This section contains select biographies of some prominent Tata Luminaries who, although not with us today, have left a significate mark on the history of the Group and charted a course for its development and growth.
Jamsetji N. Tata
(1839 - 1904)
Sir Dorabji Tata
(1859 - 1932)
Lady Meherbai Tata
(1879 - 1931)
Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (R.D.)
(1856 - 1926)
Sir Ratan Tata
(1871 - 1918)
Lady Navajbai Tata
(1877 - 1965)
Sir Bezonji Dadabhoy Mehta
(1840 - 1927)
Burjorji J. Padshah
(1864 - 1941)
Sir Nowroji Saklatvala
(1875 - 1938)
Sir Sorab Saklatvala
(1879 – 1948)
Sir Homi Mody
(1881 - 1969)
(1882 - 1973)
Sir Ardeshir Dalal
(1884 - 1949)
Dr. John Matthai
(1886 - 1959)
(1886 - 1938)
(1893 - 1977)
Sir Jehangir Ghandy
(1896 - 1972)
(1899 - 1965)
Jehangir D. Choksi
(1900 - 1984)
Professor Rustum Choksi
(1902 - 1986)
(1904 - 1993)
Naval H. Tata
(1904 - 1989)
(1906 - 1989)
Dr. Homi Bhabha
(1909 - 1966)
Dr. Jamshed Bhabha
(1914 - 2007)
Nani A. Palkhivala
(1920 - 2002)
Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata was born in Navsari, Gujarat on March 3, 1839, and his early education took place in the same town. When he turned 13, he went to Bombay (Mumbai) at the behest of his father Nusserwanji to complete his education. At 14, he joined the Elphinstone Institution, and in January 1856, he was enrolled at the Elphinstone College. Jamsetji received a liberal education at Elphinstone College, which he left in 1858 when he passed out as a “Green Scholar”- the equivalent of a Degree. While still a student, he married Heerabai, the daughter of Cursetji Daboo.
After working with his father for about nine years, Jamsetji started his own private firm with a capital of Rs. 21,000. In 1884, he floated The Central India Spinning, Weaving and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Unlike his contemporaries, he went to Nagpur, where cotton was grown and established a textile mill over there. On January 1, 1877, when Queen Victoria became the Empress of India, the mills opened, and it was called the Empress Mills.
Jamsetji was more than half a century ahead of his time. The textile mills at Nagpur became his laboratory. He personally looked after every little detail of its growth. Here, he tried experiments in technology and labour welfare reforms, nothing but the best was good for him. The excellence of his new plant was matched only by his care for the workers.
Jamsetji realised that India's greatness depended on widespread advancement in learning and industrialisation. He envisaged India amongst the great industrial nations of the world. His mission was to give India a research university, an iron and steel industry and a hydro-electric company.
In 1867, Jamsetji was stirred by the Convocation address of Lord Reay, the Governor of Bombay, who called for, “Real Universities which will give fresh impulse to learning, to research, to criticism which will inspire reverence and impart strength and self-reliance to future generations.”
Since advanced higher learning was not available in India, in 1892 Jamsetji endowed a fund for higher education abroad for deserving students. In September 1898, he set aside fourteen of his buildings and four landed properties in Bombay for an endowment to establish a University of Research. His donations were worth Rs.30 lakh in those days.
While the education scheme was being presented to the British, Jamsetji was already strategizing on his second scheme of setting up a steel plant in India.
In 1900, Jamsetji won the support of Britain’s Secretary of State for India, Lord George Hamilton for setting up a steel plant. He visited the U.S. to study coking processes and inspected the ore markets there. A steel plant on such a huge scale using modern technology was unheard of in India, at that time. However, Jamsetji set the ball rolling and, The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., at Jamshedpur went on stream, seven years after his death.
As early as 1875, Jamsetji thought of using hydroelectricity in the manufacture of cotton. The objective of Jamsetji’s hydro-electric power scheme was to supply cheap and clean energy for the growing needs of Bombay. This resulted in the formation of The Hydro-Electric Power Supply Co. Ltd. in 1910.
It surprised even his close associates when Jamsetji Tata leased a large plot of land at Apollo Bunder in Bombay and announced that he would build a hotel there. He wanted to improve the amenities of the city he loved, and which had been his home for long. He felt Bombay needed a modern hotel in keeping with its importance and to attract more people to India. Since no other businessman would venture it, he decided to build it himself. It was Jamsetji's gift to the city of Bombay.
The construction work began in 1898. The architecture was a combination of Rajput renaissance, Sarcenic and Victorian Gothic styles. It also combined oriental splendour in its exterior and modern European comforts inside. The Gateway of India was yet to be built. There, facing the mouth of the harbour, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel stood in its solitary grandeur. The hotel was completed in 1903 and opened with 17 guests.
Jamsetji Tata passed away on May 19, 1904. He did not live to see the launch of the three projects which he had envisioned for national development. However, his vision lived on and was executed by the able men he had selected to work on these projects.
Sir Dorabji Tata, the elder son of the Founder Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, was born on August 27, 1859, when Jamsetji was 20 years old.
He attended the Proprietary High School in Bombay (Mumbai), and at the age of 16 was sent to a private tutor in Kent. At 18, he attended Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge. During the two years that he was at Cambridge, he distinguished himself at sports, winning colours at Caius for cricket and soccer. He also played tennis for his college, coxed his college boat, won a number of sprint events and was a good horseman. In addition to being a 'blue' for cricket at Cambridge, Dorabji was a life-long admirer of the renowned Victorian era cricketer, W.G. Grace.
He returned to Bombay in 1879 and joined St. Xavier's College and obtained his B.A. in 1882.
Instead of including Dorabji in his expanding business, Jamsetji encouraged him to broaden his experience, and gave him a stint at journalism. Later, he gave him independent charge of setting up a textile project in Pondicherry. Before long, he placed him at the Empress Mills.
On his visits to the Mysore State, Jamsetji came in close contact with the Bhabha family. H.J. Bhabha was the Inspector-General of Education, Mysore State and the moving spirit in the educational policy of this progressive State. Jamsetji seems to have had a hand in the selection of Meherbai the daughter of H.J. Bhabha as his daughter-in-law. At the age of 38, Dorabji married the beautiful and much younger Meherbai Bhabha – fondly called Mehri.
Jamsetji Tata's ambitions for his country and his city of Bombay knew no limits. He was deeply immersed in the three great constructive enterprises of his life – the research university, which was to prepare future generations of Indians to take full part in the scientific development of Indian industry; the iron and steel works which were to establish this key industry on the most modern principles and the hydro-electric works which were to harness the service of the unfailing rainfall of the Western Ghats and relieve Bombay manufacturers from dependence on distant coal fields and pollution. At the time of Jamsetji's death, his three great schemes still awaited fulfilment. Dorabji, with his drive and enthusiasm, aided by the resolve of his brother Ratan Tata, his cousin R.D. Tata, and his trusted lieutenant B.J. Padshah saw Jamsetji's projects through to the stage of accomplishment. It was Dorabji who explored Central India for iron ore, riding on bullock-carts, visiting far-flung places where they had to even make tea out of soda-water.
The name of Dorabji Tata was included in the Honours List in 1910 when he received a Knighthood, in recognition of his contribution to the industrial advancement of India. Sir Dorabji's finest hour came in 1924, when the ambitious expansion programme of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (TISCO) ran into stormy weather. It was his audacity, which had led the company into undertaking a five-fold expansion programme in the post-war period. Spiralling prices, combined with transport and labour difficulties in the West, completely upset the price calculations. Moreover, TISCO's largest pig iron customer, Japan, was struck by an earthquake and the steel prices tumbled.
Followed by the collapse of the financial markets there was not enough money at The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. to pay daily wages. Sir Dorabji and R.D. Tata went to the Imperial Bank where Sir Dorabji pledged his entire personal fortune worth about Rs. 1 crore (including his wife's personal jewellery) to obtain a loan. Sir Dorabji had grit; he had confidence in the intrinsic soundness of the enterprise and took a calculated risk.
At the time of Jamsetji's death, the Tata enterprises comprised three textile mills and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Bombay. Under Sir Dorabji Tata's stewardship were added an integrated steel plant, then the largest single unit in the British Empire, three electric power companies, a large edible oil and soap company, two cement companies, one of India's leading insurance companies and an aviation unit pioneered by J.R.D. Tata. Sir Dorabji had also seen through the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science, which was to spearhead scientific research in India for decades to come. Proud as he was of these achievements, he never failed to give due credit to his father's pioneering spirit. "Kind fate," he once noted, "has prompted me to help in bringing to completion his (Jamsetji's) inestimable legacy of service to the country."
Sir Dorabji Tata had a great passion for sports. To him India owes her first participation in the Olympic Games. Even before India had set up an Olympic Committee, Sir Dorabji selected and financed four athletes and two wrestlers for participation in the Antwerp Games in 1920. As President of the Indian Olympic Council, he financed the Indian contingent to the Paris Olympiad of 1924. He was chosen to be a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Sir Dorabji had the country scoured for sports talent. He arranged for the then Director of the YMCA to tour the country and bring home to the people of India the importance of the Olympic movement. He helped found, amongst other institutions the Willingdon Sports Club and the Parsi Gymkhana in Bombay, the High Schools Athletic Association and the Bombay Presidency Olympic Games Association. His final contribution was the establishment of a substantial trust to which he donated all his wealth, down to his last pearl-studded tie-pin. Sir Dorabji and Lady Tata had no children. Sir Dorabji believed that wealth must be put to constructive use, and less than a year after his wife died, he put all his wealth into a trust which was to be used "without any distinction of place, nationality or creed", for the advancement of learning and research, the relief of distress, and other charitable purposes. This was the beginning of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. Three months later he died.
The Trustees were empowered to sell Sir Dorabji's lands, shares, securities and jewellery. The Trustees were not permitted to withdraw the shares Sir Dorabji had to his credit with Tata Sons Ltd. Through the Trust, he sought to ensure the integrity of the parent firm his father, he and R.D. Tata had founded in 1887. He endowed the Lady Tata Memorial Trust with a corpus for research into leukaemia. The Lady Meherbai D. Tata Education Trust was formed as a much smaller trust, partly from public donations, for the training of women in hygiene, health and social welfare.
On April 11, 1932, Sir Dorabji set sail for Europe expecting, among other things, to visit his wife's grave in England. It was on this journey that, on June 3, he died at Bad Kissengen, Germany. A few days later, almost on the anniversary of his wife's death, he was laid beside her at the Brookwood Cemetery, England.
Lady Meherbai Tata has a prominent place among the pioneers of the women's movement in India.
She was born on October 10, 1879 in Bombay (Mumbai). In the words of Stanley Reed, former Editor of the Times of India, "Meherbai was of medium height; of regular feature, clear cut, and clear-eyed, with that flush through the faintly tinted Light skin which painters tell us is the perfect complexion, she was the most striking figure even in the great gathering of Bombay society. She was well endowed with brains, learned and accomplished. She was devoted to all outdoor games; a proficient tennis player, she was equally at home in all forms of exercise."
