapse.