The Tata Fact’s – What they have given?

One of my friend have Written and shared this on Facebook.

At first I too thought, not to waste time reading this, But Its far more valuable than what I had thought.

I didnt knew most of these facts before 😦 Thought many of us would not have known these.

So, Im sharing this with you, as its written on the link below, with just few formatting for easy read.

Please, spend some time to read this.

Its Money or Knowledge or Love or what ever it is.
We are respected for what we give. Not for what we have.

Respect is earned! And such a respect will never fade away.

Thanks Arvind!


These are the lesser known facts about Tata I came to know very recently . I wrote this note as I was pained to see some people linking all wealthy people with corruption. While facts about other great people are widely available on web, facts about Tata aren’t known much. Some information is present on books. Maybe Tatas deliberately haven’t focussed much on marketing their own goodness. Of late, there are ads like ‘Values stronger than steel’ from Tata. Compared to the magnum opus of their work, their publicity pales in comparison.

Even as a young kid, I have heard Tata’s name. “Tata Birla” is a term synonymous with rich. I knew about Tata as another business man who sought to become rich and succeeded. But there is much more….


(Jamshetji) J.N.Tata ( 1839 – 1904 )

Dorab Tata / Ratan Tata ( early 1900s )

JRD Tata ( 1930s till 1990s)

Ratan Tata ( 1990s – present )


“Tatas represent the spirit of adventure,” – Mahatma Gandhi

J.N.Tata is the founder of the Tata empire . In the book ‘100 Great Modern Lives’ by John Canning only two Indians feature – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Jamsetji Tata. The chapter on Jamsetji Tata concludes with the paragraph: ‘Probably no other family have ever contributed as much in the way of wise guidance, industrial development and advancing philanthropy to any country as the Tatas have to India, both before and since independence (1947).’

J.N.Tata’s sons Dorab and Ratan Tata would carry the legacy of J.N.Tata. Ratan Tata financially supported a then unknown lawyer in South Africa

protesting against British. The lawyer said during a meeting “We have got so much contributions from Tata and we have to work hard to justify that”.

That lawyer was Gandhiji. When Godrej asked for blessing from Gandhi to start a new product – Gandhi light heartedly replied – “If you are going to compete against my good brother Tata I wont be able to bless that”

After Dorab/Ratan , JRD Tata becomes chairman. JRD Tata was instrumental in giving wings to India by building Tata Airlines, which ultimately became Air India .Kalpana Chawla, the Indian-born astronaut cited JRD and his pioneering airmail flights as her inspiration for taking up aeronautics. In 1992, because of his selfless humanitarian endeavors, JRD Tata was awarded India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna – rare for a businessman to get in the License Raj.

After JRD Tata, Ratan Tata becomes chairman in 1992.



It was around 1870s. JN Tata purchases a small cotton mill. Over the next 20 years he made it successful one. He was a running a successful business in India. The most significant thing is the way he treated his employees – sick leaves / hospital facilities / school for children / Provident Fund / Life Insurance/ Room conditioners to prevent dust. All these seems trivial in today’s world. But in the industrial age, even workers in England worked in very inhuman conditions and facilities like insurance were unheard of. ( the condition of workers in that era is captured well in many of Charles Dicken’s novels ).

It was 1890 – JN Tata was fifty years of age and a reputed businessman employing thousands of people . The story till now alone would suffice to have his mark in India’s history. But still more to come…

Tata was on a sea voyage where he me Swami Vivekananda. Swami tells him that the future of India is in young people – especially young people working in science and research have to ability to rewrite the history of nation. The term ‘Science’ for many businessmen may not mean much… but Tata was not a mere businessman. This meeting with Swami Vivekanand would turn important and establish basis for scientific research in India.


when British ruled us, Indians were not allowed to enter star hotels. Tata was determined to build a fine hotel where Indians wouldnot be treated as an outcaste and thus Taj Hotel was born