In 1890, Jamsetji Tata went to Bangalore (Bengaluru) at the invitation of the Dewan of Mysore, Sir Seshadri Iyer, who intended to assist Jamsetji in his scheme for the establishment of a research institute. It is on one of these visits that he came in close contact with the Bhabha family. H.J. Bhabha was then the Inspector-General of Education, Mysore State. Jamsetji seems to have had a hand in the selection of Meherbai the daughter of H.J. Bhabha as his daughter-in-law. The beautiful Meherbai married Dorabji – the elder son of Jamsetji Tata on February 14, 1898.
Meherbai shared Dorabji's love of sport. She played in several tennis tournaments, winning over sixty prizes, including the Triple Crown in the Western India Tennis Tournament. Together they scored many successes in the All-India Championships. She always wore, as foreign reports phrased it, 'Eastern dress' – 'the Saree' – not the easiest of garments in which to play a winning game on the courts! She was also a good rider and drove her own motor car.
Many a woman in such circumstances would have been content to be a great society lady, however, Meherbai Tata was made of different stuff. She was ever urging to utilise her opportunities to promote the education and well-being of her Indian sisters. She was one of the founders, first of the Bombay Presidency Women's Council and then of the National Council of Women. She was consulted on the Sarda Act designed to outlaw child marriage. She campaigned for the higher education for women against the purdah system and the practice of untouchability.
With regard to women's education, she got full support from her husband Sir Dorabji Tata who encouraged her to take over the local school with the object of developing it into a model school. They brought an expert from England to survey the field of girl's education in India. This survey took over a year and the book in which it took form was for many years the vade mecum which the Board of Education in Whitehall placed in the hands of all women inspectors or teachers proceeding to India, to take up higher education of girls.
Her address at Battle Creek College, U.S.A. is her first considered pronouncement of the Indian situation as a whole. She gave her American audience an excellent bird's-eye view of the history, the art, the religions and the races of India, the Indian states and their rulers, and touched upon the condition of women, their ignorance and the customs, which stood in the way of their development. Meherbai took a very active part during the War in raising contributions. She was also an active member of the Indian Red Cross Society, which she helped generously. In 1919, her services to the war efforts and women were recognised when she was created a Commander of the British Empire and received it at the hands of King George V.
Lady Meherbai Tata passed away on June 18, 1931. In April 1932, as a memorial to his wife, Sir Dorabji Tata set up the Lady Tata Memorial Trust for research into leukaemia. A much smaller trust — the Lady Meherbai D. Tata Education Trust, funded partly from public donations, for the training of women in hygiene, health and social welfare was also set up.
Sir Ratan Tata, the second son of Jamsetji Tata, was born on January 20, 1871. He was educated at St. Xavier's College, Bombay (Mumbai). In 1892, he married Navajbai Sett. The couple did not have any children.
After their marriage, they stayed at "Esplanade House", which was the family home. A year after Jamsetji's death, he shifted to Brightlands on Marine Lines. Around 1915, he moved into "Tata House", a palatial residence, which he had constructed on Waudby Road, close to Esplanade House. However, he lived there only for a few months before he set sail for England for medical treatment, never to return.
He joined the firm of Tata & Sons as a partner in 1896.
After the death of his father in 1904, Ratan Tata looked after the affairs of L' Union Fire Insurance Co. of Paris of which Tata & Sons were agents in India. In addition, he was in charge of the firm, Tata and Co., which had branches in Kobe, Shanghai, Paris, New York and Rangoon trading in cotton, yarn, silk, pearls and rice.
When his father was alive, Ratan had taken keen interest in the reclamation and development of Mahim and Bandra. In 1909-10, he conceived of a plan of reclamation of the Foreshore of Bombay on the West, from Chaupaty to Colaba Sanatorium. In 1916-17, Ratan took an initiative in forming a Backbay Reclamation Syndicate. However, the syndicate had to be dissolved since the Government decided to undertake the reclamation work departmentally.
Ratan Tata had an acute sense of social consciousness. He realised the importance of the struggle of Indians in South Africa under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and supported it both morally and materially. He sent to Mahatma Gandhi, in all, Rs125,000 in five equal instalments to support the noble struggle the Indians were waging in South Africa against apartheid.
He was also attracted to the excellent national work that was being done by Gopalkrishna Gokhale and his Servants of India Society and donated Rs10,000 every year to it. Over the years he made liberal donations aggregating to Rs110,000 to the Society.
He was very concerned about the gross poverty and destitution in India and about finding ways to ameliorate it. He felt that the subject needed a scientific study. In 1913 he constituted a Chair at the London University and agreed to pay £ 1,400 per year for three years towards the expenses. During the course of the First World War, the Chair was transferred to the London School of Economics with a committee of management of 12 members to be nominated both by the London University and the London School of Economics in equal numbers. The grant was extended for another five years from 1916. The payment continued even after his death.
Ratan Tata was also fascinated by India's past. In 1912, he offered to finance an archaeological expedition in the states of Bihar and Orissa. Accordingly, exhaustive excavations were carried out at Pataliputra under the supervision of Dr. A.B. Spooner. Between 1913 and 1917, he paid Rs. 75,000 for this work. Apart from coins, plaques and terracotta of museum value, the location of the 100 column Mauryan Throne Room of the Palace of Asoka – similar to the Palace of King Darius at Persepolis in Persia were discovered. Art wares collected in this expedition are displayed in the Patna Museum.
He was generous and any cause that appealed to him received a substantial donation. He gave liberally for relief of distress caused by natural calamities like floods, famines and earthquakes, for public memorials, schools and hospitals. He gave a donation of Rs. 10,000 per annum for a period of ten years to the King George V Anti-Tuberculosis League started by the Bombay Municipality's Executive Health Officer Dr. Turner. Out of this donation a building was built on Princess Street to provide treatment to the poor afflicted by tuberculosis. He also gave a lakh of rupees to the Salvation Army for a memorial to General Booth, its Founder in India who was a great friend of his father, without attaching any conditions.
Ratan Tata led a hectic social life. He was fond of travelling and spent a major part of each year in England. As a Member of the Carlton Club in London, he was part of the high society in England. In 1906, he purchased the York House in Twickenham, 11 miles from London from Duce d' Orleans for £16,000 and spent another £ 20,000 on converting the 12 acre area around it into a landscaped garden. Ratan Tata was knighted in 1916 in recognition of his manifold services.
Sir Ratan Tata was a great connoisseur of art. For several years during his tours within the country and abroad he collected pictures, paintings, guns, swords, silverware, manuscripts, jades, vases, carpets etc. The collection was handed over to the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay.
In March 1916, Sir Ratan had gone on a brief visit, along with his wife, to China and Japan, when they returned, he had contracted an illness. On October 16, 1916, he sailed on the S.S. Arabia, along with his wife, and secretary P.P. Mistry for England to receive medical treatment. The journey proved to be unlucky since the ship was torpedoed by Germans in the Mediterranean just a day out from Port Said. The ship was sunk but all the passengers were saved. This shipwreck deteriorated his health further. Sir Ratan Tata died on September 5, 1918 at St. Ives, Cornwall leaving behind his wife Lady Navajbai. He was buried at Brookwood Cemetery near London besides his father.
Sir Ratan Tata left a large part of his property for charitable purposes in his will. The Sir Ratan Tata Trust was set up on September 10, 1919.
Navajbai, the younger daughter of Ardeshir Merwanji Sett was born on September 23, 1877. She belonged to the philanthropic Sett family, who were descendants of Neriosang Dhaval, a respected figure amongst the early Iranian refugees to India. In her youth, Navajbai was proficient at horse riding and played a little bit of polo.
In the 1890's, Navajbai married Ratan Tata, the second son of Jamsetji Tata. Living part of the time in England, the couple rubbed shoulders with the cream of British society and aristocracy. They were personal friends of King George V and Queen Mary.
In 1906, Ratan Tata purchased "York House" in Twickenham. During his stay he made several alterations to the house, its grounds, including the installation of the large Italianate fountain and statuary which dominates the riverside portion of the garden.
Sir Ratan and Lady Navajbai were connoisseurs of fine art and collected a valuable collection of jade, paintings and other artefacts through their travels around the world.
After the premature death of Sir Ratan in 1918, Lady Navajbai, managed his Estate. She sold "York House" in 1924. For the rest of her life she lived with style, elegance and dignity, at "Tata House", Bombay (Mumbai), which was built by Sir Ratan Tata, on the lines of the summer palace at Versailles.
Her outlook, ideas and benefactions were without consideration of caste, creed or religion.
A generous donation by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust to the National Metallurgical Research Institute at Jamshedpur is evidence of her progressive mind and desire to use the funds of the Trust constructively. In 1928, she played a prominent part in establishing the Sir Ratan Tata Institute, which was intended to discourage charity in the form of doles, and instead provide employment to poor and needy women by training and offering them opportunities for employment.
"Homestead", her manor at Matheran, was willingly parted as a gift to be used as a convalescent home, along with a donation of Rs.3 lakh on one request from a social worker. As Chairman of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust she invited S.J.I. Markham of the Carnegie Trust to study the problems of the Parsi community and submit a report. As a result, Parsi charities organised themselves to make their charities self-supporting.
She was appointed a Director on the Board of Tata Sons Ltd. in 1924, a position she held right up to her death on August 20, 1965. She is the first woman to be appointed as a Director on the Board of Tata Sons Ltd.
Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (R.D.) was born in 1856 in Navsari, it was here that he received his early education and training. He received higher education at the Elphinstone College, Bombay (Mumbai) and then studied agriculture at Madras (Chennai). He was known among his friends as "R.D." in order to distinguish him from Jamsetji's second son, Ratan Tata.
On completing his education, R.D. began his career in his father's firm Tata & Co. When he joined the firm, its business was already declining. He was sent to Hong Kong and continued to work in the firm even after the death of his father in 1876. In 1883, he was obliged to take charge of the affairs of the company, which was in a very bad condition. It was at this period that he first displayed great ability for finance by putting to an end the vicissitudes of the firm. Jamsetji Tata was very impressed by R.D.'s abilities, and in 1884 he took this young cousin into his firm, the Empress Mills, and later, in 1887, made him a partner in the newly formed Tata & Sons.
While Sir Bezonji Dadabhai Mehta looked after the technical and management side of the Empress Mills, R.D. took care of the financial aspects. During this period, he was entrusted the task of opening a ginning factory at Yeotmal with his cousin Dorabji Tata. R.D. was then given charge of the finances of the Svadeshi Mills, which was doing badly. He successfully steered it clear, along with Dorabji under the guidance of Jamsetji.
The business of Tata & Co., was distinct from Tata & Sons, and Jamsetji had little to do with the firm. He left the control of the eastern branch to his cousin. R.D. Tata moved to Hong Kong for a few years. He opened branches in Shanghai and Kobe dealing in rice and silk. The business grew so well under him that he opened a branch in New York and later in Paris, trading chiefly in pearls and silk. It was here in Paris that he fell in love with Suzanne (Sooni) Briere and married her in 1902.
