Highlights of the story
- JRD gave India its first airline
- JRD Tata is the father of Air India
India’s big industrialists are counted and JRD Tata is not mentioned, it cannot happen. In the long career of JRD Tata, many great achievements have been recorded. It not only expanded the reach of the Tata group but also has a record of giving its share to India as the first airline. JRD Tata’s 118th birth anniversary is just one day later, on Friday (July 29) which marks the 118th birth anniversary of this iconic signature of Indian industry. On this occasion, we will tell you many interesting things related to JRD Tata.
JRD Tata was born in France
The full name of this veteran industrialist who gave the first airline to the country is Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata. But he is known only as JRD Tata. JRD was born in Paris in 1904. His father RD Tata was a business partner and relative of Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group. JRD Tata’s mother Sooni was a citizen of France. He was the second of his parents’ four children. Apart from France, he studied in Japan and England. JRD is said to have spoken more French than English. Interestingly, JRD used to write and speak these two foreign languages better than any other Indian language, but even after that his bond with India was unparalleled.
Father’s talk turned into a blessing for JRD
Very few people know that JRD had worked in the French army before becoming the representative of Indian identity. When I was studying in France, it was compulsory for every citizen there to serve in the army for a year. After this year of service, he wanted to spend more time in the army, but due to his father’s disapproval he had to leave the army as soon as the mandatory service was over. This disagreement of the father turned out to be a blessing not only for JRD but also for the Indian industry. The regiment he was serving in was assigned to Morocco. Just a few months after JRD finished his service, all the soldiers in his regiment stationed in Morocco were killed.
He started his first job at Tata without pay
JRD wanted to study engineering at Cambridge University, but because of his father, his dream could not be fulfilled. On the orders of his father, JRD came to India and started looking after the work of Tata Group. He started his career in the Tata group as an apprentice in December 1925 and for that he did not get a single rupee. When JRD was only 22 years old, his father died. After this, JRD got a seat on the board of Tata Sons. In 1929, JRD renounced his French citizenship and began to concentrate on business in India.
Childhood dreams have wings like this
JRD used to be excited about flying since childhood. Only when he was 15 years old did he have the pleasure of flying by plane in France. This experience sparked JRD’s love for mental flight, which eventually led to the launch of Air India. In 1929, JRD Tata obtained his commercial pilot’s license and thus became the first Indian to obtain such a license.
A year later, there was a proposal to start an airmail service at Tata headquarters (Bombay House), which was to connect Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Karachi. Dorabji Tata, the then chairman of the Tata group, was persuaded to start this service by John Peterson, JRD’s friend and Tata colleague. Dorabji entrusted the responsibility of this new business to JRD.
Nationalized Nehru government
In 1932, Tata Aviation Service was started under the leadership of JRD. At that time the aviation sector was dominated by European companies. In the same year, JRD took off from Drigh Road in Karachi and wrote India’s name in the sky. Later this company was first renamed as Tata Airlines, and finally its name was changed to Air India, which still exists. After India’s independence, the government was formed under the leadership of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The Nehru government nationalized Air India in 1953. JRD strongly opposed this government decision, but it had no effect.
They stayed together after a dispute with Moraji Desai
After Air India became government, Prime Minister Nehru urged JRD to continue looking after the airline’s affairs. JRD Tata had the same love for Air India as a father has for his children. He gladly accepted this request and remained chairman of the state-owned airline Air India until he was ousted in 1977 after differences with the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. Later, when Indira Gandhi came back to power, she asked JRD to become the president again, but JRD’s mind was full by then.
Air India became the best under JRD’s leadership
Under the leadership of JRD Tata, Air India set many great records. Under his leadership, the first international flight of Air India was started, in which he himself was seated. The JRDs were very punctual in terms of time and their effect was also visible in the Air India service. I used to keep an eye on everything from the tea to the color of the coffee and the seat on the menu. This was the reason why Air India was considered the best airline in the world at that time. When the Singapore government was starting its own airline, a team of officials was sent from there to conduct a case study of Air India.
When JRD received the Bharat Ratna award
Because of the contribution JRD made to the country, the Government of India honored him with the highest civilian honor ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1992. When he was told that the government was considering giving him the Bharat Ratna , his gut reaction was, “Why me? I don’t deserve this. Bharat Ratna is usually given to those people who have died or leaders get it. I’m not willing to make the government’s work easier by dying and I’m not the leader .He breathed his last in a hospital in Geneva a year later on November 29, 1993. He married Thelma de France (JRD Tata’s wife Thelma) in 1930, but they had no children .
Maharaja has returned home
By the way, the famous airline Air India with the name ‘Maharaja’ is back in the hands of the Tata group. This time, when the 118th birth anniversary of JRD Tata will be celebrated, the Maharaja will also be present at his old home to celebrate the birthday of its founder. Even after coming under government control, while JRD was at the helm, Air India was scaling new heights in the sky. After his departure, Air India’s situation went from bad to worse. The company began to incur losses continuously. The company’s service also deteriorated. Things happened, the government package also proved insufficient to manage Air India. Finally, the government decided to sell Air India. In the auction held last year, Tata group made the highest bidder ‘Maharaja Ki Ghar Wapasi’.