“The nation that has the steel has the gold” – these were the last words in a talk attended by Tata in England given by an eminent scholar. These words were ringing in Tata’s mind for next decade of his life. JN Tata would lay the foundation of steel empire. He died in 1904, but his dream would be carried forward by his sons Dorab and Ratan. He had left detailed instructions about the steel plant. “We are not just building factories…we are building cities around a factory….we are enriching lives…in the factory complex – make sure you allocate space for schools / day care centres / hosptials / places of worship – temples, mosques, churches ”

The British were skeptical of Tata’s ability to produce steel. “The Indians are making steel? The Indians can’t run a shop properly” The Governor said “Why I offer to eat every pound of steel Tatas produce” Later the Tata steel plant began to produce successfully . Dorab Tata said if the Governor had kept his words , he would have a slight indigestion. The British would later order steel from Tata during the World war as Tata steel was more robust in making bullet proof shields in vehicles. That time the steel was produced in a small village in Bihar called Sakshi. Later the city would be renamed in honor of Jamshedji Tata as Jamshedpur

At Tata Steel, not only steel but also men were forged in Jamshedpur. That’s why it’s a place where India is still shining, it’s a place where the nation of India was transformed and it’s a place that was selected as a UN Global Compact City because of the quality of life, conditions of sanitation,roads and welfare that were offered by Tata Steel


Swami Vivekananda’s meeting was still on the mind of Tata. Tata wanted to establish an institute of higher learning focussed on research. Unlike setting up hotels or industry, he needed Governments permission for setting up educational institute. The man in power and who had to give permission was Lord Curzon ( the man who partitioned Bengal ) . When he told Curzon of his plan , Curzon replied- You mean the Indian students have the ability to undertake scientific research – Where will you find teachers for such advanced courses and where will you find students who can grasp such concepts…And what will students do with such advanced degrees if they are anyway going to work as a clerk after completion . In short “Surely, You are joking Mr.Tata”. After the meeting with Curzon, every one in Tata’s team was heart broken. They were cursing Curzon .. Tata replied to them “Lets wait for Curzon’s mind to change – there must be some good in him somewhere”

The permission to setup the institute came years after JN Tatas death. JN Tata had instructed his sons to carry on the struggle of establishing the institute after his death.. A newspaper in US wrote “The amount millions is more than enough to establish an university in US and in a country like India it is a great amount”.

J.N.Tata gave one third of his wealth to establish IISc. He had 2 sons Dorab and Ratan, so many consider that he considered IISc to be his another child. Originally the institute was to be setup in Bombay. The nobel prize winning scientist Ramsey was asked to tour India to find the best place conducive to research. He suggested Bangalore, but Tata favored Bombay. Finally, the Maharaja of Mysore offered vast amount of lands and persuaded Tata to setup the institute at Bangalore.


JRD Tata was the first Indian to have flying license.His license reads #1. His interest in aviation caused him to start Air India and Indian Airlines. The Maharaja symbol of these airlines was his conception. Air India was providing the finest service in aviation at moderate rates until its take over by Government.


Tatas provide scholarship for people who have potential , but economic condition prevent them continuing their studies. One such candidate applied to Tata for scholarship. Though his love was political science, he chose to enroll in English literatue due to financial constraints . After analyzing the applicant, the Tatas persuaded him to study political science offering to pay the entire tuition fees and provide stipend for expenses also. This incident was later narrated by K.R.Narayanan who became President of India. If not for the scholarship, K.R.Narayanan might have become professor in English literature.

Every year thousands of people apply for Tata scholarship, even among wealthy people. There is a pride in being a Tata Scholar. There are people like Raja Ramanna ( space scientists) and many more who benefited from it.

In 1912, the London School of Economics established the Ratan Tata Department. The following year it advertised for a position of a lecturer in that department for which two people applied. One was a young man called Clement Atlee, who after careful consideration was selected for this position. About 32-years later Atlee became the Prime Minister of Britain. Interesting enough that it was under his government that India was granted independence in 1947.