After Jamsetji's death, the name of the firm was changed from Tata & Sons to Tata Sons & Co. in 1907 with the surviving partners – Dorab, Ratan, and R.D. Tata. Another venture namely Tata & Co., that had been operating in Hong Kong was also merged with Tata Sons & Co. In 1917, the Company was renamed Tata Sons Ltd.
R.D. Tata continued to look after the trading and financial side of the company by devoting more time at the Head Office in Bombay. He played an important role in realising Jamsetji's dream projects - the iron and steel project, the hydro-electric scheme and the research university.
He took charge of the important departments of the firm especially when the firm was passing through its most difficult period during the war. His mastery in steering the House of Tata through its most critical financial phase during the post war re-adjustment, placed him in the forefront of the great industrialists of the day. His mature experience and masterly guidance saw the company through these troubled years. Despite the grave financial struggles he was waging, he never lost sight of the welfare measures for workers. Abiding by these principles in times of crisis speaks volumes about his personality.
R.D. Tata was a member of the Imperial Legislative Council and it was through his untiring energy and perseverance that he was able to secure the protection granted to the iron and steel industry. His association with Japan, which he visited in 1890, helped in the development of the Indo-Japanese trade relations. Just before R.D.'s death, the Emperor of Japan conferred on him the high distinction of the Third Order of the Rising Sun, a title similar to K.C.I.E. or C.I.E. in India.
R.D. Tata passed away in Hardelot, France on August 26, 1926.
Born on May 3, 1840, Bezonji Dadabhoy Mehta was essentially a self-made man. He came to Bombay (Mumbai) around 1850 and began life in a very humble way. He started earning his own livelihood working in small shops, wrapping newspapers, parcels and availing himself of every opportunity to learn reading and writing. There are no records of him ever going to school. He was entirely self-taught and constantly carried an English dictionary with him. He was reticent about himself and left no diaries. Even his children knew very little about his early life.
At the age of 12 or 13, he was hired by the Bombay Times as a clerk to write addresses. At the age of 16, he tried his fortune in the Great India Peninsular (G.I.P.) Railway Service, and was appointed as a ticket issuer at the Byculla Station, Bombay. Bezonji was then transferred to the Goods Department of the Railways at Poona and later to the Goods Department at Bori Bunder, Bombay. He joined Messrs. Cooper and Fulcher, who were doing contract work for the G.I.P. Railways, but unfortunately the firm failed. The Railways reappointed him as a Goods Agent. Bezonji was the first Indian to occupy that position till 1876.
When Jamsetji N. Tata started the Empress Mills at Nagpur, he was in search of an appropriate man to take care of the Mills — a man with common sense, honesty, and intelligence, whom he could personally train. Through the recommendation of Darashaw R. Chichgar, Bezonji was appointed as an Assistant in the Mills.
The reluctant Railway officials released him as they did not wish to come in the way of his progress. They presented him with a silver chalice and a tea service along with a Bible which he treasured till his very end.
Many obstacles stood in the way of the success of the textile venture at Nagpur. Jamsetji and Bezonji aided by James Brooksby, who was engaged from Lancashire, progressively overcame them. What followed was a story of persistent endeavour, readiness to give immediate trial to new machinery, of patient attention to the labour problem, and of constant experiment and research.
After the principal obstacles were overcome Jamsetji was content to leave the development of the enterprise in Bezonji's entire care. In addition to controlling the Empress Mills, Bezonji was constantly at Jamsetji's side through the difficult period which marked the launching of the Svadeshi and Ahmedabad Advance Mills.
By reason of his position among the Nagpur community and his experience of an important industry in the Central Provinces, he was very often consulted by the authorities on questions of public importance. ln spite of retiring from service and active life he participated in the inquiry of the Tariff (Textile) Board on the depression in the Bombay Mill Industry and rendered valuable services to the textiles mills till his very last.
Bezonji's services were rewarded first with a Khan Bahadurship. Subsequently, in 1912 when His Majesty, the King Emperor paid a visit to Nagpur, Bezonji was knighted by the King in a railway saloon. Sir Bezonji Dadabhoy Mehta breathed his last on May 5, 1927, at the age of 87.
Burjorji Jamaspji Padshah was born in Bombay (Mumbai) on May 7, 1864. His family hailed from Navsari. He was the fourth son of Jamaspji Cowasji Padshah who died prematurely in 1880, leaving him at the age of 16 in charge of his business which included a horse stable at Byculla, Bombay.
Burjorji's father was Jamsetji Tata's best friend. Jamsetji's daughter, Dhunbai was engaged to Burjorji; sadly she passed away in 1871 at the age of ten. Upon his father demise, young Burjorji found himself the ward of Jamsetji Tata, who was a wise and considerate guardian.
Padshah was sent to the Proprietary High School. He was among the top most in the Matriculation Standard before he was 14, but since there was an age limit, he was unable to appear for the examination conducted by the Bombay University. Padshah passed the F.E.A. and the Intermediate Examinations securing a First Class from Elphinstone College, carrying away the Gibb's Prize in Physics. In 1883, he passed the First Year B.A. from the Bombay University, winning the Ellis Scholarship in English and the James Taylor prize in History and Economics. In 1884, he passed the Final B.A. with Honours carrying away the Cobden Medal in Economics. With such an academic record, it was natural that his mother wanted him to enter the I.C.S. but Padshah departed from the beaten track and studied Theosophy. With the money he inherited from his father, he went to England with Madame Blavatsky, but soon left the Theosophists as their beliefs did not appeal to him.
He then went to Cambridge to study higher mathematics. On his return to India, he was appointed a Professor, and later, Vice Principal of the Dayaram Jethamal College, Sindh. Owing to the retirement of the then Principal of the College, Padshah who was abundantly qualified for the post, should have been appointed, unfortunately he was unfairly passed over in favour of an Englishman.
This step, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise; for when he returned to Bombay in 1894, Jamsetji Tata, who had asked him before to join his firm, repeated the invitation. Padshah was involved in all the major projects conceived by Jamsetji Tata, but executed after Jamsetji's death in 1904 - The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., The Hydro-Electric Power Supply Co. Ltd., and the Indian Institute of Science. In 1894, Jamsetji commissioned Burjorji to proceed to Europe and America to study similar institutions. Burjorji made an exhaustive report to Jamsetji which resulted in the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science.
From the inception of the idea of manufacturing steel in India, Burjorji had collaborated first with Jamsetji and then with his sons, and it is largely to his vision and foresight that The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. owes its foundation and growth.
Padshah was closely involved in every step of the hydro-electric scheme, not merely on paper but with David Gosling he walked over many miles of the Ghats before the final reports were made and the spots selected for the lakes. When it was thought that there would be difficulty in finding consumers to purchase the electricity generated, Padshah, induced the Directors of the company to enter into an underwriting agreement with others who guaranteed the consumption of all the power generated by The Hydro-Electric Power Supply Co. Ltd.
Burjorji's frequent visits to various States opened his eyes to the utilisation of coconut oil. Jamsetji from his early years had made several investigations for the extraction of oil from seeds and had brought out experts to advise, and in fact, had erected an experimental plant in Bombay. Because of the work entailed in the establishment of the steel and hydro-electric companies, the oil industry had been kept in abeyance. In due course they turned to this industry, and the Tata Oil Mills Co. Ltd. were established in 1917.
In 1905, shortly after the death of Jamsetji Tata, Burjorji induced Dorabji Tata, Ratan Tata and other financiers in Bombay to establish an Indian bank, as a result of which the Bank of India was established. Burjorji studied every branch of insurance prolifically. Even before 1914, his mind had been working on insurance but the pre-occupations of the years during the war did not permit him to put forth a scheme for the floating of an Indian insurance company which would do insurance businesses of every kind. It was in 1918 that he was able to write his treatise on insurance and its benefits to the country. This resulted in the establishment of the New India Assurance Co. Ltd. in 1919.
As an educationist, scholar and thinker, Burjorji had few equals. He was a voracious reader and was practically a living encyclopaedia. His fine memory, his wonderful grasp of facts and figures, and his extraordinary mastery of the most complicated problems were unique. There is no subject which he did not know about and could not discuss with profundity. His views always compelled attention, whether one agreed with him or not. All those who came in contact with him were impressed by the vastness of his information on almost every branch of learning and human understanding. The variety and depth of his knowledge were amazing. Whether it was general literature or poetry, science or philosophy, history or religion, sociology or politics, he was familiar with them all. He was a great admirer of Browning; and had read and re-read even his longest and most difficult poems, some of which he knew practically by heart.
Mathematics in particular was his forte; and he would pore over with delight even such difficult and abstruse works as Einstein's Problems on Relativity. Burjorji had a marvellous memory. He could remember dates, incidents, figures that he could produce with mathematical accuracy. He never used a slide rule. All his calculations were mental and there never was a mistake. He had no use for mechanical aids and when a young engineer told him, "Why tire the brain and not reserve its energy for higher things?" He smiled and said, "The more exercise the brain gets the more energy it generates."
Burjorji would grudge every minute that was taken away from his books. He was a student to the end of his life. The harder the problem he had to solve and the greater the effort he had to make, the deeper were his pleasure and enjoyment thereof.
As an individual, Burjorji was without parallel. Modest by temperament and absolutely impervious to all ordinary human attractions such as money or the desire for distinction, he lived a simple, natural and selfless life. His existence was an embodiment of the principle of plain living and high thinking. He did not care for reward or appreciation. He pursued learning and acquired culture for their own sake, and ceaselessly did all he could, according to his own ideas, for the advancement of his country and the good of humanity.
After he left the House of Tata in 1931, he began touring the world. People of all nationalities were attracted by the wide range of his knowledge and information collected by this brilliant conversationalist. He was a total abstainer, a non-smoker and a vegetarian. The fact that he never wore leather footwear nor rode in a carriage drawn by animals bears testimony to his incredible love for animals. Burjorji passed away on June 20, 1941, at the age of 77. The House of Tata had lost a man who, in their pioneering days, moulded and shaped its gigantic schemes.
Jal A.D. Naoroji (J.A.D.), was born in Mandvi, Kutch, on February 1, 1886. He attended St. Xavier's College, Bombay (Mumbai), the Leys, Cambridge, and was also educated privately.
From a young age, J.A.D. showed characteristics which held high hopes of him becoming a worthy successor to his illustrious grandfather — Dadabhai Naoroji, the Grand Old Man of India. Extremely sensitive, he had a broad outlook and wide sympathy.
After qualifying for the Bar in 1910, he returned to India and was soon employed in the legal department in the State of Baroda. It was in 1918, that "Big Business" attracted him and he was appointed Secretary to Sir Dorabji Tata.
Later, he was put in charge of the Tata Oil Mills Co. Ltd., where he showed originality and initiative. He was mainly responsible for the construction of the Tatapuram Plant in the State of Cochin. The first boiling of soap was inaugurated in a three-ton improvised soap kettle by J.A.D. in 1927, with a view to utilise the accumulated soap stock obtained in the process of the refining of oils. A few cases of laundry soap were also offered to the local market. J.A.D. soon became the Managing Director of the Company.
