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Monday, 19 May 2014

Father of Indian Industry !!!

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata (March 1839 – 19 May 1904) was an Indian pioneer industrialist, who founded the Tata Group, India's biggest conglomerate company.  Jamsetji Tata is regarded as the legendary "Father of Indian Industry". He founded what would later become the Tata Group of companies. He was born to a Parsi Zoroastrian family in Navsari then part of the princely state of BarodaTata was the first businessman in a family of Parsi Zoroastrian priests. It was only natural that Nusserwanji, would, as usual join the family priesthood, but the enterprising youngster broke the tradition to become the first member of the family to try his hand at business. He started trading in BombayJamsetji joined his father in Mumbai at the age of 14 and enrolled at the Elphinstone College completing his education as a ‘Green Scholar’ (equivalent of today’s graduate).

He was married to Hirabai Daboo while he was still a student. He graduated from college in 1858 and joined his father's trading firm. It was a turbulent time to step into business as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 had just been suppressed by the British government.Jamsetji's knowledge expansion happened through successive trips abroad, mainly to EnglandAmerica, continental Europe, and other places that convinced him that there was tremendous scope for Indian companies to forge through and make a foray in the British dominated textile industry. Jamsetji worked in his father's company until he was 29. He founded a trading company in 1868 with Rs. 21,000 capital. 

He bought a bankrupt oil mill at Chinchpokli in 1869 and converted it to a cotton mill, which he renamed Alexandra Mill. He sold the mill two years later for a profit. He set up another cotton mill at Nagpur in 1874, which he christened Empress Mill when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India on 1 January 1877. He devoted his life to four goals: setting up an iron and steel company, a world-class learning institution, a unique hotel and a hydro-electric plant. Only the hotel became a reality during his lifetime, with the inauguration of the Taj Mahal Hotel at Colaba waterfront in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 3 December 1903 at the cost of 42 million rupees (about 11 billion or 1100 crore rupees at 2010 prices). At that time it was the only hotel in India to have electricity.

His successors' work led to the three remaining ideas being achieved:
  • Tata Steel (formerly TISCO — Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited) is Asia's first and India's largest steel company. It became world's fifth largest steel company, after it acquired Corus Group producing 28 million tonnes of steel annually.
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the pre-eminent Indian institution for research and education in Science and Engineering.
  • Tata Hydroelectric Power Supply Company, renamed Tata Power Company Limited, currently India's largest private electricity company with an installed generation capacity of over 8000MW.
Their sons, Dorabji Tata and Ratanji Tata, succeeded Jamsetji as the chairman of the Tata group.
Tata's sister Jerbai, through marriage to a Bombay merchant, became mother of Shapurji Saklatvala, who Jamsetji employed to successfully prospect for coal and iron ore in Bihar and Orissa. Saklatvala later settled in England, initially to manage Tata's Manchester office, and later became a Communist Member of the British Parliament.

While on a business trip in Germany in 1900, Tata became seriously ill. He died in Nauheim on May 19, 1904, and was buried in the Parsi burial ground in Brookwood CemeteryWoking, England. Tata's iron and steel plant was set up at Sakchi village in Bihar. The village grew into a town and the railway station there was named Tatanagar. Now it is a bustling metropolis known as Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, named in honor of the Jamshetji. The old village of Sakchi (now urbanized) still exists within the city of Jamshedpur, as its suburb.

The Family tree of the Tatas: