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The Man Who Built India-Bharat Ratna JRD Tata


The Legendary Bharat Ratna JRD Tata

“History is written by Winners.”

                                                                                                                  -Napoleon Bonaparte

           There are some people born on this earth who leave you enthralled and bewildered with the dignity, achievements, wisdom, and vision. They are larger than life. They just leave us with a wide mouth open with awe. They write the history, present, and future of the nation. They go ahead of their times. Writing about such veterans feels unjustified and every jargon and proverb seems an understatement. They have such charismatic aura that they leave their hearts and mind in society forever and ever after their demise. They are the people who touch anything turns into gold. They are the NATIONAL ASSET of the nation.

Such is the legend is Bharat Ratna Jahangir Ratan Dadabhoy Tata or JRD Tata.

K.R Narayan; Former President of India considers him ‘Father of Industrial Revolution conceptually as well as practically.’

Jahangir is an inspiration, an idol, a role model, a pioneer, a humanitarian, a nation-builder and what not. He was the strength who not only pushed the automobile and Telecom industry forward but also pushed the society and nation to excellency.JRD Tata is one of the most successful businessman in India.

He was a man who saw tomorrow. To what extent a human being can visualize that he writes not only the destiny of himself but also of the nation. The vision of a single human being can create and build the entire nation.JRD is the pillar and roots of the society and nation.

 In 1887, Jamshedji Nuserwanji Tata established Tata and sons. He belonged to Navsari, Gujarat. He had four sons but Jahangir was the son of RD Tata; the brother-in-law and business partner of Jamshedji. When Jamshed Ji expired in 1904, JRD was born to add wings to his crest to measure the sky beyond his limit.JRD was born to a French mother named Suzzane Bierre and Parsi cum Indian father. He spent his formative years in France. His friends usually call him ‘Jeh’.Jahangir did his schooling from Bombay and Paris. In Paris, he learned French and in Bombay, he learned English.

After completion of school education, JRD worked in the French Army for a year. He enrolled himself at the University of Cambridge but he skipped college education because his father summoned him back to join their family business. This was the lingering regret for him.

JRD says,

“You aim for perfection, you will attain excellence.

If you aim for excellence, you will attain neither.”

His First and Last Love

JRD had a great inclination towards motor cars. In 1930, his father gifted him his first love Bugatti and soon his first love made him meet his last love i.e. his wife Thelma. Once he was caught by the police while driving the car very speedily. He went to the lawyer for rescue. There his eyes met with Thelma and soon the love converted into a wedding knot in December 1930.

The Dawn of the career of JRD Tata

In earlier times, Tata used to operate from Navsari, Gujarat in the early nineteenth century. In 1921, Bombay House was structured as the headquarter of Tatas which was structured by George Bated the same man who is behind the architecture of Gateway of India.

In 1924, it was inaugurated as the headquarter of Tatas named Bombay House. In 1925, JRD joined Tata Business. He was then sent to Jamshedpur to understand the intricacies of the steel manufacturing plant.

At the onset of his career, he was sent to Jamshedpur to understand the steel manufacturing and intricacies of company management. He joined Tata business as an unpaid Apprentice to a retired ICS Officer John Peterson. He used to sit on a small stool outside the room of the General Manager’s office. His duty was only to check the documents that went in and went out. Later, JRD sat on a small desk in the corner of Peterson’s office.

It was his modesty when he said on being promoted that ‘it was an aberration, perhaps because I was hard-working’.

In 1926, when his father died he became the head of his family and the permanent director of the Tata sons at the age of 22. The vision of JRD was Jamshed Ji's vision to make India an industrialized and strong economic country. The motive of JRD was to build the basic industry-first though he went beyond the imagination.

 Nobody knew the young JRD is going to create history and going to be top on the list of top entrepreneurs in India.

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Passion transformed into Air India

“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”                                                       

                                                                                                                                   -Jonathan Swift

During world war second, the young Jeh said that the war should continue so that he could become the Pilot and he could fly over these bombers and execute them.

JRD took his first joyride on an airplane when he was 15 years old and then onwards he left the earth to dive into the sky to find the pearls for his country India. The little boy did not confine his passion for himself. He added feathers to his passion and added a strong desire to commence the Aviation industry in India in his mind and heart.

When the country was making continuous and tireless efforts to establish the railway tracks properly, this man envisioned to make India fly into soaring skies. JRD became its first Indian pilot in February 1929 and Tata Airlines was born on 1st October 1932.