His acumen and services to the Tata organisation were recognised by his appointment as a Director of Tata Sons Ltd. in 1937. He was also on the Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (Bengaluru). J.A.D. was also on the Committee which was set up to study the feasibility of setting up a chemical complex in Okhamandal, Gujarat, which ultimately resulted in the formation of Tata Chemicals Ltd.
A great cricketer, J.A.D. played in several Quadrangular Tournaments for the Parsis. Great as his tricks with the bat were, he was no less proficient with the racket and was a very popular figure in Tennis circles. Though not active in the political movement of the country, J.A.D. never kept away from them. His contribution to the National movement consisted of his herculean effort, in association with the late F. E. Dinshaw, to build up a great and invulnerable Swadeshi movement. He imported his vast knowledge of business management to the popularisation of this phase of National development.
While in England, he became a great friend of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. J.A.D. was not destined to be a reputed Barrister or a great sportsman. Nor did politics claim him as it did Jawaharlal, his life-long friend. He used to be the Bombay host of the late Pandit Motilal Nehru and the rest of the Nehru family, when they visited this city.
J.A.D. fell ill in January 1938, exactly a month after his marriage to Malati. J.A.D. passed away in June 1938, he was 52.
Sir Nowroji Saklatvala was born on September 10, 1875. He was educated at St. Xavier's School and College, Bombay (Mumbai). He joined the Tata organisation in 1899 as a clerk in the Svadeshi Mills. Within twenty years, he rose to be the head of the firm.
He was created a C.I.E. in 1923, and knighted in 1933. During the First World War, he was associated with many committees and rendered particularly meritorious service as Honorary Adviser to the Munitions Board during 1919-1921. He attended the International Labour Conference at Geneva as an Employers’ Delegate, in 1921. He was connected for many years with the Committee of the Mill Owners' Association and was its Chairman in 1917. He was a member of the Bombay Legislative Council in 1921, and represented them in the Bombay Legislative Assembly in 1922.
He was Chairman of about twenty large companies and corporations like The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (TISCO), Tata Electric Companies, The Associated Cement Companies (ACC), the New India Life Insurance Company and Imperial Bank. He was also on the Board of the Bombay Port Trust.
On the death of Sir Dorabji Tata, he was elected as Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd. in 1932.
An ordained priest, he led a simple life and was sympathetic towards the helpless and the poor. As Chairman of TISCO, he was greatly responsible for the profit sharing scheme for the employees. As Chairman of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, he encouraged several charitable institutions.
In spite of his busy schedule, his love for sport was visible in the many sporting events and organisations with which he was connected. He was Chairman of the Cricket Club of India, the Parsi Gymkhana, and the Bombay Presidency Olympic Association and was Vice President of the Bombay Hockey Federation. The magnificent Brabourne Stadium was built under his guidance.
Sir Nowroji Saklatvala left Bombay on a short trip to Europe at the end of April and passed away at Aix-Les-Bains, France on July 21, 1938.
Hormasji (Homi) Peroshaw Mody was born on September 23, 1881. He was educated at St. Xavier's School and St. Xavier's College, Bombay (Mumbai). After completing his M.A. Degree in Literature from the Bombay University, in 1911, Homi became an L.L.B., at the age of 30 he passed the Advocates' Examination and enrolled himself as an Advocate at the Bombay Bar.
In 1908, he wrote a prize-winning essay on, "The Political Future of India", which was later published as a book by a London publisher. It attracted considerable notice in both the British and the Indian Press revealing his aptitude for politics. At 40, he wrote his magnum opus, "Sir Pherozeshah Mehta - A Political Biography".
During the vital period of his life, Homi crammed his mind with knowledge, sharpened his wit, and generally held forth on national and international affairs. Thanks to his gift of repartee and boisterous sense of humour, he always managed to hold an audience.
Homi married Jerbai Dubash and they had three children, Russi, Kali and Pilloo.
Not being particularly enthusiastic about the legal profession, he accepted an offer from C.N.Wadia in 1920, to join as partner in a textile firm. He was elected to the Committee of the powerful Mill Owners' Association of which he became Chairman in 1927. In this capacity, he planned and led the Indian textile industry's successful campaign for protective tariffs against foreign competition, particularly from Japan and Lancashire. He waged, "a raging, tearing campaign all over the country," and finally, when the Government did relent and concede the industry's viewpoint, it was acknowledged as a modest victory for the textile industry, but a personal triumph for Homi.
Following his natural instincts, Homi plunged into the public-life of Bombay in 1913, when he was elected to the Bombay Municipal Corporation which he virtually dominated by his wit, oratory and administrative skill, for the next 29 years. Concurrent with his other activity in both business and administration Homi Mody remained a Member of the Indian Legislative Assembly from 1929 to 1943, contributing to its deliberations. In 1929, he was invited to attend the First Round Table Conference in London as a representative of Indian commerce and industry.
He was appointed a Director of Tata Sons Ltd. in 1934, and remained as a Senior Director until 1959, barring two interruptions — in 1941 when he was appointed to the Viceroy's Executive Council with the key portfolio of Supply, and in 1949, when he was appointed as Governor of Uttar Pradesh. In 1933, he became President of the Employers' Federation of India and held this post for 26 years. He was also the Chairman of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., Tata Electric Companies, Central Bank of India and was the Chief Adviser to the Tata organisation on any and every subject under the sun. He was knighted K.B.E. in 1935 and was also awarded the Grand Commander, Order of George I of Greece, F.R.S.A.
Sir Homi Mody passed away on March 9, 1969. J.R.D. Tata described him as the last of the great Indian liberals, who greatly influenced the course of the country's political history and its transition to parliamentary democracy. He adhered throughout his career to the highest standards of morality and in his later years, underlined an unswerving devotion to the cause of free enterprise.
In the early 1900s, women were meant to stay in the house, both here and in the West. However, a slim, pint-sized Indian girl, Behroze Cursetjee, thought otherwise.
Behroze was born in Bombay(Mumbai) in 1882, in a middle class Parsi family. She travelled widely over the province with her father who was a government servant. "I was always a very naughty child," she laughed. "I ran wild for years, never going to school till I was 13. Then I caught up quickly and passed my Matric."
In 1890, she visited the new Victoria Terminus Station and the much talked of Esplanade House – the residence of Jamsetji Tata. Behroze Cursetjee's father was a sportsman and a Cambridge Rowing Blue. He was a friend of Jamsetji Tata and his sons. Although Jamsetji died in Germany the year before she joined the organisation, Behroze had vivid recollections of the patriarchal old man with the deep, gruff voice and his snow white beard.
In those days, girls were not taught mathematics or any subject that would have been useful later on. Then came the day when Behroze fell on hard times, she decided to contribute to the household. She began working from home undertaking genteel labour of embroidery and fine sewing. However, one day a phrenologist read her "bumps" and told her she would definitely take to business life, advising her to study shorthand typing. An elderly man and his wife taught her privately.
At the age of 23, Behroze joined Tatas as a stenographer on September 4, 1905. She operated from Dorabji Tata's residence, the Esplanade House.
Today, there are many women holding executive positions in various Tata companies. When Behroze Cursetjee joined the Tata group, there was only one other woman employed as a stenographer in the whole firm. She was paid a then quite handsome salary of Rs. 30 per month. When she left Tatas, thirty-eight years later, she was earning a four-figure salary as Secretary of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (TISCO), and the years between tell a remarkable story of employer and employee.
When she first joined Tatas, to make up for her lack of technical education, Behroze had to study in her spare time. One night, things came to a standstill when she flung herself on her bed and wept with despair: "It's no good," she told her sister, "I'll never make a success of my job. I can't learn all these things." However, encouraging words from her sister persuaded her to carry on and she decided not to give up just yet.
How happy she was later when she was made Secretary of TISCO, the largest iron and steel works in the British Empire and the third largest in the world. Little did she imagine in those early years that she would reach such heights!
Behroze Cursetjee retired after completing nearly forty years of a non-stop progressive career with Tatas.
She lived a long and eventful life and passed away in 1973. She was nearly 91 years of age.
Sir Ardeshir Dalal was born on April 24, 1884 in Bombay (Mumbai). His father Rustomji Dalal was a broker at the Bombay Stock Exchange. Ardeshir graduated from Elphinstone College, Bombay standing First Class First and winning all the prizes obtainable at the examination.
He was awarded the J.N. Tata Scholarship in 1905, and went to England for higher studies. He took the Tripos in Natural Science at St. John's College, Cambridge. 1907, he stood first in the I.C.S. examination in England.
He married Maneck, daughter of Jamsetji Ardeshir Wadia, in 1911, and had three children.
After serving in various capacities in the Government – he worked as Collector for 13 years in various districts – he became the Municipal Commissioner of Bombay in 1928, the first Indian to hold this position. After retiring from civil service in 1931, Ardeshir Dalal joined Tatas as Resident Director of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (TISCO). He was also a Director of Tata Sons Ltd., and a Director of several Tata companies.
In TISCO, he liaised between the Board at Bombay and the management at Jamshedpur. He was responsible in bringing measures like profit sharing bonus which was unheard of till then in the Indian industry. He was also responsible for the Indianisation programme. He lifted the company during the depression of the thirties. In 1932, he started the first in-house bilingual publication TISCO Review, which paved the way for future house journals.
He was knighted in 1939.
In 1944, in his speech at an Annual General Meeting, J.R.D. Tata said, "Sir Ardeshir piloted the company through the vicissitudes of the last thirteen years with outstanding success. Among other things his great administrative ability and drive and his insistence on the highest standards of discipline and efficiency in all ranks of the company were responsible for this success."
In June 1944, the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, invited him to join the Executive Council as Member-in-Charge of Planning and Development. He was one of the eight authors of the Bombay Plan published in 1944. He was also one of the architects of the Government of India's plan formulated in 1945. In January 1946, he resigned from the Government.
Sir Ardeshir was admired in the Government and industry circles for his intellect and administrative ability. Regarding his contributions to TISCO, Sir Visvesaraya, his colleague, once said, "During his term of office, Sir Ardeshir brought into the steel company's administration a high sense of discipline and models of regulation and control derived from the best organised of government offices."
Writing about Sir Ardeshir in the illustrated Weekly of India, Michael Brown said, "He is rather tall and sparsely built, extremely well-groomed. His rather heavy lidded eyes and gentle mouth may suggest dreams but there is an indefinable atmosphere of preciseness about him. Even his cheroot seems trained to scatter its ashes in the ashtray." Another journalist described him as "an image of the average American's idea of big business."
Sir Ardeshir rejoined Tatas in 1946. Voicing his aspiration, he declared: "I have only one ambition. It is to continue to serve the great Firm of Tatas until health and strength are vouchsafed to be because I feel that in serving the Firm I am serving the cause of industry and cause of the county."
Sir Ardeshir Dalal worked in the Tata organisation until his death in October 1949.
Dr. John Matthai was born on January 10, 1886. He was an educationist, economist and a former Finance Minister of the Government of India.