Tata Memorial hospital – Focuses on Cancer research . Tatas lost few of their family members to cancer and they are supporting research

TIFR ( Tata institute of fundamental research ) – from wikipedia

“In 1944, Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, known for his role in the development of the Indian atomic energy program, wrote to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust requesting financial assistance to set up a scientific research institute.[2] With support from J. R. D. Tata, then chairman of the Tata Group, TIFR was founded on 1 June 1945, and Homi Bhabha was appointed its first director”

NCPA- National center for performing arts

TISS – Tata institute of social sciences

11) CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

from wikipedia

“In general, about 66% of the profits of Tata Group go to charity and executives made it clear that they have no intention of leaving control to Wall Street.[21] The charitable trusts of Tata Group fund a variety of projects, for example the Tata Swach and the TCS project. They founded and still support such cherished institutions as the Indian Institute of Science, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Tata Memorial Hospital. Each Tata Group company channels more than 4 percent of its operating income to the trusts and every generation of Tata family members has left a larger portion of its profit to them. This makes the Tata family evidently less wealthy as individuals than other Indian family-owned companies.[19]”


Sudha was studying in IISc and it was placement season. There was a notice ‘Tata group is hiring’. Unfortunately there was a P.S stating “Only male candidates can apply’ . Sudha was very angry on seeing this – what qualification preclude me from applying to this job. She wrote an angry letter to JRD Tata venting out her anger – though she never expected any reply. The next day, she was called to meet JRD Tata and he explained that the job required physical endurance and thats why women were dissuaded from that job. However Tata offered Sudha that position

Later Sudha would leave Tata group to start Infosys with her husband Narayana Murthy. she said to Tata “Let me try how things work out in Infosys”, Tata replied “There is no try…I know you and Murthy very well, you will definitely succeed ”


TCS with 200,000 employees is one of largest private sector employers. TRDDC was the research wing of TCS. One of its products ‘Tata swach’ aim to provide low cost water purifier. They diversified into many more areas

and have become brands in their own right like Voltas, Tanishq , Titan, Star bazaar, Tetley. Lakme was established when Nehru banned import of cosmetics and suggested to Tata that we need Indian products.

13) WALL

“Acquried Jaguar LandRover” – million likes

“Acquired Corus ” – million likes

The acquired companies are great European companies. Only few decades back, getting employed in an European company was a dream come true . Owning an European company was far from our dreams.


Air India and Indian Airlines were taken over by the Government when they nationalized Airlines. JRD Tata was stripped of his chairman position and this was not even informed to him. Only the succeeding chairman called him on phone and informed that he is taking over. Many other constraints during the license raj as the general philosophy of the govt was that businessmen are evil people.


The Tatas are of Parsi origin – descend from a group of Zoroastrians of Iran who immigrated to India during an invasion in 10th century. The then Gujarat king offered home for them. The Parsis would become prominent – Pherozeshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji, Bhikaiji Cama, Homi Bhaba, Homi Sethna, Godrej, Wadia, Shapoorji Pallonji, Zubin Metha, Field Marshal Manekshaw. Thanks to that King for allowing the Parsis. The parsi belief is ‘HUMATA HUKTA HAVARASHTA’- meaning good thoughts, words, deeds. Think about it – they are technically foreigners. And they have done greater good than many politicans with ancestral origins in India.


R.M.Lala’s books on Tata especially “For the love of India”. Rare old books in IISc Library . Not much is available on net. (once was excited to find a promising youtube video – later it was on Tata Young singing Dhoom Dhoom….)

Before coming to IISc , I knew Tata only as a businessman. In IISc, the name of Tata was omnipresent – Tata Auditorium, Tata Library. Tata is the chairman of the IISc trustees. IISc itself is known only as Tata institute in bangalore. I first thought why should a government institute like IISc have to associate so much with Tata, I also thought such associations might affect the autonomy of the institute. Later I realized the very existence of the institute owes to legacy of Tata.

And I have already searched for this book, []
but unluckily, i could get this. If anyone have it or any pointers, please let me know.

Link to same text as a PDF. Not much attractively formatted. But its easy to read and share.Tata


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