In 1933, Tata airlines flew 160 miles and carried 155 passengers. The passage of time encountered many other technological advancements. Boeing and Airbuses crossed the seven seas with the spirit of JRD Tata. Tata airlines began the noted Air India Aviation on 29th July 1946.

On 1st August 1953, JRD became the chairman of Air India and a director of the board of Indian Airlines. He successfully piloted a flight from Bombay to Karachi and marking the silver jubilee of his life in aviation at the age of 78 in 1992. In August 1990, Air India was recognized by Guinness World Records.

JRD Tata has conferred the title of Honorary Air Commodore of India for his crowning achievements in Aviation.

The then PM of India Indira Gandhi wrote to JRD,

“Jeh, we are proud of you and of the airline. No one can take satisfaction from you. No one can step to you in this respect.”

Man Mohan Singh, the former PM of India says,

“His passion for flying contributed to his being the first Indian to fly and Aircraft from Karachi to Mumbai launching India civil Aviation Industry. He builds Air India into an airline to a global repute.”

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JRD Tata as a Philanthropist

The Tata Memorial Hospital became the first Hospital in India specialized in the treatment of cancer. The hospital was inaugurated on 20th February 1941. This hospital is excelled in service and dedication. It not only provides specialized treatment but also became a launching pad of treatment and diagnosis throughout the country.

He wanted a happy country. He changed the ‘you go to let's go’. He believed in rewards for humanity. He was the beacon of light for the people.

Indian Institute of Science is a university and serves as a window to monitor the competence of rural development in science and engineering in India. The Nobel laureate like C.V Raman, Homi Bhabha, Dr.Vikram Sarabhai is some of the luminaries associated with this institute.

In 1944, JRD Tata anticipated the Bombay plan to be executed for nurturing the country’s industrial efficiency.JRD believed that industrial growth plays a significant role in the Indian economy. The plan was grouped by two more prominent persons of India named GD Birla and Kasturbhai and Lalbhai. Though the plan was not executed considering it much ahead of its time and it demands hefty investments but it made uncomfortable the Britishers. The Indian President calls this plan the most valuable contribution to India.

In 1947, there was an advent of refugees when the country was undergoing many toils and tribulations during independence.JRD in consideration of underprivileged recommended the then Prime Minister, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, to create a national relief fund to aid the destitute people. He wanted to render substantial grants to the funds. Though Nehru Ji didn’t give green signal to the proposal at that time. Mr. Nehru nodded his head to commence the scheme what today we know as Prime Minister Relief Fund which is the major source of contributing to every natural calamity.

JRD as a Pioneer

“Never limit your vision based on your current resources.”

                                                                                                                               -Michael Hyatt

JRD Tata is credited to pioneer many of the first like Indian Industries, Airlines, Chemicals, cancer Research, Software Services, Automobiles, Pure Sciences Research, and Center for Performing Arts.

The heroic expedition of the conqueror of the world began with the birth of Telco in 1950. The story of the automobile in India is scripted by JRD Tata. Telco; Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company was the former name of Tata Motors. Tata Motors was the first automobile factory in India. It has served the nation with trucks cars, utility vehicles, and defense vehicles across the length and breadth of our country. Tatas has touched the lives of millions with the product it produces. It has affected our lives in many ways. The Tatas has touched the lives of the vehicles we drive, from the tools we use and from the bridges we cross.

In 1956, he espoused the working hours of 8 hours a day, free medical facility, workers provident fund schemes and workers compensation scheme.HR departments were established to manage the employees and labors and solve the disputes among them. He introduced the concept of paid leaves. He also altered the selection process on a merit basis. He believed in rewards for humanity. He was the beacon of light for the people.

JRD also primarily and essentially contributed to TCS Tata Consultancy Services. It was in 1969 that JRD recognized it as a major outsourcing firm. The brother-in-law of JRD Tata advised him that there is a need to collect the data processing of the Tata group in a single unit. Ratan Tata says that TCS was started as a company that put the documents with punch cards and back having little international exposure but in due course of time it emerged as a gigantic IT industry.

Mahatma Gandhi said,

“Tatas represent the true spirit for adventure. Tata sports Foundation are trying their best to keep that spirit alive.”

The Football Academy was started by JRD in order to get sports the new heights.

An industrialist is also a man of creativity and culture. He created National Culture for Performing Arts with J.J Bhabha in June 1966.