Educated at Madras Christian College, Madras (Chennai), he later obtained his Arts and Law Degrees from Madras University. He practiced law at the Madras High Court for four years and then went to U.K. for further studies. He obtained his B.Lit. Degree from Oxford, and D.Sc. from the London School of Economics.
On his return to India, Dr. Matthai entered Madras Government service in 1918 as an Officer on Special Duty in the Co-operative Department. He was appointed Professor of Economics at the Presidency College in 1920 and became Professor of Indian Economics of the Madras University in 1922. He was also a Member of the Madras Legislative Council in the same year. In 1925, Dr. Matthai joined the Indian Tariff Board as a Member and served as President of the Board from 1931 to 1934. In the following year he was appointed Director-General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics at Calcutta (Kolkata).
Joining Tata Sons Ltd. in 1940, Dr. Matthai became a Director in 1944 and held several important posts in the Tata organisation. He was Director-in-Charge of Tata Chemicals Ltd., Director of Tata Industries Ltd., Vice Chairman of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. and The Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. Ltd., and Chairman of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and President of the Court of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
In September 1946, Dr. John Matthai was appointed Finance Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council. He was Member for Industry and Supply in the Interim Government, became Minister for Railways and Transport of the Government of India in 1947 and Finance Minister, the following year. He relinquished the Finance Ministership in 1950.
Among the many public offices, which Dr. Matthai held, are the Chairmanships of the Taxation Enquiry Commission and the State Bank of India, and the Vice-Chancellorships of Bombay and Kerala Universities. When theAdministrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, came into being in 1957, he was elected President of the Court of Governors.
He passed away on November 2, 1959.
The scion of an illustrious family, Karesasp A.D. Naoroj (KA.D.) - fondly called Kish - was born on February 23, 1893, at Mandvi in Kutch. He was the grandson of Dadabhai Naoroji. After schooling at St. Xavier's High School and College, Bombay (Mumbai), he entered Christ College, Cambridge in 1912 and graduated in 1917.
During the First World War, K.A.D. interrupted his studies in Cambridge to join a cockney regiment as a private. He served in the Middlesex Regiment from 1914-16, in France. In July 1916, K.A.D. was wounded in action, in the right arm, just above the waist, and was shipped back to England. He was discharged from service with a wound pension.
He returned to Cambridge and graduated in 1917, only to be re-enlisted in 1918. In 1919, he was commissioned in the Indian Army with the 106th Hazara Pioneers and served in Mesopotamia in 1920-21.
On leaving the army in 1921, K.A.D. joined Tata Sons Ltd. He was originally appointed as Secretary to R.D. Tata. When a strike broke out at The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (TISCO) Works in Jamshedpur on August 22, 1922, he was sent to take over the work of reorganizing the labour. K.A.D. went to Jamshedpur for one month and stayed for 20 years. He was the Chief Purchasing Officer from 1932-1943. During these years he edited the TISCO in-house monthly magazine TISCO Review from 1933, for several years.
His services were loaned to the Government of India for the duration of the Second World War, to act as Director of Supplies with the India Supply Mission in Washington. He re-joined the Tata organisation in 1945, and was appointed President of Tata Incorporated, New York.
In 1946, he attended the I.L.O. Committees on Iron and Steel Cleveland and Metal Trade at Toledo as representative of the Employers Federation of India. In 1949-50, he was the President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, New York. He was also a member of the American Arbitration Association and served on their Council.
In 1950, K.A.D. retuned to India and settled down in Bombay, where he began to make his presence felt in a quiet effective ways. He became a familiar, lovable figure. He was appointed as the Resident Director of Tata Industries Ltd. in New Delhi from 1951-53, and again from 1956-61. In 1950-51 and 1953-56, K.A.D. guided the fortunes of Tata Chemicals Ltd. as its Director. He was also appointed Chairman of Lakme Ltd. in 1955.
His interest in welfare and humanitarian work got him involved with diverse activities, stretching from development of tube- wells, the Delhi School of Social Work, the Delhi Public School, the Central Cottage Industries Emporium in Delhi, to convalescent homes, charitable homes, the rehabilitation of crippled children, the Blood Bank and Transfusion Service, youth hostels, holiday homes, and the likes, in Bombay and around. He did not talk about it, but his involvements were extensive, including archaeology. He was a Rotarian, and was internationally and nationally known in the Rotary circles.
K.A.D.'s interest in sports was legendary and he was known for his talent for all games that demanded a quick eye and a flexible wrist. He captained the Bihar Xl for a number of years in the Inter-Provincial matches for the Ranji Trophy and was President of the Bihar Provincial Cricket Association. While at Cambridge, he captained the College lawn tennis squad and played in the 2nd and 3rd "Varsity Six" as a Freshman. He also won the Himalayan Open Doubles with the M.K. Powvala.
K.A.D. never married. If a gentleman is one who can make a lady feel a perfect lady in any situation, K.A.D. was a gentleman to his fingertips.
K.A.D. Naoroji retired from the Board of Tata Industries Ltd. in 1962. Like the man of peace that he was, he passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 14, 1977.
Sir Jehangir Jivaji Ghandy was born on November 18, 1896, at Bombay (Mumbai). His father Jivaji Dinshaw Ghandy was a solicitor of repute and a Director of Tata Sons Ltd. and several other Tata companies.
He was educated at New High School and at St. Xavier's and Wilson Colleges, Bombay, taking his B.A. with Honours in Physics and Chemistry, and B.Sc. with Chemistry Honours in 1916 and 1917 respectively.
After graduating, he went to Jamshedpur in 1917 and gained general practical training in the Works of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (TISCO) for nearly 18 months. He then left for the U.S. in 1918 and completed his Post Graduate studies in Business Administration at the Columbia University, New York, and Metallurgical and Steel Works Engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh. He worked in different steel plants during the summer vacations.
He returned three years later to re-join TISCO and a systematic climb in responsibility led to his being the first Indian General Manager of the TISCO plant in 1938. He piloted the company through the years of the Depression and in 1954, as Director-in-Charge of TISCO, he participated in expanding its capacity to two million tons per annum.
In June 1945, Tatas bought over the East Indian Railway Workshops, Jamshedpur, for the purpose of manufacturing locomotive boilers, locomotives, and eventually, heavy engineering machinery essential for the industrial development of India. A new company was set up for this purpose known as the Tata Locomotive & Engineering Co. Ltd., and he was appointed a Director since its inception. He was also a Director on the Board of the Tinplate Co. of India Ltd. and Bisra Stone Lime Co. Ltd., and was Chairman of West Bokaro Ltd., Belpahar Refractories Ltd., and the Indian Tube Co. Ltd.
His role in Tata's industrial enterprises became closer with his appointments to the Boards of Tata Industries in 1945, and of the parent firm of Tata Sons Ltd. in 1959.
Sir Jehangir's interest in industry went beyond the making of steel and he was one of the first of the new breed of technocrats who saw the steel industry only as the base of a growing mushroom of industrial and engineering activity. His managerial talents and technological capabilities were made available to the Nation through several committees and official bodies like the National Metallurgical Laboratory, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Central Fuel Research Institute, the Indian Institute of Technology and the Administrative Staff College.
His achievements were recognised and acknowledged abroad where he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Fuel and an Honorary Member of the Iron and Steel Institute, both of Great Britain. As a technocrat, he was among the first to recognise the need for adopting standards and achieving standardisation in Indian industry, and was appointed Vice President of the Indian Standards Institution and Chairman of its Executive Committee and Structural Metals Division Council. He was the first Asian to be elected President of the International Organisation for Standardisation in 1964.
The Chairman, J.R.D. Tata and the Vice Chairman, Sumant Moolgaokar, rightly observed that Sir Jehangir did more for Jamshedpur than any other man, for he laid the secure foundations on which most of the Jamshedpur companies rose to their present size and stature. Sir Jehangir's attention, however, went far beyond the Steel City of Jamshedpur and encompassed the entire state of Bihar and the rest of the country. He was a member of the Bihar Industrial Development Council and the Orissa Industrial Development Committee.
He was also Chairman of the Heavy Engineering Committee set up by the Government of India to assess the British and Soviet teams' reports for establishing India's heavy industries, and was an architect of India's entry into large-scale steel production by arranging for the orientation course in Jamshedpur and the subsequent training in the U.S. for about 1,000 Indian engineers for the public sector steel plants. Sir Jehangir was free of the hubris of technique and was among the first to acknowledge that despite all the technological progress and scientific development, man indeed was the core of all industry. Behind a facade, at times of sternness, his outlook towards his workers and working colleagues was always warm-hearted and kind. Out of this enlightenment, he became deeply involved in institutions like the Xavier Labour Relations Institute. The Institute awards a gold medal in his honour every year for outstanding contributions to industrial peace.
Sir Jehangir was one of those who built up Jamshedpur and deeply loved the Steel City. He never left it for very long and his personality was impressed upon its industrial and community life. Few persons are fortunate enough to have such tangible and outstanding monuments to their life's work as Sir Jehangir Ghandy.
Sir Jehangir was made a C.I.E. in 1941 and knighted in 1945. He was made an Honorary Lt. Col. in the Territorial Army in 1952 and an Honorary Colonel in April 1957. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan on Republic Day in 1958. In 1964, the Columbia University conferred on him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Graduate School of Business.
Sir Jehangir Ghandy passed away on April 17, 1972.
Ardeshir Darabshaw Shroff was born on June 4,1899. He graduated from Sydenham College in Bombay (Mumbai) and the London School of Economics, U.K. He later joined the Chase Bank in London as an apprentice.
On his return to India, he worked with the well-known firm of Batliwala and Karani as a share broker. In 1938, when Subhash Chandra Bose, who was then President of the Indian National Congress, appointed a National Planning Committee with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the Chairman, A.D. Shroff was one of the Members of the Committee.
In January 1940, he joined Tatas as Financial Advisor. Regarding him joining Tatas, J.R.D. Tata later said, "He made at the time such an impression on Sir N.B. Saklatvala and me that we promptly persuaded him to join us on a full time basis."
He was instrumental in promoting the Investment Corporation of India in 1937. One of the greatest authorities on finance and commerce in the country, he made a substantial contribution to this field during his lifetime. He was responsible in promoting the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Ltd. (ICICI) who regarded him as a founding father."
Besides being the Director-in-Charge of the Investment Corporation, A.D. Shroff was also the Chairman of the Textile Companies, the National Radio and Electronics Co. Ltd. and the New India Assurance Co. Ltd. He was one of the authors of the Bombay Plan and represented India as a non-official delegate at the International Monetary Conference at Bretton Woods in 1944. He also represented or headed several government committees including the well-known Shroff Committee on Finance for the private sector set up by the Reserve Bank of India."
After retiring from Tatas in 1960, he devoted his time to the cause of free enterprise. In July 1956, he established the Forum of Free Enterprise, a non-political organisation devoted to educating public opinion in India on free enterprise and its close relationship with the democratic way of life."
A.D. Shroff passed away in October 27, 1965.
