Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata was an Indian Entrepreneur and industrialist. He is the founder of the Tata Conglomerate who is known as the father of Indian Industries. He was a businessman with a big heart who was a patriot, philanthropist, builder, entrepreneur and builder. He was way ahead of his time and came up with labour welfare policies and practices that won millions of hearts. He commenced the first steel project in the country and founded the city of steel, Jamshedpur. He is the top-ranked philanthropist of the 20th century who is still recalled for his philanthropical works.
Jamsetji Tata was born on Sunday, 3 March 1839, in a small town named Navsari in Gujrat. He belonged to a family of Parsi Priests and was the only son of his parents. His father Nusserwanji, was the first businessman in the family who ran a business in Bombay.
His mother was Jeevanbai Tata and she was a homemaker. Jamsetji spent his childhood in Bombay and graduated in 1859 from the St. Elphinstone College, Bombay.
In 1858, there was a huge increase in demand for cotton in India. In the same year, Jamsetji joined the export trading business in Bombay. He worked in his father’s firm and helped him expand business in foreign countries. He helped his father in setting up branches in China, Europe, Japan and the United States. While on his trip to Hong Kong he noticed the boom in the textile industry and decided to step in.
Jamsetji was just a student when he got married to Hirabaai Daboo. He was only 16 years old at the time of his marriage and later the couple was blessed with two sons. Their elder son was Dorabji Tata and the younger one was Ratanji Tata.
In 1869, Jamsetji ventured into the cotton textile business. For this, he bought a bankrupt oil mill in Chinchpokli, South Mumbai. He converted it into a cotton trading mill named Alexandra Mills. This venture became profitable in a year and later he sold it for a profit to a cotton merchant.
In 1874, established his own textile manufacturing unit in Nagpur. He faced immense criticism from industry players but still remained determined to his plan. He choose Nagpur because it was located in a cotton-producing district and this made it easy for him to source raw material for textile production. For exporting the raw material he relied on the newly developed railway network in India. These were his conscious choices that made Empress Mills a big success.
He had four dreams that he wanted to fulfil in life: Building a leading hotel, setting up an ironworks and steel company, laying the foundation of a best in the class institute and setting up a hydroelectric plant.
One of his dreams that he fulfilled was building a leading hotel. This hotel was built in south Mumbai and inaugurated as Taj Mahal Hotel on 3rd December 1903.
In 1901, Jamsetji commenced planning his second venture with his sons. This project was India’s first Ironworks project that we now know as Tata Steel. However, he didn’t watch this dream to be realized as he passed away in 1904. Later, his sons set up this project in Sakchi, Jharkhand. This region is now known as Jamshedpur. The city of Jamshedpur is also called Tatanagar after Jamsetji Tata.
Jamsetji Tata initiated a series of welfare practices and programmes for his workforce. He was way ahead of his time and was the first industrialist to implement labour protection policies. He introduced free medical aid for his workers, came up with a highly ventilated workplace, reduced working hours, started a creche for working women and introduced events like sports day.
He was the first businessman to come up with gratuity plans and provident fund schemes for his employee welfare. In 1886, he came up with a pension fund to provide for the welfare of his workers even after retirement. LAter in 1895, when the industrial world was dominated by slavery and ill-treatment practices, Jamsetji introduced accident compensation to cover for any miss happening that may emerge at work.
He is a pioneering industrialist he donated generously and made a total donation of US $ 102.4 Billion which is quite higher as compared to the renowned philanthropists of the 21st century.
Jamsetji Tata went on a business trip to Germany in 1900 and that is when he became ill. He was 65 years old when he died in Bad Nauheim, Germany on 19 May 1904. He was buried in England at the Brookwood Cemetery in Woking.
He was the businessman who installed the first fire sprinklers and humidifiers in India and supported the development of the bubonic plague vaccine and took a dose himself.
He was a patriot who supported the Swadeshi movement. In 1886, he created a mill named Svadeshi Mill to support this movement.
He came up with the roadmap of Mumbai and his founded company, Tata Steel supported the construction of major infrastructure developments in India and including the Hawda Bridge of Kolkata and the Sea Link of Mumbai. https://twitter.com/TataCompanies/status/1499089403687301123
In 1915, Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha published the first biography of Jamsetji as the Life and Life Work of J.N. Tata. His second biography was written in 2006 by R.M. Lala and was published as the love of India: The Life and Times of Jamsetji Tata.
The famous Mysore silk was discovered through his sericulture experiment in his textile mill.
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