August 2004 | Ratan Tata

A legend lives on

Ratan N Tata, the Chairman of the Tata group, pays tribute to the man he succeeded

Mr JRD Tata was a great visionary with tremendous personal charisma. For a person holding the position he did, he remained low-key, and lived relatively humbly throughout his life.

During the 53 years that he led the Tata group, he pioneered the group's involvement in the airline business, oversaw the early development of the group's activities in chemicals, commercial vehicles, computers and software services. In addition, he successfully led the group's growth in the areas of steel and other established business lines.

Throughout his life, 'Jeh,' as we all knew him, gave much of his time and attention to various social causes to which he remained totally committed. These included family planning, gender equality and child welfare.

Jeh was a true nationalist. A proud citizen of India, with a strong desire to see India develop and shine, it was this strong national spirit that often led him to frustration when he felt that government action (or inaction) was shackling the free growth of India after its independence.

As Chairman of the Tata group for 53 years, Mr Tata lived by the traditions and value system established by the founder, Mr Jamsetji Tata, and these values have become deeply ingrained in the Tata group as one of the foundations on which the group has been built. Though Mr JRD Tata is no more, the values, traditions and business ethics which he lived by will continue to be the driving force of the group. Mr Tata made his mark on India during his lifetime, and his legend lives on after him.