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Ratan Tata | Biography, Family, & Facts | Britannica | S2 LTS

Ratan Tata | Biography, Family, & Facts | Britannica | S2 LTS




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In any aspect of your life, you will find some Tata company brands or others. if you travel in cars, Tata Motors. If you take a flight, Tata owns Vistara Airlines and Air India as well.

Hello, friends! In any aspect of your life, you will find some Tata company brands or others. For example, if you travel in cars, Tata Motors manufactures a wide range of them. If you take a flight, Tata owns the Vistara Airlines and Air India as well. If you stay at hotels, Tata owns the Taj Hotels. If you need clothes, Tata has the fashion brand Westside. For your jewellery needs, Tata's Tanishq caters to you. If you prefer tea, Tata Tea is available. Even the salt that goes into your food is Tata Salt. Additionally, Tata Steel, Tata Power, Tata Consultancy Services, and more than 100 other companies are part of the Tata Group. It's no surprise that currently, Tata is one of India's most famous and successful companies


Ratan Tata

Did you know that this company's success was not achieved overnight, but over the course of 200 long years? That's right, 200 years! So let's embark on an exciting journey and explore the captivating story of India's oldest business family and unravel the secrets of the Tata Group. The Tata Group has been at the forefront of multiple industries in India and has emerged as a market leader in most of them. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Tata, numerous 'firsts' were introduced, such as the first 8-hour day and the first leave with pay. As one member of the Tata family once said, 'I would rather live with the satisfaction of upholding the values we have strived to maintain over the years, than boast about growing at three times the rate.' And so, our story begins in the year 1822, exactly two centuries ago, in a small village in Gujarat, where a boy was born into a family of Parsi priests. His name was Nusserwanji Tata, and even as a child, he was driven by an unrelenting desire to achieve greatness. It is said that he was the only person in his village who dreamt of making a name for himself beyond the confines of his hometown


Believing it to be his destiny, Nusserwanji left his village and moved to Mumbai when he was 20 years old, determined to set up a new business. Many young people still make this move from villages to cities in search of a better future today, but the difference was that Nusserwanji had a wife and child in tow. Back then, child marriages were prevalent, and Nusserwanji had become a father at the age of just 17 or 18. Undeterred, he relocated his family to Mumbai and was immediately drawn to the thriving cotton trade. In no time, he had established a successful cotton export business, the profits from which he invested solely in his son's education. For Nusserwanji, there could be no compromise on this matter, and he ensured that his son Jamsetji received the finest education of the time, which in those days meant an education in English. Nusserwanji's cotton trading business flourished, paving the way for his family's future success.


Later, when Jamsetji reached adulthood and completed his education, his father made the decision to send him to Hong Kong for business expansion. While today it might seem commonplace for businessmen to send their children abroad for business purposes, it's important to remember that this was back in 1859, long before air travel was invented. The journey was long and arduous, taking place entirely by ship. Despite the challenges, however, Jamsetji's father believed in his son's potential and sent him to Hong Kong at the age of 20 to set up an office there. Interestingly, Jamsetji was not alone in this venture; he was already married and had a child at the time. It was a difficult decision to uproot the family and move to another country to set up a business, but Jamsetji was driven by ambition and determined to succeed. Over the course of his 65-year life, Jamsetji established numerous cotton mills in India and worked on three different continents.

Furthermore, he laid the foundation for the construction of India's first steel factory and launched the country's first 5-star hotel, which was fully electrified, making it the first hotel in India to have electricity. Can you guess which hotel it was? Take a moment to think. The correct answer is Mumbai's Taj Hotel, which remains one of India's most prestigious hotels today. When Jamsetji Tata passed away in 1904, he left behind a legacy that remains unmatched to this day. And I'm not saying this just from a business perspective. Building a profitable business has become quite commonplace nowadays, with many businesses operating solely for profit. However, Jamsetji established a legacy of principles and ethics that was truly remarkable. Let's examine some examples to understand this. In 1874, Jamsetji established his first cotton mill factory in Nagpur, marking his entry into the cotton production business after having worked in cotton trading for years.



When starting a new business, one is likely to encounter a host of new problems. In the case of the cotton mill in Nagpur, the owner noticed that the laborers were exhibiting signs of laziness, frequently providing excuses for being absent from work and failing to show up altogether. In fact, achieving 100% attendance was a rare feat in this particular mill. In such a situation, a superior might be tempted to take a punitive approach, threatening termination of employment or reprimanding the workers for their behavior. However, the mill owner recognized that there might be underlying reasons for the workers' lack of motivation and wanted to find a more long-term, humane solution to the problem. To this end, the owner established a General Provident Fund for the workers, ensuring that they would continue to receive a pension even after retirement. Additionally, an insurance scheme was created to cover medical costs for workers who might be injured on the job. To foster a sense of community and encourage a stronger bond among workers and their families, the owner also initiated Family Days and Sports Days, allowing workers to bring their loved ones and participate in fun activities together. By taking these proactive and compassionate steps, the mill owner demonstrated a commitment to his employees' well-being and succeeded in motivating them to work harder and more diligently. This approach stands in contrast to the common practice of punishment and shows that a thoughtful and empathetic approach can yield positive results in the workplace.



