Jamsetji Tata – The Great Visionary Patriot & The Nation Builder

Jamsetji Tata was an Indian pioneer industrialist, who is regarded as the father of Indian industrial revolution. Yes, you guessed that right, I am talking about Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata. 

jamsetji tata, jamsetji tata biography

Jamsetji Tata Biography

Jamsetji Tata was born to Nusserwanji and Jeevanbai Tata on 3 March 1839 in Navsari, a city in the south Gujarat. He was born in a respezctable, but poor family of priests. His father, Nusserwanji, was the first businessman in the family. He started an export trading firm in Mumbai. Jamsetji was gifted with special mental arithmetic from a young age.

At the age of 14, Jamsetji Tata joined his father in Mumbai and enrolled at Elphinstone College, completing his education as a ‘Green Scholar’ (an equivalent of a graduate). He was married to Hirabai Daboo while still a student. After graduating from Elphinstone College in Bombay in 1858, he entered the export-trading firm of his father, helping mainly to develop strong branches in Japan, China, Europe and the United States.

Jamsetji Tata’s father wanted to be a part of opium business, so he sent Jamsetji Tata to China in order to learn about the business there and the details about the opium trade. However, as Tata travelled around China, he started to realize that trading in the cotton industry was growing rapidly so there was a possibility of creating a perfect profit. This inspired his entrepreneurial venture where he spent much of his life in cotton mills. Tata worked in his father’s business until he was 29 years old. He founded a trading company in 1868 with ₹21,000 capital. He bought a bankrupt oil mill at Chinchpokli in 1869 and converted it to a cotton mill, which he renamed as Alexandra Mill. He sold the mill for a profit two years later.

Jamsetji Tata wanted to set up more mill of cotton but at lower investment and so he chose Nagpur where he developed the Empress Mill. At Nagpur land was cheaper and resources like were easily available. He set up Dharamsi Mills at Kurla in Bombay and later reselling it to buy the Advance Mills in Ahmedabad. Jamsetji Tata has sponsored the textile and cotton industries in India through all these numerous contributions. This was one of the many dreams Jamsetji had dreamt off. He was a great supporter of Swadeshi movement and even name done of the mill in Bombay as Swadeshi Mill.

When Jamsetji visited Manchester to see new machines for his textile mill, the concept of steel and iron emerged up with these ideas. Jamsetji was inspired to set up an iron and steel company, when he attended a lecture by Thomas Carlyle in Manchester. He focused his heart on constructing a steel plant to compete with the world’s best ever to have been. This was a gigantic task.

Jamsetji found his path blocked at every other turn due to restrictions by the British policies. A lesser man may have been defeated by torturous unexpected twists in the steel venture, but Jamsetji stayed rigid in his resolve to ensure that the project succeeded. Along the way he had to suffer the scorn of people such as Sir Frederick Upcott, the chief commissioner of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, who promised to “eat every pound of steel rail [the Tatas] succeed in making”. There is no record of where Sir Frederick was when the very first steel ingot started rolling off the manufacturing line of the mill in 1912.

Jamsetji died eight years later, but his legacy made it apparently difficult to know the efforts of his son ‘Dorab’ and cousin ‘RD Tata’. The concept of the Tisco was introduced by Jamsetji but was executed by his son J.R.D Tata. Jamsetji’s wanted India to climb out of poverty, its finest minds would have to be harnessed. Charity and handouts weren’t really his approach, so in 1892 he founded the JN Tata Endowment. This enabled Indian students, regardless of caste or creed, to pursue higher studies in England.

This beginning blossomed into the Tata scholarships, which grew to the large extend that by 1924, two out of every five Indians in the prominent Indian Civil Service was Tata scholars. The objective of creating the Indian Institute of Science came from the same source, but here, as with the steel plant, Jamsetji had to endure long years of heartburn without getting any tangible recompense in his lifetime. Jamsetji pledged Rs30 lakh from his personal fortune towards setting up the institute. Despite this and related approvals, it will take another 12 years for the magnificent Indian Institute of Science to begin operating in Bangalore.

In 1911, The thought occurred Jamsetji Tata that, “We must harness this water. We’ve got to turn it into power.” at a picnic on the Rohu River. Everybody knew that power was an electrifying concept. Jamsetji Tata, vowed to provide the pollution-free, clean power to Mumbai, a city that was burning on the flames of textile mill furnaces. He conceived of, and encouraged, the establishment one of the first hydropower plants in the Western Ghats, with a hydel dam that would take full advantage of flowing water to produce energy. 

The hydroelectric project faced fewer obstacles, but even then it can not be accomplished while Jamsetji was still alive. Because he could not personally conquer this daunting mission, the sons of Jamsetji, Dorab and Ratan, eventually laid the foundation for efficient and clean energy for the city of Bombay (now Mumbai).

Introduced by the father of the Tata Group, Jamsetji Tata, the organization opened its first hotel in Mumbai, Taj Mahal Palace, in 1903. Of the projects that brought fruit when Jamsetji was alive, the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay would have to be the greatest. Legend has it that Jamsetji, upon being getting refused to enter into one of the city’s hotels for being an Indian, set his mind on building one of it. The Taj turns out to be a bit more grandiose than that. It had cost Rs4.21 crore even by time it was completed in 1903. This was the first building in Bombay to use electricity and the very first hotels in the nation to have American fans, German elevators, Turkish baths, English butlers and lots of other inventive treats.

Jamsetji had such relentless love of Bombay, of travel and, most of all, of novel innovations. His heart was actively finding wisdom and attempting to reach the boundaries of excellence, right up to his death in Germany in 1904. While on a business trip to Germany in 1900, Tata became seriously ill. He died in Bad Nauheim; Town in Germany and Laid to rest in the Parsi burial ground at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, England. He Was Great Visionary Patriot, and The Nation Builder in True Sense. 

Follow Us on Facebook, Click Here

%d bloggers like this: