Tata World - JRD Tata

Pioneer, Legend, Visionary , Futurist are all adjectives that fit JRD Tata with ease. Let us learn a little more about this great Indian, aptly the only businessman so far to be conferred the nation's highest civilian honour, The Bharat Ratna.

"It is virtually impossible to write about J.R.D. Tata. He was a perfectionist in everything he undertook. Stories of him are enshrined in corporate legends." said Keshub Mahindra the Chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra when he wrote about JRD as one of those who shaped India. In many ways this quote by Kesubji a legend himself, underlines the legacy of JRD.


Early Years

Born in Paris, France, as Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, his father was a first cousin of Jamsedji Tata (JN Tata), the founder of the Tata Group. JRD spent much of his childhood in France and later attended the Cathedral and John Connon School, Bombay.

Known for setting high ethical standards and for never compromising on quality, JRD became a symbol of trust and business based on ethics and excellence.

The Business Legend

He became the chairman of the Tata Group in his mid 30's and steered the group to new heights increasing the company revenues many fold. When he left the group had touched nearly a 100 enterprises under his able leadership.

It was his vision to establish Asia's first cancer hospital, the Tata Memorial Center for Cancer, Research and Treatment, in Bombay in 1941. He was very keen to contribute to a robust India and to achieve this dream he gave the nation The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the National Center for Performing Arts just to name a few.

The vision of the great man also led to the creation of Tata Airlines which became Air India as India's first international airline. JRD served as its Chairman for 25 years considered to be the golden period of this airline. The first flight of the Indian civil aviation took off at Karachi in October 15, 1932 with JRD Tata at the controls of a Puss Moth that he flew solo to Ahmedabad and onward to Bombay.

His biography Beyond The Last Blue Mountain by R M Lala is something all of us must read. The Amar Chitra Katha has also brought out a book on JRD. The Government has also released a stamp on JRD Tata as a tribute to the great legend.

JRD stepped down from his position as Chairman in 1991, handing over the baton to Ratan Tata.