Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata/ JRD Tata lovingly called as “JRD” is the man responsible for making “Tata Group” one of the most successful and prestigious business groups of India. JRD Tata was born in France on July 29, 1904 to a successful businessman Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and Suzanne Brière. His mother was the first woman in India to drive a car.
After completing his education in France, he did compulsory service in the French army for one year. An avid flyer,he got the first ever pilot license issued in India. JRD Tata married Thelma Vicaji in 1930 but had no children.
JRD joined Tata & Sons in 1925 as an apprentice. His passion for flying continued even after he joined his father in his business, Tata & Sons. India’s first commercial airlines “Tata Airlines” was launched by JRD in 1932 which was later renamed as Air India. in the year 1938, at the young age of 34, he got elected as the Chairman of Tata & Sons. Heading the largest Industrial group in India, JRD led Tata Group to great heights of success. JRD joined Sir Dorabji Tata Trust in 1932, which established Tata Memorial Center for Cancer, Research and Treatment in 1941. The trust also established Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 1936, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in 1945 and National Centre for Performing Arts.
Tata Motors, as a joint venture with Daimler-Benz of Germany, was launched by JRD in the year 1945. Tata Motors went on to dominate commercial vehicle market in India for many years. In 1953, JRD was appointed as the Chariman of Air India and as a Board Member of Indian Airlines.
Being a person of high ethical standard and a great human being, he was always concerned about the welfare of his staff and workers. In 1956 he initiated a program with the aim of closer employee association with management.
JRD Tata went on to climb the stairs of success and founded many companies later. Tata Tea Ltd. was founded in 1964, while Tata Consultants Services and Titan Industries were founded in 1968 and 1987 respectively.
JRD Tata was awarded with India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his selfless service towards humanity. He also won several other respectable Indian and International awards, some of them were Padma Vibhushan, Tony Jannus Award, Edward Warner Award of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Canada, Guggenheim Medal for aviation and United Nations Population Award.
JRD Tata served as the Chairman of Tata & Sons for 50 years. At the age of 89, he died on 29th November 1993 in Geneva, Switzerland due to a kidney infection.
JRD Tata will always be remembered for his contribution to India and its people. He remain an inspiration to the people of India.