As a result, French was his first language. He had planned to study engineering at the University of Cambridge but was compelled to return to India to assume his role in the Tata family business in In , when Tata took charge as chairman of the Tata Group, he was, at age 34, the youngest member of the Tata Sons board. Over the next half-century Tata strengthened existing businesses such as steel, power, and hotels and drove the group to diversify its interests to include chemicals, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, financial services, and information technology. When Air India was nationalized in , Tata was retained as chairman, a position that he held until
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Their daughter, Dina Jinnah , was married to Neville Wadia , a notable businessman. As his mother was French, he spent much of his childhood in France and as a result, French was his first language. Tata was educated in London, Japan, France and India. During this time, J. D to England for higher studies in October He was enrolled in a Grammar school, and was interested in studying Engineering at Cambridge.
Just as the Grammar course was ending and he was hoping to enter Cambridge, a law was passed in France to draft into the army, for two years, all French boys at the age of As a citizen of France J. D had to enlist in the army for at least 1 year. In between the Grammar school and his time in the army, he spent a brief spell at home in Bombay.
Upon discovering J. D could not only read and write French and English,  but could type as well; the squadron Colonel had him assigned as a secretary in his office. Tata was once again transferred to the more luxurious office of a colonel. After a month period of conscription in the French Army he wanted to proceed to Cambridge for further education, but his father decided to bring him back to India and he joined the Tata Company.
Career[ edit ] When J. On 10 February , Tata obtained the first pilot licence issued in India. He and Nevill Vintcent worked together in building Tata Airlines. They were also good friends. In , J. D at the controls of a Puss Moth. D nourished and nurtured his airline baby through to , when the government of Jawaharlal Nehru nationalised Air India.
It was a decision J. D had fought against tooth and nail. He joined Tata Sons as an unpaid apprentice in For decades, he directed the huge Tata Group of companies, with major interests in steel, engineering, power, chemicals and hospitality. He was famous for succeeding in business while maintaining high ethical standards — refusing to bribe politicians or use the black market.
He started with 14 enterprises under his leadership and half a century later on 26 July , when he left, Tata Sons was a conglomerate of 95 enterprises which they either started or in which they had controlling interest. He was the trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust from its inception in for over half a century. In , he founded Tata Motors. For his crowning achievements in aviation, he was bestowed with the title of Honorary Air Commodore of India.
JRD Tata cared greatly for his workers. In , Tata Steel instituted a new practice: a worker being deemed to be "at work" from the moment he leaves home for work until he returns home from work. This made the company financially liable to the worker for any mishap on the way to and from work. In , he founded Titan Industries. Jamshedpur was also selected as a UN Global Compact City because of the quality of life, conditions of sanitation, roads and welfare that were offered by Tata Steel.
He is quoted to have told a reporter of the New York Times , "things had gone too far. The parliamentary system is not suited to our needs. He was conferred the honorary rank of group captain by the Indian Air Force in , was promoted to the Air Commodore rank equivalent to Brigadier in army on 4 October ,  and was further promoted on 1 April to the Air Vice Marshal rank.
The French Legion of Honour was bestowed on him in In the same year, JRD Tata was also bestowed with the United Nations Population Award for his crusading endeavours towards initiating and successfully implementing the family planning movement in India,  much before it became an official government policy.
J. R. D. Tata