Lesser known facts about business tycoon JRD Tata


India has been a home to various noted industrialist who have played a vital role in the growth of Indian economy. One such name is “Tata”. The name itself sounds like a firm pillar in the development of business and economy in India.


Tata group was founded by Jamshedji Tata in the year 1868. This renowned business group has been served by six Chairmen so far with Cyrus Mistry as its sixth and present Chairman.


Amongst these six chairmen, JRD Tata was one of the most enterprising Indian entrepreneurs, who led the Tata Group to new heights of success.


The famous business tycoon, JRD Tata was the Chairman of Tata & Sons for 50 years.


Here we bring you some lesser known facts of this pioneer aviator and an amazing businessman JRD Tata:


1. Born on July 29, 1904 in Paris, JRD Tata’s full name was Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata. He was the second child of Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata. Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was a first cousin of a pioneer industrialist in India, Jamsetji Tata.


2. JRD Tata attended the Cathedral and John Connon School, Bombay. Thereafter, he completed his education in London, Japan and France, before joining the army for one year as a citizen of France.


3. After completing one year in the army in France, JRD came back to India after which he joined Tata & Sons as an unpaid trainee in 1925. Just after twelve years, in 1938, JRD was elected Chairman of Tata & Sons, which made him the head of India’s largest industrial group.


4. JRD had a keen interest in flying and on February 10, 1929, he became the first Indian to pass the pilot’s examination and obtain the first pilot license issued in India. Later, JRD became the father of civil aviation in India and built Tata Airlines in 1932, which ultimately became Air India which is now a renowned Airlines in India.


5. When JRD took over Tata Group as its chairman in 1938, he started on with 14 enterprises under his leadership. After 50 years of his leadership in 1988, Tata & Sons was a corporation of 95 enterprises including the ones they either started or in which they had controlling interest.

For nearly 50 years, JRD Tata was the trustee of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust which was set up in 1932. The trust established Asia’s first cancer hospital, the Tata Memorial Center for Cancer, Research and Treatment, Bombay, 1941 under the guidance of JRD Tata.


7. While in 1945, JRD founded Tata Motors; in 1948, he launched Air India International as India’s first international airline. JRD Tata was appointed as Chairman of Air India and a director on the Board of Indian Airlines in 1953 by the Government of India. He served this position for 25 years. He was also conferred with the title of Honorary Air Commodore of India for his greatest achievements in the field of aviation.


8. JRD Tata was always concerned for his employees and therefore he instigated a program of closer ’employee association with management’ in 1956, in order to give workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the company. JRD Tata believed in employee welfare and advocated the principles of an eight-hour working day, free medical aid, workers’ provident scheme, and workmen’s accident compensation schemes for employees, which were later adopted as statutory requirements in India.


9. JRD Tata received a number of awards during his life time. On the eve of silver jubilee of Air India in 1957, JRD received the Padma Vibhushan. He also received the Guggenheim Medal for aviation in 1988. Because of his selfless humanitarian activities, JRD Tata was awarded the Bharat Ratna- India’s highest civilian honor, in 1992. It was one of the rarest instances in which this award was granted during a person’s lifetime. JRD Tata was also bestowed with the United Nations Population Award in the same year.


10. JRD Tata died on November 29, 1993 in Geneva, Switzerland at the age of 89. The Indian Parliament was adjourned in his memory after the news of his death. This honor is not usually given to persons who are not Members of the Parliament.

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