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JRD Tata

 

JRD Tata

J. R. D. Tata
Born (1904-07-29)29 July 1904
Paris, France
Died 29 November 1993(1993-11-29) (aged 89)
Geneva, Switzerland
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Parsi
Occupation Former Chairman of Tata Group
Known for Founder of TCS
Founder of Tata Motors
Founder of Titan Industries
Founder of Tata Tea
Founder of Voltas
Religion Zoroastrianism
Spouse(s) Thelma Vicaji
Children None
Parents R.D. and Suzanne Tata

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (29 July 1904 – 29 November 1993) was a French-born Indian aviator and business magnate. He became India's first licensed pilot. In 1983, he was awarded the French Legion of Honour and, in 1992, India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.[1]

Early life

J. R. D. Tata was born in Paris, France, the second child of Parsi father Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and his French wife, Suzanne "Sooni" Brière.[2] His father was a first cousin of Jamsetji Tata, a pioneer industrialist in India. He had one elder sister Sylla, another younger sister Rodabeh two younger brother Darab and Jimmy Tata. As his mother was French, he spent much of his childhood in France and as a result, French was his first language. Tata also served in the French Foreign Legion. He attended the Cathedral and John Connon School, Bombay. When his father joined the Tata company he moved the whole family to London. During this time, J.R.D's mother died. His mother died at an early age of 43 while his father was in India and his family were in France. After his mother's death Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata decided to move his family to India and sent J.R.D to England for higher studies in October 1923. He was enrolled in a "crammer" school, and was interested to study Engineering at Cambridge. Just as the crammer course was ending and he was hoping to enter Cambridge, a law was passed in France to draft into the army, for two years, all French boys at the age of 20. As a citizen of France J.R.D had to enlist in the army for at least 1 year. In between the crammer and his time in the army, he spent brief spell at home in Bombay. After joinint the French Army he was posted into the regiment called Le Saphis(The Sepoys). Soon the Colonel of the regiment found that there was a member of his Squadron who could not only read and write French and English[3] but also could type, so he assigned him as a secretary in his office. Tata was once again transferred to a more luxurious office of a colonel. After a 12 month period of conscription in the French Army he wanted to proceed to Cambridge for further education, but his father decided to bring him back to India and he joined Tata Company.

Career

J. R. D. Tata was inspired early by aviation pioneer Louis Blériot, and took to flying. On February 10, 1929, Tata obtained the first pilot licence issued in India.[4] He later came to be known as the father of Indian civil aviation. He founded India's first commercial airline, Tata Airlines in 1932, which became Air India in 1946, now India's national airline.He and Nevill Vintcent worked together in building Tata Airlines. They were also friends.

He joined Tata & Sons as an unpaid apprentice in 1925. In 1938, at the age of 34, JRD was elected Chairman of Tata & Sons making him the head of the largest industrial group in India. He took over as Chairman of Tata Sons from his uncle Nowroji Saklatwala. For decades, he directed the huge Tata Group of companies, with major interests in Steel, Engineering, Power, Chemicals and Hospitality. He was famous for succeeding in business while maintaining high ethical standards - refusing to bribe politicians or use the black market.

Under his chairmanship, the assets of the Tata Group grew from US$100 million to over US$5 billion. He started with 14 enterprises under his leadership and half a century later on July 26, 1988, when he left, Tata & Sons was a conglomerate of 95 enterprises which they either started or in which they had controlling interest.

He was the trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust from its inception in 1932 for over half a century. Under his guidance, this Trust established Asia's first cancer hospital, the Tata Memorial Center for Cancer, Research and Treatment, in Bombay in 1941. It also founded the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS, 1936), the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR, 1945), and the National Center for Performing Arts.

In 1945, he founded Tata Motors. In 1948, JRD Tata launched Air India International as India's first international airline. In 1953, the Indian Government appointed JRD Tata as Chairman of Air India and a director on the Board of Indian Airlines - a position he retained for 25 years. For his crowning achievements in aviation, he was bestowed with the title of Honorary Air Commodore of India.

JRD Tata cared greatly for his workers. In 1956, he initiated a program of closer 'employee association with management' to give workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the company. He firmly believed in employee welfare and espoused the principles of an eight-hour working day, free medical aid, workers' provident scheme, and workmen's accident compensation schemes,which were later, adopted as statutory requirements in India. He was also a founding member of the first Governing Body of NCAER, the

Awards and honors

JRD Tata received a number of awards. He received the Padma Vibhushan in 1955 . The French Legion of Honour was bestowed on him in 1983. He also received the Guggenheim Medal for aviation in 1988. In 1992, because of his selfless humanitarian endeavours, JRD Tata was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. In the same year, JRD Tata was also bestowed with the United Nations Population Award for his crusading endeavours towards initiating and successfully implementing the family planning movement in India, much before it became an official government policy.

Death

JRD Tata died in Geneva, Switzerland on November 29, 1993 at the age of 89. On his death, the Indian Parliament was adjourned in his memory:— an honour not usually given to persons who are not Members of Parliament. He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

References

External links

  • Brief Lifestory of JRD Tata
  • Biography at newindiadigest.com
  • Biography at tata.com


See also

R.M.Lala Author of the best-selling biography, Beyond the Last Blue Mountain: A Life of JRD Tata

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