Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A respectful homage to Bharat Ratna J.R.D.Tata as flashed on the f.b. on Feb.16,2011.

Bishwa Nath Singh

Let us not forget one who was pioneer in the field of accelerating Industrial growth in our country and founder of India’s first Commercial Airlines who had distinction to be the recipient of our country’s second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 1957 and later on honored with our country’s highest civilian award the Bharat Ratna in 1992 ! He was none else than Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata popularly called as JRD Tata .Let us join to pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to this great entrepreneur whose untiring services will be often cherished by all of us!


(Photo of  Bharat Ratna J.R.D.Tata)

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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was born on June 29 1904, in a pretty house in Rue de Halevy in Paris to French girl Sooni and Indian Parsi R.D. Tata, He was the second child of his parents who was named Jehangir by his most loving Parents.... Jehangir means the conqueror of the world. His father was a first cousin of Jamsedji Tata, a pioneer industrialist in India. As his mother was French, he spent much of his childhood in France and as a result, French was his first language. He had studied in England, Japan and France also. He had attended the French Foreign Legion and later on he had attended the Cathedral and John Connon School, Bombay now called Mumbai in India. He did not continue beyond matriculation as it was mentioned by a Biographer.He had joined the French army as it was mandatory to serve for one year. He had actually wished to continue serve in the French army. But, providence provided him a stroke of good fortune He left the army just before his regiment was destroyed during a Moroccan expedition. When he was a teen he was sent to the Tata Iron and Steel Company in Jamshedpur and, at just thirty four, became the chairman of Tata Sons. JRD’s business career began when he was recruited by Tata & Sons to work as an apprentice. He was highly inspired early by aviation pioneer Louis Blériot, and took to flying. On February 10 ,1929, he had obtained his pilot’s license, the first Indian man to do so. In 1932, JRD formed Tata Aviation Service. He went on to build Tata Airlines, that later became the nationalized Air India. In 1938, he was chosen as the chairman of Tata & Sons. He was just thirty four. At that time, he controlled fourteen enterprises. When he left after fifty years in 1988, Tata & Sons had ninety five companies under its wing.He 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. 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 in 1946 became Air India, now India's national airline. Air India International, which was the country’s first international airline, was launched by him in 1948. He was appointed as chairman. his sterling service to Indian aviation was recognized and he was honored as an Honorary Air Commodore of India.He had joined Tata & Sons as an unpaid apprentice in 1925. In 1938, at the age of thirty four, he was elected Chairman of Tata & Sons making him the head of the largest industrial group in India. For decades, J R D 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 Rs Six hundred twenty Million to over Rs One hundred Billion. He started with fourteen enterprises under his leadership and half a century later on July 26, 1988, when he left , Tata & Sons was a conglomerate of ninety five enterprises .He was the trustee of 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 in 1936, the Tata Institute of Fund In 1948, he had launched Air India International as India's first international airline. In 1953, the Indian Government appointed him as Chairman of Air-India and a director on the Board of Indian Airlines - a position he had retained for twenty five years. For his crowning achievements in Aviation, he was bestowed with the title of Honorary Air Commodore of India.In 1956, he had 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. In 1979, Tata Steel instituted a new practice: a worker being deemed to be "at work" from the moment he leaves home for work till he returns home from work. This made the company financially liable to the worker for any mishap on the way to and from work. Now they have withdrawn all this eight work and many liabilities to the worker. He had empowered his employees by giving them a stronger stake in company affairs. He launched corporate schemes such as employees’ provident fund, free medical treatment and restricted working hours to eight per day. Some of his pioneering employee welfare schemes were adopted by the government. Tata Steel Township became noted for its roads, sanitation and quality of life. It was selected by the UN as a Global Compact City. He was a prolific letter-writer,and this first-time compilation of some three hundred of his letters reveals various facets of his personality, his relationships with people, the projects he was involved in, his views on issues, his kindness, forthrightness and sense of humor, his concerns as a citizen, the values he lived by, and his personal interests. The range and depth of his interests and concerns are reflected in the huge cross-section of people these letters are addressed to: family members, his colleagues in Tata, business associates, ministers and bureaucrats, friends in India and abroad, as well as others who were not known to him. The exchange of letters between him and his father too were touching testimony to his affection and ambition even as a little boy. In one letter, he had written while he was in teen ‘Papa I am sure that you merit the legion de’honeur in your business because you work as no many persons did work. When I shall be big I shall be like you…and I kiss you so much that I can’t tell you.’ He was very humorous and used to be most perturbed about the way people carelessly used articles – ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. An article has such significance, he often said.’He was a versatile genius. He used to be equally at home whether it was a blast furnace or an ice-cream party, freezer, an aircraft engine or a cigarette lighter. He was a gentleman at all times and very likeable in his nature. He was a non-chauvinist and very humorous was told that everyday from the large bouquet of fresh flowers in his room, he’d pick a rose and take it home for his ailing wife Thelma who he married in Paris in 1930 .He did not miss iit any single day.’ ‘He loved to live dangerously, ‘Had he not piloted a plane at the age of seventy eight, skied on the mountains and performed the most difficult workouts in the gym in his house nearly till the end!’ He had passed away in Switzerland on November 29,1993 at the age of eighty nine. Our Indian Parliament had adjourned in his memory in a gesture rarely accorded to non-Members of Parliament He was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris in France He was awarded the Legion of Honour from the French government in 1954.He had honor to be the recipient of our country’s second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 1957. In 1988, he was awarded the Guggenheim Medal for Aviation. He was later on honored with our country’s highest civilian award the Bharat Ratna in 1992. The UN recognized his efforts towards family planning by bestowing on him the United Nations Population Award during his life time. Let us join to pay our humble obeisance to his lotus feet and pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to him who will be remembered and cherished by all for ever!


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