Childhood – JRD Tata was born on July 29, in Paris to a Parsi family. His complete name was Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata. J.R.D. Tata, in full Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, (born July 29, , Paris, France—died November 29, , Geneva, Switzerland), Indian businessman. Read Jeh: A Life of J.R.D. Tata book reviews & author details and more at Biographies, Diaries & True Accounts > Biographies & Autobiographies.

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For two generations and more JRD epitomised a way of life and a culture of business that cared for the country and its people. The whole of that wealth is held in trust for the people and used exclusively for their benefit.

The cycle is thus complete; what came from the people has gone back to the people many times over. Established inthe Tata Group was already India’s biggest business conglomerate when Tata became its fourth chairman in Autobiogrzphy was then just 34 years old. Under his leadership, the Tata assets climbed from Rs 62 crore Rs million in to over Rs 10, crore Rs billion in In the group included fourteen companies with sales of Rs crore Rs 2.

During the last half of the twentieth century Tata entered several new businesses, many of them unconventional, and produced a vast range of products — from airlines to hotels, trucks to locomotives, soda ash and other heavy chemicals to pharmaceuticals and financial services, tea and air conditioning to lipsticks and cologne. The group seemed to make everything and do everything. One of Tata’s earliest achievements was to cajole ten rival cement companies to merge and form the Associated Cement Companies, run by the Tatas.

JRD strengthened existing businesses such as steel, power and hotels. At the same time, the group lost hata in some of its auttobiography core businesses. As an aviator and pioneer flier, he brought commercial aviation to India. As a patron of the arts, he was revered by India’s artists, sculptors and performing artists; under JRD’s tutelage, the Tatas became the biggest buyers, promoters and supporters of the art world in India.

And as a philanthropist, he was respected for keeping alive and building up the tremendously active Tata charitable trusts. His achievements have to be seen through the lens of India’s economic and political history.

Under British colonial rule untilIndia was strait-jacketed by a autobuography exchange crunch for almost forty years after independence, which gravely limited industrial entrepreneurship. From to severe government controls on big business further curbed the growth of the Tata Group. Analysing his own performance, JRD Tata insisted that his only real contribution to the group’s smorgasbord of companies was Air-India. For the rest, he generously gave credit to his executives.

Any chronicle of the Tata Group’s growth therefore has to take the contribution of these larger than life men into account. JRD’s story is, in many ways, as much theirs as his own. Yet, it autobiograohy be a mistake to under-assess JRD’s role.

As one of the senior Tata executives, Darbari Seth, once said, ‘Mr Tata was able to harness a team of individualistic executives, capitalizing upon their strengths, downplaying their differences and deficiencies; all by the sheer weight of his leadership. Leadership, according to JRD meant motivating others.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘chairmen’s chairman,’ JRD adopted a management by consensus style: Basically it is a question of having to deal with individual men heading different enterprises. You have to adapt yourself to their ways and deal accordingly and draw out the best in each man.

If I have any merit it is getting on with individuals according to their ways and characteristics. In fifty years I have dealt with a hundred top directors and I have got on with all of them.


At times it involves suppressing yourself. It is painful but necessary. To be a leader you have got to lead human beings with affection.

Be that as it may, Tata spotted talent easily. And once he was confident that a manager would perform, he gave him alas, no women a long rope. If they wanted to be on their own, like Sumant Moolgaokar, he left them to it. This attitude contrasted sharply with the prevailing management styles of other Indian business leaders.

Large Indian companies tend to fall into three categories: While the Tata Group firmly remained a family concern — to date, four out of its five chairman have been Tatas — JRD’s professionalism stood out from the crowd.

Moreover, in most of the family firms, the top management tended to belong to the same community as the promoter family.

With the Tatas, it was different: Tata’s role model in management was the British civil service. How was it, he wondered ‘that a young Briton straight from college, could come to a foreign country and administer various departments with such distinction? The Tata Group faced a constant shortage of managers, and JRD carried out many experiments to expand and improve the pool of talent.

His first attempt — the formation of the Superior Staff Recruiting Committee — failed when none of the recruits stayed with the corporation. This commitment to professionalism served the group well. Infor example, when the coal industry was nationalised, Mohan Kumaramangalam, the then industry minister, left Tata Steel’s coal mines untouched on the ground that these efficiently run mines would provide a model for the nationalised mines.