While these practices may be commonplace in today's world, it is important to remember the context in which they were implemented. During the 1800s, working conditions were often appalling across much of the globe,

Remarkably, Jamsetji Tata was funding these worker benefits out of his own pocket. However, in 1861, the outbreak of the American Civil War had an indirect positive impact on Jamsetji's cotton business. Previously, England had relied heavily on imports of cotton from America, but with the supply disrupted by the war, Jamsetji was able to capitalize on the opportunity and increase his prices. England was left with no choice but to import cotton from India, and Jamsetji set up an office in London to handle his operations there. This resulted in significant profits for the next four years. Unfortunately, when the Civil War ended four years later, supplies from America resumed, and Tata's business suffered. He began to experience losses and investors demanded returns on their investment. Despite these challenges, Jamsetji remained resolute in his commitment to his workers and his company



He promised to ensure that all investors would receive their returns and simply asked for some time. The investors looked at his honesty and permitted him to continue working. However, they stated that Jamsetji's monthly salary would be a meager £20, despite being the owner of the company. This was quite insulting for him, as he was working for the company he owned as a fixed-salaried employee, but he remained undeterred. This goes to show Jamsetji's dedication to his business. Interestingly, his father was the same: when Nusserwanji's cotton business wasn't doing well and investors were asking for their money back, he sold his mansion to pay the investors. In both cases, the decisions proved successful, allowing Nusserwanji and Jamsetji to protect their businesses and reputations. This teaches us that if we have passion, dedication, and skills, our chances of success multiply. Today, software engineering and data science are among the highest-paid jobs in the world.


Jamsetji Tata had many revolutionary dreams during his time. Some of these dreams included setting up a hydroelectric power plant, establishing world-class education institutions in India, setting up a steel plant, and building a 5-star hotel that could be enjoyed by people irrespective of their race. However, racism was quite rampant back then. During his lifetime, he was only able to build the hotel. The other three dream projects had already started before his death, and work on them was in progress. Later, his son Dorabji Tata ensured that the rest of his father's dreams would become a reality.


In 1910, Tata successfully established its steel plant and started producing steel. This coincided with the onset of World War I, during which the British Empire required a massive supply of steel. As a result, Tata Steel emerged as the largest steel supplier in the country. The British army relied heavily on Tata's steel, using it to manufacture tanks, weapons, and railway tracks. In fact, a British politician famously declared that "Tata Steel saved us" during WWI, attesting to the exceptional quality of their steel. Even when bombs were dropped on the tanks, they remained impenetrable due to the strength of Tata's steel. This propelled the Tata Steel brand to even greater heights of popularity.

After WWI, Tata Steel had established a formidable reputation in Great Britain. By 1914, the Tata Group had expanded to include 14 different companies, marking the beginning of its meteoric rise. Dorabji Tata led the Tata Group until 1938, after which his distant cousin Jahangir Ratan Tata, known as JRD Tata, took over the reins of the company. JRD Tata, a young man with lofty aspirations, spent his formative years in France and held a pilot's license. He was widely recognized for his passion for aviation and went on to establish India's first airline, Tata Air Lines, which was later renamed Air India.



The story of Air India is both elaborate and interesting. For a detailed explanation, please refer to the video on Air India linked in the description below. The events of the story so far took place before India gained its independence in 1947, during a time when socialism was the norm. Prominent Indian freedom fighters such as Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, and Swami Vivekananda were all proponents of socialist principles. Therefore, it was not surprising that after India won its independence, Jawaharlal Nehru's economic policies were socialist as well, which meant that major businesses and institutions were nationalized and brought under government control. While this was seen as a positive decision under the circumstances, as discussed in the video on socialism, it was bad news for the Tatas, as their airline, Tata Air Lines, was also nationalized. JRD Tata was heartbroken by this news, but he always believed that business was not just for profits, but also for nation-building. After the nationalization of Tata Air Lines, the Nehru government offered JRD Tata a position to lead Air India, which he accepted gladly. This is why, during the 1970s and 1980s, Air India was considered one of the most prestigious airlines in the world. In addition to his work with Air India, JRD expanded the business into many other sectors. In 1945, Tata Motors produced its very first product, locomotive engines to be run on tracks.


Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) was founded in Mumbai, India in 1968, by a team of nine engineers led by F.C. Kohli. The company initially provided services in the area of electronic data processing, but has since grown to become one of the largest IT services firms in the world. Today, TCS operates in over 149 locations across 46 countries, with more than 469,000 employees serving clients in a range of industries. In addition to its IT services, TCS has also expanded its business to include consulting, engineering, and outsourcing services, among others. The company is known for its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, and has been recognized for its efforts in areas such as environmental conservation and community development.