Biography of Jamsetji Tata

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  • Topic: Tata Group, Hydroelectricity, Tata family
  • Pages : 12 (3960 words )
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  • Published : November 7, 2011
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Book review of “For the love of India” (A biography of Jamsetji Tata , written by R.M.Lala)

Jamsetji Tata, the founder of Tata sons, was a pioneer of Indian Industry. He is credited with giving Indian Industry a new direction by creating a vision for first steel plant & hydroelectric plant. Prior to that, Business community in India was basically a trading community, with only major exports in cotton, jute & tea. He was the one who changed India’s industrial & economic character. He fulfilled his dream of building Hotel Taj in his life time.

A great philanthropist by nature, he envisioned a project as large as the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore & get set the ball rolling, despite lack of interest on the part of Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India as well as his own friends. This University, approved by Governor-General in council in 1909,is the fountain head of India’s scientific advance.

He adopted similar approach for steel plant. He invited best known geologists of America to India to find a suitable site and readily agreed to bore all the expenditure.

A visionary, much ahead of his times, he recognized the danger of pollution in his own time and wanted clean hydro-electric power for Bombay which was polluted by smoke coming out of chimneys of numerous textile mills.

This book entails his major contributions to Indian Industry along with the details of Tata silk Farm as well as efforts to improve quality of Indian cotton which showcased his ability to give attention to finer technical details in addition to his business genius. His foray into field of shipping is also mentioned, which ultimately couldn’t succeed due to lack of cooperation from his own countrymen as well as unethical practice of his competitors.

In essence, this book describes his dreams, his achievements, and also describes his strong values and ethics in addition to solid business acumen. A dynamic leader, full of energy , motivation & indomitable grit, he also emerges as a considerate & generous person who believes in giving back to society and has deep routed faith in the principles of Parsi faith- “Humata,Hukta,Huvarsta”- Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.

We shall first go through his life & then analyze his leadership traits as per current framework. This book may give us answer of what constituents are required for becoming a leader as strong as Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata with the help of current models/frameworks used to describe leadership.

Jamsetji N. tata was born to Nusserwanji & Jivanbai Tataon 03/03/1839 in Navsari, a town in the territory of Gaekwad maharaja of Baroda. He received initial education in Gujarati held by local Pundits, & in 1856 entered Elphinstone Institute. He was a bright boy & his fees was waived. He passed out in 1858 as Green scholar. This build a strong foundation in English & till the end he remain fond of English Literature.

After passing out, he apprenticed to a solicitor’s firm & then joined his father’s firm. The principal partners were Nusserwanji Tata, Kaliandas and Premchand Roychand. This firm exported Cotton & opium to China and sent back tea,silk, camphor,copper, brass & gold to India. During American civil war, the cotton supplies to England from America were disrupted.This was a golden opportunity to Indian cotton traders to supply cotton to mills of Lancashire at twice the normal price. Young Jamsetji was sent to London to encash this opportunity by establishing a London office. Despite his limited experience, he could sense the boom coming to an end and warned Roychand beforehand. The boom came to end, but he decided to stay there only as he wanted to learn the intricacies of cotton trade as well as Industry. He wanted to become an Industrialist from a merchant.

He stayed in London for 4 years and developed friendship with Dadabhai Naoroji , Badruddin Tyabji & Ferozshah Mehta. On one of his visits to Manchester, he listened to a lecture by famous...
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