JamesetJi Tata is one of the members of the Tata family who contributed significantly to the country’s prestigious and reputed industrial house Tata Industries on the world industrial map. His full name was Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata. He was the founder of India’s biggest company, Tata Group. Also, he was the founder of the city, Jamshedpur.
He was born on 3 March 1839 in Navsari in the Bombay Presidency (now in Gujarat). The name of his father was Nusserwanji Tata. The name of his mother was Jeevanbai Tata. Jamsetji was the one and only son of his father. He had four sisters, Ratanbai Tata, Maneckbai Tata, Virbaiji Tata and Jerbai Tata. Tata family has belonged to the Parsees. His father was the first businessman in the family of Parsee Zoroastrian priests. But his son, Jamsetji, rejecting this tradition, turned to the industry and became the first member of his family to go to the industry. He married Hirabai Dabbu while he was still a student.
The struggle of Jamsetji Tata
At that time he was only 20 years old. In 1858, after earning the Green Scholar (current bachelor’s degree) from Elphinstone College, Jamesetji joined a small company owned by his father. And helped to establish its strong branches mainly in Japan, China, Europe, and the United States. The Father of Jamsetji sent him to China to learn about the business there and to know about the details of the opium trade. Meanwhile, when Jamsetji began to travel in China, then he realized that trade in the cotton industry was booming. There was a chance for earning profit with this business. Then, this influenced his business career, where he invested in cotton mills mostly throughout his life.
Jamsetji’s entrepreneurial acumen and his nationalistic outlook led him to believe that the result of his commercial success would prosper the entire country. This will make him a truly unique person. In the year 1864, he went to England and studied the cotton textile industry and trade there. He believed that the nascent industry in India had a bright future and that he could play a role in it.
After that in the year 1867, he bought a bankrupt oil mill at Chinchpokli in Mumbai and converted it to Alexandra Mills with some partners with his skills. Two years later, he sold it with a huge profit. In September 1874, he floated the Central India Spinning, Weaving, and Manufacturing Company in Nagpur. While the other entrepreneurs concentrated on Mumbai, he reasoned that Nagpur was a more suitable place to locate it. There were three reasons for setting up a cotton factory in Nagpur. First was that the maximum production of cotton was in that area. The second was, water and fuel were as per the requirement. And the third was railway station was nearby there. In those days Queen Victoria had achieved the title of Queen of India and Jamsetji also understood the time and he named that factory- Empress Mill ( meaning of Empress means Queen).
When Jamsetji chose Nagpur, he was heavily criticized because most of the textile industries were in Mumbai. Harris, his biographer, wrote-“ When Mr. Tata first announced his intension of building a mill in what seemed a remote and background town, the people of Bombay laughed at him in scorn for ignoring the place which they regarded as the ‘Cottonopolis” of India. But Jamsetji Tata knew his business. Land of Nagpur was cheap, agricultural produce was abundant, and distribution could easily be facilitated, owing to the central position of the town and the gradual growth of converging railways.”
At the beginning of his business life, he suffered a severe financial setback. He had to sell his house and land to pay off the debt of his business partner Prem Chandra Rai Chandra. Apart from this, all his money went into the Swadeshi Mills which he bought in 1887. Despite this, he did not give up.
For the successful industrialization of the country, he made an important plan for the establishment of steel factories. And then he found that place which is suitable from the point of view of steel, in Singhbhum district in the forests of Bihar. He founded the JN Tata Endowment in 1892 to help Indian students pursue higher education abroad. The five-star hotel Taj Mahal in Bombay is built by him. The Taj Mahal was completed in 1903 and was the first building in Bombay to have electricity. Jamsetji had close relations with many nationalist and revolutionary leaders, prominent among them were Dadabhai Naroji and Firoz Shah Mehta. He believed that economic freedom is the basis of political freedom. In 1904, he breathed his last in Germany.
Jamsetji had three main thoughts- the first to open an iron and steel company, the second, setting up a world-famous study center, and the third, setting up the third hydro-electricity project. He also dreamed of an Industrial city which was later completed by Sir Dorabji Tata and the city was named Jamshedpur.
Now Tata Group is not only a brand although it is the identity of the country. It is a big multinational company which is running its business in more than 100 countries. Now it is run by Ratanji Tata. He is the owner and the chairman of the Tata Group. Ratan Tata bought many more companies and took those companies to good heights. The Tata Group donates around 65% of its income to charity. Tata charitable trust was made by the Tata group which help people at the time of needs. There are many big companies in India and the top of this list is Tata Group.
Jawaharlal Nehru said about Jamsetji Tata
Jamsetji is the biggest philanthropist not only in India but in the world. In 100 years, there is no philanthropist like him in the world. “When you have to give the lead in action, in ideas- a lead which does not fit in with the very climate of opinion- that is true courage, physical or mental or spiritual, call it what you like, and it is this type of courage and vision that Jamsetji Tata showed. It is right that we should honor his memory and remember him as one of the big founders of modern India.’- Jawaharlal Nehru