Jehangir Dosabhoy Choksi (J.D.C.) was born in Bangalore (Bengaluru) on August 26, 1900. After his education, he joined Wadia Ghandy & Co., Solicitors, and later became its Partner.
At a time when J.R.D. Tata was looking for people with sound knowledge and wisdom to shoulder the increasing responsibilities of the growing firm he insisted on J.D.C. joining the Tata organisation. In return, he was instrumental in persuading N.A. Palkhivala, to join the Tata organisation.
Giving up active practice, he joined the Tata group in 1938 as a Legal Adviser and was appointed Director of Tata Sons Ltd. and Tata Industries Ltd. in 1945.
J.D.C. rose in the Tata hierarchy within a short time and was considered as one of the stalwarts of Bombay House. Apart from his mastery of tax matters, he was an outstanding administrator. He was Director-in-Charge of Air-India and Air-India International, and was responsible for the expansion of Air-India, from a comparatively small, to one of the bigger airlines. He was Chairman of the Tata Electric Cos., and played an important role in setting up the Trombay Thermal Station. He was also Chairman of Tata Chemicals Ltd., the Investment Corporation of India and was the Founder Chairman of Voltas Ltd., and Vice-Chairman of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. He was a Trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and other major Tata Trusts. J.D.C. was also Chairman of the New India Assurance Co. Ltd., and was on the Board of the State Bank of India.
A chance meeting with George Woods, Adviser to the World Bank resulted in the involvement of the House of Tata with the World Bank. J.D.C. negotiated the World Bank loans, which paved the way for the Company, to get subsequent loans.
His finest hour came during the struggle to keep the Steel City of Jamshedpur functioning when the communists declared a flash strike in 1958, to test their strength against the official union. As Vice-Chairman of the Company he rushed from Bombay to Jamshedpur and stood his ground giving confidence to those who did not want to yield, and the official union came out successful.
J.D.C. was a towering personality, equally at home in law, finance, business and administration. He held the reins of one or another Tata company with distinction for three decades. Right from the beginning he wasmore than a 'Jack of all Trades,' he was a master. He was a pillar of strength in times of crisis and always a beacon of guidance. There was no activity of the firm with which he was not connected in one way or another. To many he had become an indispensable associate, adviser, friend and philosopher. His willingness to help others was unmatched and that extraordinary quality made him very dear to the people near and around him.
He passed away on January 29, 1984. His outstanding services to the Tata organisation and his many-sided contributions to its growth and development over a span of 43 years can never be forgotten.
Professor Rustum Choksi was born on July 2, 1902. He rendered invaluable service to the Tata organisation in many capacities. He was a human being of rare nobility of character with a remarkably fine mind, a rich background of learning and unfailing compassion and solicitude for the poor, the suffering, and the disadvantaged members of society.
For almost forty-five years without a break, he served the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, and allied Trusts, first as a Director, then as Managing Trustee, and, in the last few years, as a Senior Trustee whose wise counsel was always sought and appreciated by the other Trustees.
Prof. Choksi served the organisation with distinction as a Director of Tata Sons Ltd. and Tata Industries Ltd., as Chairman of Tata Services Ltd. and Marg Publications and as Director and Vice Chairman of The Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. For many years, he conducted a Staff Training Programme for Tata Officers, which blossomed at Poona (Pune) into the Tata Management Training Centre.
Professor Choksi passed away on December 17, 1986.
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (J.R.D.) was born in Paris, France in 1904 to R.D. and Sooni Tata. He received his early education in France, Japan and India. J.R.D. began his career as an Assistant with Tata Sons Ltd. in 1922. He was made a Director of the company in 1926 on the death of his father, and in 1938 became its Chairman.
With his charismatic leadership, J.R.D. Tata has contributed to the industrial development of India for over 53 years. He passed on the Chairmanship of Tata Sons Ltd. to his younger colleague, Ratan N. Tata, on March 25, 1991 and was unanimously elected by the Board of Tata Sons Ltd. as Chairman Emeritus for life.
Till he passed away in Geneva on November 9, 1993, he was Chairman Emeritus and Director of Tata Industries Ltd., The Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. and The Tata Oil Mills Co. Ltd. He was also Chairman Emeritus of Tata Chemicals Ltd., and a Director on the Board of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., The Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. Ltd., Tata Unisys Ltd., Tata Incorporated, New York and Tata Limited, London.
Widely recognised as the founder of civil aviation in India, J.R.D. was the first pilot to qualify in this country and held a pilot's license since March 1929. In 1932, he founded India's first national carrier, Tata Airlines, renamed Air India Ltd. in 1946. On October 15, 1932 he personally piloted the Karachi-Bombay (Mumbai) sector of its inaugural Karachi-Madras(Chennai) service. In 1948, J.R.D. founded Air India International Ltd., as a joint venture with the Government of India to undertake long-range international operations, which he headed as Executive Chairman until it was nationalised in 1953. On his recommendation, the Government of India created two air corporations, Air India and Indian Airlines, to run international and domestic operations respectively. He was appointed Chairman of Air India, a post he held till February 1978. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Indian civil aviation, J.R.D. at the age of 78 re-enacted his inaugural flight of 1932 in a 50-year old De Havilland Leopard Moth on October 15, 1982 to instil a spirit of adventure among the younger generation. His simple minded devotion to every aspect of the airline was legendary.
J.R.D. Tata was the recipient of several awards for his contribution in the field of aviation. He was made honorary Group Captain of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1948 and was elevated to the rank of honorary Air Commodore of the IAF in 1966. Several international awards for aviation were given to him - the Tony Jannus Award in March 1979, the Gold Air Medal of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in 1985, the Edward Warner Award of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Canada in 1986 and the Daniel Guggenheim Award in 1988.
Millions regarded J.R.D. as a symbol of integrity and forth righteousness as the country's most distinguished and adventurous citizen. In 1943, J.R.D. spelt out the structure of industrial relations in Jamshedpur. He felt that companies took greater care of their machines than of their men. This resulted in the establishment of the Personnel Department of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., which became a partnership between labour and management at various levels.
When J.R.D. took over as Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., the Group had 14 companies, and when he completed his half a century at the helm on July 26, 1988, there were nearly 95 enterprises which Tatas had either started or had a controlling interest in. Under his stewardship the Group expanded to cover a range of companies in power, engineering, hotels, consultancy services, information technology, consumer goods, consumer durables and industrial products.
J.R.D. had over the years crusaded with causes which he believed to be in national interest, such as family planning and population control. His contribution in the sphere of population control received due recognition when he was given the U.N. Population Award in September 1992. He also firmly believed that rapid spread of literacy and education, particularly among women and children, would help in raising the standard of living of the people of India. He was Founder Chairman of the Family Planning Foundation.
His interest in science is reflected in the pivotal role he played in the establishment of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research of which he was the Chairman of the Governing Council. He was a Member of the Atomic Energy Commission since its inception, and President of the Court of the Indian Institute of Science. He was also on the Governing Council and the Executive Committee of the Rajaji Institute of Public Affairs and Administration. He was instrumental in setting up of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) and laid its foundation on March 12, 1992, in Bangalore.
His broad concern for education is seen in the interest he took as Chairman of the J.N. Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians and the Homi Bhabha Fellowships Council. He was the Chairman of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the J.R.D. Tata Trust and the Jamsetji Tata Trust. J.R.D. was the recipient of several national and international honours and decorations. These included the Padma Vibhushan; French Legion of Honour (Commander); Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Knight Commander's Cross); Institute of Metals, London (Bessemer Medal); Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Prize Fund (Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Award) and Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Allahabad, Benaras, Bombay and Roorkee. J.R.D. was the recipient of the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the Government of India on Republic Day, 1992.
Naval Hormusji Tata was born in Bombay (Mumbai) on August 30, 1904 in a middle class family.
Naval was only four years old when he lost his father, who was a Spinning Master in the Ahmedabad Advanced Mills. This tragic blow was crippling for the family, particularly for his brave mother. It became an ordeal for her to support five sons. Their relatives from Bombay rallied round and they were given shelter in the humble family house at Navsari, the town where the Founder of the Tata group, Jamsetji Tata, was born.
The family later settled down in Surat, and the modest resources were supplemented by the mother's income from embroidery work. She excelled in it and her talent was well recognised. Through Sir Dorabji Tata's assistance, two of Naval's brothers were taken up as boarders at the J.N. Petit Parsi Orphanage. A year later, in 1916, came his turn. Since the two brothers were paying boarders, Naval was accepted gratis as one of the Foundation's students.
It was a hard life for 300 poor boys supported on an extremely slender budget for food, clothing and health care. Their only glimpse of the outside was when they were taken to the Victoria Gardens once in three weeks in batches of a hundred each.
It is from this situation that Naval Tata rose to an eminent position in the Tata organisation. The story is one of grit, determination, perseverance and a complex of rare human qualities that contributed to his enormous success.
Jamsetji Tata had married Hirabai, whose sister, Cooverbai, was Naval's grandmother. Jamsetji's two sons, Sir Dorabji and Sir Ratan, had no heir. Lady Navajbai (wife of Sir Ratan Tata) adopted Naval while he was still at the orphanage.
The adoption came about in unusual and somewhat sad circumstances. In 1918, Sir Ratan Tata, died in England at the early age of 47. At a family meeting, headed by Sir Dorabji, it was decided that since there was no son for the Uthamna ceremony, an adopted son was necessary. Naval's mother was Sir Ratan's favourite cousin. So Naval was chosen for adoption.
Naval was 13 when he was adopted. Although he was suddenly elevated into one of the most affluent families in the country, he never forgot his past. He maintained, "I am grateful to God for giving me an opportunity to experience the pangs of poverty, which more than anything (else) moulded my character in later years of my life."
Naval Tata graduated from Bombay University in Economics and proceeded to London for a short course in Accountancy. On his return on June 1, 1930, he joined the Tata organisation as a despatch clerk-cum-assistant secretary on a monthly salary of Rs. 150.
He soon rose to be the Assistant Secretary of Tata Sons Ltd. In 1933, he became the Secretary to the Aviation Department and five years later, he joined as an executive in the Textiles Department. Soon he proved his merit and in 1939 he became the Joint Managing Director of the textile mills. On February 1, 1941, he became a Director of Tata Sons Ltd. He took over as the Managing Director of The Tata Oil Mills Co. Ltd. in1948. He had already become Chairman of the Tata Mills Ltd. the previous year.
Thereafter, in quick succession over the years he became Chairman of the other textile mills and the three electric companies, till he became the Deputy Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd. He was directly responsible for the management of the three Tata electric companies, the four textile mills and the Sir Ratan Tata Trust. Besides this, he guided the destinies of several companies of the Group andvarious trusts.
The fact that he occupied the topmost positions in management and had numerous honours bestowed on him during his illustrious career did not make him forget his humble beginnings. He once said: "If I have been able to do something in my long association with Tatas, it is simply because God gave me an opportunity—a rare one. And from that day, somehow or other, it became a mission in my life."