JRD’s respect for his managers bound the group. Most business groups have disintegrated or drifted apart because of family ownership and management, with rival family members wanting to go their own way.

In contrast, the Tata Group companies are run by professionals who firmly believe in the trusteeship concept laid down by J N Tata as also by Mahatma Gandhi. A university dropout, JRD was something of jrrd self-taught technocrat, and died long before the phrase ‘war for talent’ was coined. Yet, almost every senior Tata director from the s onwards held a degree from a foreign university. Tata willingly financed bright young boys who wanted to go abroad for further education.

He was also a vital bridge between mrd scientific establishment and the government through his founding of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and as the longest serving member of the Atomic Energy Commission. Tata’s personal interest in technology, combined with India’s isolation in the autobjography and s, spurred several group companies, particularly Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals, to innovate in their fields.

At Tata Steel, a Research and Autobiovraphy Laboratory had been opened inand its researchers developed an extensive variety of special steels for applications as varied as parachute harnesses and razor blades. The lab also developed a high-tensile alloy steel — Tiscrom — taha made it possible for the Howrah Bridge in Calcutta to be built entirely from Indian materials. Another corrosion resistant, low-alloy high-yield strength steel — Tiscor — was used for the manufacture of all-metal steel coaches on the Indian railways.

According to JRD, quality had to match innovation. He intensely disliked the laid-back Indian attitude, and much rata his fabled short temper was triggered by the carelessness of others. I know that aiming at perfection has its drawbacks. It makes you go into detail that you can avoid.

“Live life a little dangerously.” – JRD Tata

It takes a lot of energy out of you but that’s the only way you finally actually achieve excellence. So in that sense, being finicky is essential. A company, which uses the name Tata, shares a tradition. The symbol ‘T’ has to be a symbol of quality. The achievements of the Tata Group would not have been possible without the support of its workforce. Before JRD took over, the labour situation at key Tata plants was frequently tense despite the fact that management had poured millions into subsidised housing for workers, offered free medical and hospital treatment, as well as free education and was miles ahead of government legislation in terms of labour practices.

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For example, Tata Steel pioneered the eight-hour day inlong before the principle had been accepted in the United States or Europe Britain introduced the twelve-hour day in Tata Steel introduced leave with pay inand in India this was established by law in Tata Steel set up a provident fund inwhich was not legalised until Tata asked the question: According to Tata, the crux of any successful labour policy lay in making workers feel wanted.

One of the inherent drawbacks of modern industry with its large and concentrated labour forces was that each man felt ‘that instead of being a valued member of a friendly and human organisation, he was a mere cog in a soulless machine.

He is easily led to feeling himself the victim of callous and unfair treatment and little is needed to make him look upon his employers as his enemies and break out into open conflict. Tata Steel became one of the earliest companies in India to have a dedicated human resources department.

Expressing surprise that the company had functioned for so long without one, Tata commented: Few addressed him with the full pomposity of the name with which he was born; he was simply ‘JRD’ to the world, and Jeh to his friends. JRD was India’s most well known industrialist, widely respected for his enormous contribution to the development of Indian industry and aviation in particular. Tata headed India’s largest industrial conglomerate with uncommon success.

But this was only one aspect of his life. He was also a man of great sensitivity and was pained by the jjrd he saw around him and sought vigorously to alleviate it. He also was a philanthropist who wanted India to be a happy country and did all he could to make it so; a patron of the sciences and the arts; and a man with a passion for literature, fast cars, skiing, autobioggaphy flying.

A Century of Trust. Diversification During the last half of the twentieth century Tata entered several new businesses, many of them unconventional, and produced a vast range of products — from airlines to hotels, trucks to autobiogfaphy, soda ash and other heavy chemicals to pharmaceuticals and financial services, tea and air conditioning jrdd lipsticks and cologne.

Against all odds His achievements have to be seen through the lens of India’s economic and political history. Professionalism JRD’s respect for his managers bound the group. Quality first According to JRD, quality had to match innovation. A benign boss According to Tata, the crux of any successful labour policy lay in making workers feel wanted.

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Beyond The Last Blue Mountain: A Life Of J. R. D. Tata by R.M. Lala

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