JRD Tata story is the one of the top- most exhilarating and inspirational success stories of entrepreneurs in India.

What makes JRD, JRD Tata-humanitarian zeal, affection, modesty, ethics, value, compassion

It seems unbelievable that such a powerful person who touched the sky can be so humble and down to earth. The Asst.Director of NCPA, Khorshed A.Divecha says,

“He has touched the power but he is untouched by it and that is his humility.”

JRD had a keen eye to search for talent. It was the time of the 90s when a young girl sought an advertisement of ‘Development Engineer’ in an automobile company in a newspaper under which it was written that, ‘ladies need not apply’. The young girl agitated on gender discrimination wrote a postcard to the chairman of the company. The chairman of the company might have thrown or ignored the postcard of that young girl, but he called up that girl for an interview and changed the history and future of India by recruiting that young girl for the job. That owner of the automobile company was none other than Mr.JRD Tata and the young girl was Sudha Murthy, chairman of Infosys. Then onwards females are being recruited in the corporate companies which were not considered earlier the women’s domain of working.

Once, Sudha Murthy was waiting for her husband after office hours. It was getting dark in the evening.JRD Tata came and stood next to Sudha Murthy and asked him why she has been standing here since office time is over. When Sudha told him that she has been waiting for her husband, Mr.JRD too waited for him until her husband came. He said, “It is getting dark and there is no one in the corridor. I’ll wait for you until your husband comes. Sudha Murthy was standing their nervous and was thinking, “There was not any air of superiority about him. He is a chairman and a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee.”

Just then Mr. Murthy turned up and she rushed out, JRD called and said to Mrs. Murthy, “Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.”

In 1982, Sudha Murthy had to resign from her job at Telco. When JRD asked him the reason, she told that her husband wants to open an IT industry named Infosys. Sudha was doubtful and fearful whether they will be successful or not.JRD encouraged them by saying, “Never start with diffidence. Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. I wish you all the best.”

The greatness of the man is seen when he recognizes his own deficiencies and changes himself for the betterment of himself and society.JRD was a short-tempered person but in due course of time, he changed himself into a tolerant and persevered person. Ratan Tata states that some people have deeply hurt him but he has learned to forgive people easily. Generally, the iconic figures like JRD are not cognizant of their fourth class employees but JRD Tata greets his peons with a broad smile.

Soon, JRD became synonymous with love, care, help, and dedication. He always used to say he wanted India to become a happy India rather than a superpower India.JRD says, “I don’t want India to become a superpower, I wanted to be a happy country”.

Incorporate a world wherein many entrepreneurs are determined to earn only money and cheat people, he represents ethical value in the corporate world. He has lived the life he preaches. He has stood in a queue for a movie ticket, drive his own car, waited at the railway station, gave lifts to the people standing and waiting for a bus. Ratan Tata states that JRD was his good friend in hard times. His smile and his presence is felt by all within and outside his empire

 He also funded the Homi Bhabha Research and helped in the nuclear program.

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A Great Team Leader

 JRD Tata Says,

“To lead men, you have to lead them with affection.”

JRD was a great team leader. He believed in teamwork and had the expertise to make his team despite their individual drawbacks. He always stressed teamwork to achieve success. He always credited his team and keep his team forward for his achievements. This is the most significant trait of a successful entrepreneur who knows the importance of teamwork and credits its team.

Precise and Particular

He was very precise and specific for minute things as well. Right from the interior to the wine poured in passenger’s glasses, from the color of the saris and hairstyle of Air hostess to the toilet papers of washrooms, he used to check each and everything by himself.

JRD had a fantastic sense of humor as well. He was fond of jokes and had maintained a small black diary wherein he used to write the jokes.

Bharat Ratna in 1992

JRD Tata has been conferred the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna of India. JRD Tata is the first and only industrialist who is ornamented with this jewel in 1992.

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Last Words of JRD

The biographer of JRD Rusi M. Lala stated that once JRD said to him,

 “I think I should be born in India because India is land of opportunities”.

The conqueror of the world Jahangir Ratan Dadabhoy Tata is a multi-faceted personality who left his footprints on the map of the country forever and ever. He was unstoppable. JRD didn’t build monuments, he built people. His initiatives only exported success. His empire grew by leaps and bounds. His empire grew by leaps and bounds. Tata Chemicals, Tata Consultancy, and Tata Exports were initiated to export success. He couldn

By Meghna