Although overburdened with work, he retained his calm good manners and politeness even with his assistants. During his extremely busy schedule in Bombay House, Naval always found time to meet people from all walks of life. Personally, he felt that his role as an administrator of several charity trusts, including those established by Tatas, was more important than that of looking after the administrative and financial problems of the various Tata companies he was in charge of for years.
He was careful of his own health, and kept himself fit. Yet, he could not fight cancer which crept on him surreptitiously. The irony is that he had served the Indian Cancer Society for over 30 years! His politeness and consideration showed with strangers too. During his trips abroad, if anyone helped him (say, with his baggage), Naval Tata thanked him warmly and took his address from him. On his return to Bombay, he would write a warm letter of thanks.
Naval's broadmindedness was manifest in numerous ways. A fully ordained Zoroastrian priest, he was unorthodox, yet laid emphasis on the spirit of the religion rather than its rituals. His moral law related to teaching human beings how to behave decently with one another, and he had a cosmopolitan outlook towards all religions.
In reading, he did not confine himself to industrial relations, but was a keen student of world affairs. He was impressed by "State of the World 1987", a report of the World Watch Institute, and many books on the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.) and other U.N. agencies.
He was a vegetarian, but tolerated eggs and fish. He avoided meat in any form.
The activities of Naval Tata were not confined to the enterprises he was associated with. He was President of the Employers Federation of India for several years. Having been associated with the organisation for four decades, on his retirement as its President, he was made its President Emeritus.
His involvement with the I.L.O. for over three decades was very fruitful for India. As early as 1966, he had been appointed a member of the Labour Panel of the Planning Commission set up by the Union Government. He contributed to sports, and held senior offices in social, educational and welfare work. At one time, he was working with the Indian Institute of Science, the Bombay State Social Welfare Council, Swadeshi League, and the National Safety Council. He became Chairman of the Indian Cancer Society, President of the Auxiliary Forces Welfare Association and Trustee of several philanthropic trusts.
Naval Tata was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India on Republic Day, 1969. The same year he was given recognition for his role in industrial peace and awarded the Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal. He was conferred the life membership of the National Institute of Personnel Management.
He breathed his last on May 5, 1989.
Sumant Moolgaokar was born on March 5, 1906 in Bombay (Mumbai). In 1929, he took his B.Sc. Honours Degree in Engineering from the City and Guilds (Imperial College), London. He began his career in the cement industry as an engineer in C.P. Cement Works in 1930, and after seven years operating experience in three cement plants, he joined the Associated Cement Co. Ltd. (A.C.C.), on its formation in 1938. In 1944, he was in sole charge of the production and expansion activities of the group of eleven companies belonging to A.C.C.
During the Second World War, when the country was cut off from import of heavy equipment, he undertook the production of heavy cement machinery in a factory set up for the purpose at Shahabad in Hyderabad State. The first heavy machinery for cement manufacture such as the kiln, grinding mills, crushers and ancillary equipment were manufactured entirely in India, and commissioned at Chaibasa in Bihar in 1946. This was the beginning of the production of heavy engineering equipment in India.
In 1949, he was appointed a Director of Tata Industries Ltd., A.C.C., the Cement Agencies Ltd., and the Director-in-Charge of The Tata Locomotive and Engineering Co. Ltd.(TELCO) – presently Tata Motors Ltd. He had been actively associated with the growth and development of the heavy engineering industry in India.
In 1966, he was placed in charge of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., as its Vice Chairman. In the same year, he was appointed the Chairman of Tata Exports Ltd., a company which was formed by the Tata group to promote exports of non-traditional items of Indian manufacture. He was the Chairman of Tata Consulting Engineers, another company started by the Tata group to offer specialised consultancy services for projects in the specialised engineering fields.
Moolgaokar was a fervent crusader for research, product development, quality control and technical and managerial industrial growth of our country. The Government of India and other public bodies have drawn heavily on his rich and varied experience both as an engineer and as an administrator, and he has at all times unreservedly placed his services at the Government's disposal, whenever called upon to do so. He was a Director of the Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi. He was a member of the National Planning Council of the Planning Commission, Chairman of the Engineering Capacity and Survey Committee, Government Housing Factory and Machine Tools Development Committee.
After the Chinese aggression in 1962, he agreed to serve as the Honorary Adviser to the Ministry of Economic and Defence Co-ordination and was included as a Member of the Indian Defence Delegation that went to Washington in 1963.
In recognition of his valuable contribution to production engineering in India, the Institute of Production Engineers awarded him the Sir Walter Puckey Prize in 1967. In February 1970, he was made a Honorary Life Member of the Indian Institute of Engineers. In December 1983, he was conferred Honorary Fellowship of Imperial College of Science and Technology, London. In December 1984, he was elected a Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute.
Sumant Moolgaokar is often referred to as the architect of TELCO. Leading the company for nearly four decades, he was responsible for building the company into an organisation capable of competing with the world's best – in terms of people, processes and technology.
A man with a vision, he had the ability to see what TELCO would be. He believed that in order to build an industry, the men and the technology were as important as the factory. His vision was not limited to the company but encompassed the nation and he was often seen as not just building a factory, but building a nation.
His long-term strategies were always in tune with the needs of the country. He was able to foresee that for India to become an industrial nation, it would need specially trained minds and be in a position to independently make its own machinery, tools and equipment. With this mind, from the very beginning TELCO trained its employees in the required skills and technologies. Sumant Moolgaokar was also instrumental in setting up the Engineering Research Centre, the Machine Tool and the Press Tool Division.
Building people excited Moolgaokar as much as the development of plant and technology. He gave challenging assignments to young people and derived satisfaction from watching them grow beyond everybody's expectations including their own.
He was an ardent lover of nature and laid great stress on the planting of trees during the planning of both factory sites and townships. The thousands of trees which embellish the TELCO works at Jamshedpur and Pune bear witness to his devotion to the environment.
In his younger days, Moolgaokar was an earnest shikari who then became a keen photographer. With his passion for photography he travelled extensively and produced some stunning photographs. He also enjoyed fishing. Moolgaokar read books, worked in his personal workshop till his health allowed him and listened to music to relax. He would read technical books and books on nature and wildlife like those by Jim Corbett. He was fond of western classical music and loved the sound of a symphony orchestra.
Generous at heart and deeply humane Sumant Moolgaokar, after being awarded the FIE Foundation's Rashtrabhushan Award had donated the entire sum of Rs. 1 lakh to a leprosy home in Thane. It was Moolgaokar's genuine concern for the economically weak and socially disadvantaged, that TELCO's rural development activities were granted top priority.
He passed away on July 1, 1989.
Leela Moolgaokar, was born on October 10, 1916. The wife of Sumant Moolgaokar, former Chairman of The Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. Ltd. presently known as Tata Motors Ltd., she was a distinguished person in her own right.
Starting as a radiographer at St. George's Hospital, Bombay (Mumbai), Leela Moolgaokar pioneered the voluntary blood transfusion service in India.
She was appointed as the Honorary Organiser for the blood bank scheme of the Government of Maharashtra from 1954 to 1970 and from 1975 till her death. In recognition of her selfless service to this cause, she was appointed by the President as Special Officer on Duty for Blood Transfusion Service of the Directorate General of Health Services, New Delhi, in 1964. This post was upgraded to Assistant Director General for Blood Transfusion Service.
She was instrumental in starting the Federation of Bombay Blood Banks in 1980 with the idea of evolving a uniform code of conduct regarding collection, utilization and benefits to be extended to voluntary blood donors, and to carry out research in blood transfusion.
Leprosy was another area in which she worked ceaselessly. The plight of persons suffering from this disease moved her immensely and she managed through the good offices of the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to repeal the Indian Lepers Act, 1898 in Maharashtra, which restored human dignity to leprosy patients. She was also appointed a Member of the National Leprosy Commission in 1984 for preparing a blue print for eradication of this disease in India. As President of the Society for the Eradication of Leprosy, she visited various hospitals in Bombay dressing and attending to the wounds of leprosy patients.
Leela Moolgaokar was appointed Chairman of the Tata Relief Committee in 1961 at the time of the Panshet Dam disaster. She personally supervised the relief operations during the Koyna earthquake in 1967, the floods in Bihar, the Maharashtra drought in 1972, the tidal wave in Andhra Pradesh in 1977 and the 1992 floods in Raigad district.
During her tenure as the Sheriff of Bombay in 1975-76, she personally looked into the problems of women in jail and ensured that basic amenities were given to them.
She consistently worked for the upliftment of women and children as Chairman of the Central Social Welfare Board, Government of India, and as Chairman of the Bal Varsha Pratishthan.
She was honoured by the Rotary Club of Bombay with the Citizen of Bombay Award in 1986. The Rotary Club conferred this Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of the blood bank movement, and her concern and work for the leprosy-affected and the socially neglected sections of society.
She passed away on May 20, 1992, at the age of 76.
Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha was born on October 30, 1909 in Bombay (Mumbai). He was educated at the Cathedral and John Connon High School, Elphinstone College and the Institute of Science, Bombay. He joined Cornville and Caius College, Cambridge and obtained his B.A. Degree in Mechanical Sciences, Tripos in 1930.
In 1934, he was selected to an Isaac Newton Studentship. A mathematical physicist, he lectured at Cambridge from 1935 to 1939. In 1940, through a special grant from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, he was appointed Reader at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (Bengaluru), and two years later became a Professor of Cosmic Ray Research.
As Dr. Bhabha contemplated at Bangalore on issues concerning the development of the country, the inadequacy of scientific facilities in India came sharply into focus. On August 19, 1943 he wrote to J.R.D. Tata that "lack of proper conditions and intelligent financial support hamper the development of science in India at the pace which the talent in the country would warrant." He mentioned that he himself had an idea of accepting at the end of the War a job at Cambridge or Princeton but had come to the view that, provided proper facilities are available, it is one's duty to stay in one's own country and build schools comparable with those in other lands. J.R.D. Tata replied: "If you and/or some of your colleagues in the scientific world will put up concrete proposals backed by a sound case, I think there is a very good chance that the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust will respond."
The Sir Dorabji Tata Trust provided the money for the establishment of a Cosmic Ray Unit at the Indian Institute of Science. Dr. Bhabha felt that fundamental research in physics and mathematics, including nuclear physics and cosmic rays, was too big a subject to be dealt with in a small department of a university or in a general purpose research institute. It needed an institution devoted primarily, if not solely, to this end. His conviction was reinforced by J.R.D. Tata's encouragement. Dr. Bhabha wrote to Sir Sorab Saklatvala, Chairman of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust describing his vision for the India of the future. Dr. Homi Bhabha conceived of an institute devoted to basic science, one that would provide the atmosphere for fundamental research to flourish while contributing to the nascent project of nation building. He wanted to set up an institute for long-term basic research in science and mathematics and for training young people of the highest intellectual calibre so that he could build up research schools comparable to the best in the world.
The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research was founded through the initiative of Dr. Bhabha and he was Director and Professor of Theoretical Physics of the institute in 1945. He was Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Atomic Energy from 1954 and Director of the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay. In 1955, Dr. Bhabha was the President of the First International Conference on the peaceful uses of atomic energy organised by the United Nations at Geneva. He was also President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.
