Birthday: July 29, 1904
Died At Age: 89
Sun Sign: Leo
Born in: Paris, France
Famous as: French-Indian aviator
Quotes By J. R. D. Tata
Spouse/Ex-: Thelma Vicaji Tata
father: Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata
Died on: November 29, 1993
place of death: Geneva, Switzerland
Founder/Co-Founder: TCS, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Tea, Voltas, Air India
awards: Legion of Honour
The man who made Tata Group one of the most prestigious and successful industrial groups in India, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, better known as J.R.D.Tata, was a fearless aviator and a visionary ahead of his times. Born in France to an Indian father and a French mother, Tata had an idyllic childhood. His family was wealthy and had the means to fulfill the curiosities of his young mind. He began his career as an unpaid apprentice in the Indian company Tata & Sons and within years rose to the position of the company’s Chairman. From a young age he had been fascinated by airplanes and took to flying. An avid aviator, he became the first person to obtain the first ever issued pilot license in India. He took his passion for flying to another level by establishing India’s first commercial airline, Tata Airlines which later became Air India. Under his astute leadership and direction the Tata Group expanded into newer horizons and became one of India’s most trusted brands. His never ending endeavors to make the world a better place earned him several prestigious awards.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born as the second child to an Indian father and a French mother in Paris, France, in 1904. He had one elder sister and two younger brothers.
He spent his childhood in France and attended the Janson De Sailly School in Paris. He also went to the French Foreign Legion, a unique military unit in the French Army.
He hailed from a wealthy family and was educated in France, Japan and India. He went to the Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay.
In 1923, he went to England for higher studies and enrolled in a crammer school. During this time, a law in France required all young boys to draft in the army for at least one year.
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He started his career as a member of the Squadron in a regiment called Le Saphis in the French Army. Being well educated young Tata knew how to speak, read and type in French and English—a detail that got him posted as a secretary in the office of the colonel.
After completing his one year of compulsory service in the French Army he wanted to go to Cambridge for further education, but fate had other plans for him.
His father, who had been working in Tata Company in India wanted his son to join him. He joined Tata & Sons as an unpaid apprentice in 1925.
Tata loved flying form a young age and had been greatly inspired by the pioneer Louis Bl�riot. He became an Indian citizen in 1929 and also obtained the first pilot license issued in India.
In July 1932, he formed the Aviation department of Tata & Sons which came to be known as Tata Airlines and later became Air India. It was once the largest airlines in the Indian subcontinent.
He was elected the chairman of Tata & Sons in 1938 when he was just 34 years old. He became the head of the largest industrial group in India and led his group to great financial success while maintaining high ethical standards.
He served as the trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust from 1932 and helped to establish the Tata Memorial Center for Cancer, Research and Treatment in 1941.
In 1945 he founded Tata Motors, a locomotive manufacturing company by forming a joint venture with Daimler-Benz of Germany. This company dominated the commercial vehicle market in India for years before entering the passenger vehicle market.
The Government of India appointed him as the Chairman of Air India and a director on the Board of Indian Airlines in 1953. He would serve in these positions for the next 25 years.
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He was greatly concerned about the welfare of his workers and initiated a program in 1956 to give workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the company. He provided his employees with good working conditions, free medical aid and accidental compensation.
Over the next several years, he greatly expanded the Tata Empire. He founded the Tata Tea Limited in 1964, Tata Consultancy Services in 1968 and Titan industries in 1987.
J.R.D.Tata served as the Chairman of the Tata Group for over a period of 50 years making it India’s best known global brand. More than being just a successful business, the group played a very active role in making the Indian society better.
Awards & Achievements
He was the proud recipient of several international awards for aviation including The Tony Jannus Award (1979) and Edward Warner Award of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Canada (1986).
He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his selfless service towards humanity.
Personal Life & Legacy
J.R.D.Tata married Thelma Vicaji in 1930. The couple did not have any children.
He died at the age of 89 due to kidney infection.
This iconic Indian business tycoon was also the country’s first licensed pilot.