Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree


M. M. Bhownaggree, a Parsee from Bombay, was elected as Conservative MP for Bethnal Green in 1895 (defeating George Howell). He was the second Indian to be elected to Parliament, and the first Tory. Bhownaggree retained his seat in the next General Election of 1900, but lost his seat in 1906. Seen by many as a Conservative tool to counteract the influence of Dadabhai Naoroji and the Indian Parliamentary Party, Bhownaggree did endeavour to bring Indian issues to the fore in the House of Commons, in particular the treatment of Indians in South Africa. Despite his concerns about Indians in South Africa, Bhownaggree supported the Boer War and was seen as a supporter of British Imperialism.

Bhownaggree arrived in Britain in 1882, with an allowance from the Maharaja of Bhavanagar to study law. He was called to the Bar in 1885 and was one of the Commissioners of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition at South Kensington in 1886. Bhownaggree donated money towards the Imperial Institute in South Kensington and a window to St Lukes, Redcliffe Square, in memory of his sister. He founded a training home for nurses, a public gymnasium in London and donated money to many other local associations. In 1897, Bhownaggree was promoted to Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE).

He died in London in 1933, aged 82.

Date of birth: 
15 Aug 1851

The Indian Political Estimate of Mr. Bhavnagri, M.P. / The Bhavnagri Boom Exposed (Bombay: n.p., 1897)

The Eastern Argus (during elections), The Morning Leader, Daily Graphic, Punch

Obituary in The Times

Secondary works: 

Hinnells, John R., Zoroastrians in Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996)

Hinnells, John R. and Ralph, Omar, Bhownaggree Member of Parliament 1895-1906 (London: Hansib, 1995)

McLeod, John, 'Mourning, Philanthropy, and M. M. Bhownaggree's road to Parliament' in John R. Hinnells and Alan Williams (eds) Parsis in India and the Diaspora (London: Routledge, 2007)

Monk, C. J. , ‘“Member for India?” The Parliamentary Lives of Dadabhai Naoroji (MP: 1892-1895) and Mancherjee Bhownaggree (MP: 1895-1906)’, M.Phil Thesis (Manchester University, 1985)

Mukherjee, Sumita, ‘‘Narrow-majority’ and ‘Bow-and-agree’: Public Attitudes Towards the Elections of the First Asian MPs in Britain, Dadabhai Naoroji and Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree, 1885-1906.’ Journal of the Oxford University History Society 2 (Michaelmas 2004)

Ridley, Jane, ‘Bhownaggree, Sir Mancherjee Merwanjee (1851–1933)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Schneer, Jonathan, London 1900: The Imperial Metropolis (London: Yale University Press, 1999) 

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)

Archive source: 

Correspondence with Sir Birdwood, Mss Eur F216, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 

Colonial and Indian Exhibition, 1886

General Elections, 1895, 1900, 1905

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name city of birth: 
Other names: 

otherwise spelt Bhownagree


London, E2 9NP
United Kingdom
51° 31' 52.9428" N, 0° 3' 23.3388" W
Date of death: 
14 Nov 1933
Location of death: 
London, England
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1882
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 


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