He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of both the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency. He was also Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, Government of India.
Dr. Bhabha was a natural artist but his scientific endeavours left him with very less time to develop his artistic potential.
He died tragically in an air crash on January 24, 1966.
Dr. Jamshed Jehangir Bhabha was born on August 21, 1914. He belonged to an illustrious family with a long tradition of learning and service to the country. His grandfather Hormusji Bhabha was the Inspector-General of Education for the Mysore State in British India. His paternal aunt was Meherbai, the wife of Sir Dorabji Tata.
He attended the Cathedral and John Connon High School, Bombay. In 1930, he passed the Cambridge School Leaving Examination with Distinction followed by the Cambridge Higher School Examination with Distinction in 1931, standing First in French in the British Empire Overseas.
A Cambridge graduate with a Historical Tripos, Jamshed Bhabha was due to take the Bar finals at Lincolns Inn, London, when the outbreak of hostilities interrupted his studies and brought him back to India in 1939. He joined The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. the following year and became Assistant Chief Town Administrator at Jamshedpur in 1941. He was appointed Personal Assistant to the Chairman, J.R.D. Tata in 1942, and thus began a close professional association with him.
Jamshed Bhabha married Betty Irene in 1946.
He was Chairman and Director of several Tata companies including the parent company Tata Sons Ltd. and a Director of Tata Industries Ltd. During his tenure, Jamshed Bhabha was also Chairman, Vice Chairman, Managing Trustee and Trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, J.N. Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians, Jamsetji Tata Trust, Lady Tata Memorial Trust, Lady Meherbai D. Tata Education Trust, J.R.D. Tata and the other allied Trusts.
His active involvement in the Tata group was evident all the way from heavy industries, through publishing, personnel management, power generation, engineering, social sciences and from trade fairs to philanthropy. Jamshed Bhabha played a pivotal role in the setting up of the Tata Central Archives.
In 1969, he launched his most ambitious venture - the National Centre for the Performing Arts, a multi-crore project to serve the national purpose of protecting, preserving and developing India's immensely rich legacy in the arts and culture.
He was also a Trustee of the Homi Bhabha Memorial Trust which was established on the premature demise of his brother, Dr. Homi Bhabha, to provide scholarships for young Indians of truly outstanding merit for further studies and research in their respective fields.
Despite the pressing preoccupation with several branches of industry, Jamshed was equally involved in various public causes.
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences conferred its Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) Degree on Jamshed Bhabha for his 'distinguished services to the cause of the Arts, Education, Philanthropy, Music and the Theatre' in 1996.
The Knight Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Knight Commander of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and Commander of the Order of the Crown, Belgium were some of the other awards bestowed on him.
Dr. Jamshed Bhabha passed away on May 30, 2007.
Sir Sorab Saklatvala was born on March 19, 1879. He was the son of Jerbai and Dorabji Saklatvala, and the nephew of the Founder, Jamsetji Tata.
He was associated with the Tata group of companies since 1901, when he joined the Svadeshi Mills as a young apprentice. A conscientious worker, he rose in six years to be an Assistant Manager at the Empress Mills. In 1921, he was appointed a Special Director of The Central India Spinning Weaving and Manufacturing Co. Ltd., the Svadeshi Mills and the Ahmedabad Advance Mills. On the death of Sir Nowroji Saklatvala, he became Chairman of all the four mill companies which included the Tata Mills Ltd. He was appointed a Director of Tata Sons Ltd. in 1928. He became a member of the Committee of the Mill Owners' Association in 1921, and was appointed its Chairman in 1924.
Sir Sorab Saklatvala rendered excellent services to the Tata Memorial Hospital, the Indian Institute of Science, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, since their inception; these institutions owe a great deal to him. He gave his personal attention to the administration of the J.N. Tata Endowment, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, which came to be known all over India for their generous contributions.
As Chairman of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Sir Sorab Saklatvala observed that the Tata Memorial Hospital was meant to be a temple of learning, where doctors and research students would work, "to wrest from this dreaded scourge some of its terrible secrets." "The Trust," he said, "had the good fortune to command resources sufficiently large to enable the hospital to be constructed and equipped on a generous scale. Each department of the 90-bed hospital bore witness to the infinite care lavished on every detail."
Encouraged by J.R.D. Tata, Dr. Homi Bhabha wrote a formal letter to Sir Sorab Saklatvala, Chairman of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, on March 12, 1944. In this letter he described his vision for the India of the future. "... when nuclear energy," he wrote, "has been successfully applied for power production, in say a couple of decades from now, India will not have to look abroad for its experts but will find them ready at hand." Once the Trust sanctioned the proposal, Sir Sorab Saklatvala became the first Chairman of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research with a Provisional Committee.
He was knighted in 1941.
The Textile Association (India) conferred on Sir Sorab Saklatvala Honorary Membership of the Association in recognition of the meritorious services rendered by him to the Indian textile industry. He had a sympathetic and modest disposition and was a shrewd observer of men and had a keen sense of humour. He kept himself in touch with modern trends. Though he was very tolerant of others his convictions were of the old school and he was firm about them.
At the time of his death, Sir Sorab Saklatvala was a Director of Tata Sons Ltd., Tata Industries Ltd., The Hydro-Electric Agencies, The Tata Power Co. Ltd., The Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., The Associated Building Co. Ltd., The Central India Spinning Weaving and Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Imperial Bank of India, Oriental Government Security Life Assurance Co. Ltd., Oriental Fire and General Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and the Mill Owners' Mutual Insurance Association Ltd.
Sir Sorab Saklatvala passed away on October 18, 1948.
Nani Ardeshir Palkhivala was born on January 16, 1920 in Bombay(Mumbai).
He took his M.A. Degree with Honours in English from the University of Bombay in 1942. He stood first class first in the first LL.B. examination in 1943, as well as in the second LL.B. examination in 1944, and again first in the Advocate (original side) examination of the Bombay High Court in 1946.
Palkhivala was a Fellow of the Government Law College, Bombay from 1944-46. He was also a part-time Professor of the same college during 1949-52 and later, Honorary Professor of the college for many years. He was a Member of the Senate of the University of Bombay, being nominated to that office for two years by the Chancellor (the Governor). He was also appointed the Tagore Professor of Law at the Calcutta University. He was a Member of the First Law Commission, of India (1955) and the Second Law Commission (1958). In 1975, he was elected an Honorary Member of the Academy of Political Science, New York, in recognition of his outstanding public service and distinguished contributions to the advancement of political science.
In September 1977, Palkhivala was appointed Ambassador of India to the United States of America, which assignment he held until July 1979.
In June 1978, Princeton University, New Jersey conferred on Palkhivala the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. In April 1979, the Lawrence University, Wisconsin conferred on Palkhivala, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.
When a Special Bench of 13 judges of the Supreme Court was constituted to reconsider the correctness of the dictum of law laid down regarding the basic structure in the Kesavananda Bharati case, Palkhivala's impassioned address made the Chief Justice dissolve the Bench.
Palkhivala's post-budget speeches in Bombay since 1958 drew national attention and the audience during his later addresses rose to about a lakh. All those speeches were delivered extempore. He was an intellectual and the finest jurist of the country. He has been described as –"the conscience-keeper of the nation and an embodiment of humility."
He has been honoured with the prestigious Tagore Law Professorship, the Honorary Membership of the Academy of Political Science, New York, the first National Amity Award, the Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Award and Padma Vibhushan. On the completion of his fifty years at the Bar, he was awarded the Certificate of Honour by the Bar Association of India in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of constitutional law and for commitment to the rule of law.
In January 1998, the University of Bombay conferred on Palkhivala the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D). In January 1998, the President of India conferred on Palkhivala, the award of Padma Vibhushan. Palkhivala is the author of "The Law and Practice of Income Tax", which is the standard reference. He is the co-author of "Taxation in India", published by the Harvard University in the World Tax Series. He has written books on India's tax structure. In 1984, he published "We, the People" which contains his speeches and writings of over three decades, including extracts from his speeches on the Union Budget. In 1994, he published "We, the Nation", which is a companion volume to "We, the People". In 1999, a book on his selected writings was published – "Selected Writings".
He has argued a number of historical cases in the courts of India and abroad. Palkhivala successfully argued before the Supreme Court of India cases which affirmed the fundamental rights of minorities to establish and administer educational and religious institutions of their choice, and to choose the language in which education should be imparted. Barring some exceptions, many of his cases were fought by him without charging any fees and as a matter of service to the nation.
On the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Sadachar Bharati was established with a view to arouse public opinion for the eradication of corruption and raising of moral values in the society. Palkhivala has since then been giving 1/10th of his personal income to Sadachar Bharati for janakalyan (public welfare). Palkhivala also made a munificent donation of Rs. 2 crore to Sri Sankara Nethralaya at Chennai. He was deeply impressed by the work of this Institute in bringing eye care to the poor, particularly in rural areas.
Palkhivala was Chairman Emeritus of the Associated Cement Co. Ltd., and Chairman of several overseas companies. He was a Director of The Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., The Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. Ltd., Tata Infotech Ltd., Tata Energy Research Institute, The Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., National Organic Chemical Industries Ltd., Press Trust of India Ltd. and of several overseas companies.
Palkhivala had many activities outside the immediate sphere of his work. He was a member of the Forum of Free Enterprise, the Leslie Sawhny Programme of Training for Democracy, the A.D. Shroff Memorial Trust and the Lotus Trust. He was also a Trustee of several public charitable trusts.
Palkhivala passed away on December 11, 2002.
Piloo Vesugar's first choice of a career was education. She was a college teacher for many years, and lectured at Wilson College, Bombay (Mumbai) for a brief period after taking her Master's Degree. She then proceeded to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she distinguished herself and won high praise from her tutors.
Piloo Vesugar returned to India and Wilson College for some time, and after her marriage transferred her activities to Lahore and Delhi. For a short while, she was a college professor in Lahore, and her reputation as a stimulating and unorthodox teacher spread. When she returned to Bombay, she renewed her old association with Wilson College, and played a role in the encouragement of swadeshi goods through the well-known shop "Svadeshi" run by a group of women.
In October 1940, she joined the J.N. Tata Endowment, under the guidance of the late Jehangir H. Bhabha. For twenty-five years she guided the J.N. Tata Endowment. She created an image in the public mind of the Tata Scholar as a person of high intelligence and integrity. She cared for the Tata Scholars as though they were her own children, often giving generously of her own money and time to equip and train them for life and conditions abroad, since many came from simple rural backgrounds.
Besides her work for the Endowment, Pilloo Vesugar was familiar with many aspects of life in Bombay House and her services were always available for good causes; notably for the war effort during the Second World War and for the Mutual Benefit Fund, the staff canteen and the library and reading room of the Tata Sports Club. Many turned to her in their hour of trouble or distress, particularly the poor or lonely; and her numerous acts of kindness to those in difficulty were common knowledge throughout Bombay House.
In all things the principle of beauty made a deep appeal to her, whether it was in art, music, poetry or religion.
Piloo Vesugar passed away on April 18, 1965.