J.R.D. Tata Wiki, Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More – WikiBio

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J R D Tata

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhai Tata (JRD Tata) was a non-resident Indian entrepreneur, industrialist, aviator, philanthropist and former chairman of the Tata Group. He is the person with whose name many firsts are associated. He was the first licensed pilot who laid the foundation for India’s first international airline, known as Air India. He was a visionary personality who saw the potential of industrial development and took relevant initiatives to achieve it. Under his leadership, the Tata group grew from 14 to 95 enterprises. He is the founder of several successful ventures under the Tata Group, including Tata Motors, Tata Salt, Tata Consultancy Services, Voltas, Air India and Titan Industries.


Tata was born on Friday, 29 July 1904 in Paris to a wealthy Indian family. He was born to non-resident Indian parents and was their second child. His mother was French, so he spent his childhood in France and French was his first language. In 1909, his father bought a new house on Hardlot beach in France. Here, JRD grew up fascinated by aviation, which he learned about from neighbor Louis Bleriot, an aviator. He enjoyed his first airplane ride at the age of 15. His family shifted between Paris and Bombay during 1909 – 1917. That’s when he studied at the Cathedral School in Bombay. In 1923, after the death of his mother, his father sent him to England for higher studies. He studied in four countries including France, India, Japan and England.

Ascension of Tata Legacy

Since he was a citizen of France, he had to serve in the French army for at least one year. Thereafter, he returned to India in 1925 to assume his responsibilities as Tata’s successor. In 1926, he was in Jamshedpur when his father died in France. This was the time when he became the director of Tata Sons. Three years later, in 1929, he renounced his French citizenship and became the first Indian to hold a private license No.

JRD Tata gets first Indian pilot license

JRD Tata gets first Indian pilot license


In 1932, he established a courier service connecting Madras (now Chennai), Karachi, Ahmedabad and Bombay (Mumbai). He operated the first flight of this service from Karachi to Bombay. This service was named Tata Air Mail. In 1938 he graced the post of Chairman of Tata Sons. A few years later, Tata Air Mail was renamed as Tata Airlines, becoming India’s first domestic airline. Later in 1946, it was renamed as the present Air India. After that, JRD Tata worked hard for the success of Tata’s current business vertical. This included Tata Steel, Power and Hotels. He invested in further diversification and laid the foundation of the company in automobiles, chemicals, financial services, information technology and pharmaceuticals. In 1953, Air India was nationalized, but Tata remained its chairman until 1978. In 1991, he stepped down from his leadership at Tata Sons, and that was when the Tata Group had annual revenues of approximately US$4 billion, and its asset valuations rose from US$100 million to US$5 billion.

JRD Tata as Young Chairman of Tata Group

JRD Tata as Young Chairman of Tata Group


contribution to national development

He took the initiative to establish a chain of institutions to promote medical, educational, scientific and artistic development in India. In 1944, he founded the JRD Tata Trust and participated in the foundation of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in 1945. These institutions were Tata Memorial Hospital, Tata Institute of Social Science, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, National Center for the Performing Arts and National. Advanced Science Institute. He was one of the wise men who started promoting family planning. He was the founder of the Family Planning Foundation, which was established in 1971. He invested in grooming talent to support the business domain and built the Tata Administrative Services and Staff College. In the later years of her life, she also sold her apartment in Bombay and most of her shares to set up the JRD and Thelma Tata Trust, which works for the welfare of underprivileged women in the country. JRD Tata once said,

I do not want India to become an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country.”


parents and siblings

JRD Tata was born in a Parsi family to Ratanji Dadabhai Tata and Suzanne Sooni Briare. He was the second child of his parents, and had siblings Jimmy, Rodabeh, Sayla and Dorab.

JRD Tata with his parents, grandmother and elder sister

JRD Tata with his parents, grandmother and elder sister

wife and children

JRD Tata fell in love with Thelma Vikaji and married her in 1930. The couple had no children.


JRD Tata loved Air India from its core, and was more concerned about it than any of his established businesses. When the Nehru government decided to nationalize Air India, JRD Tata tried his best to fight this decision. Air India was eventually nationalised, but the government insisted JRD Tata to lead its established airline, which he did until 1977.

Awards, Honors, Achievements

JRD Tata not only initiated many business advancements but also did a series of philanthropic works for human welfare.

  • In 1930 he came second in the Aga Khan Aviation Race to fly a plane from India to the United Kingdom.
  • In 1983 he became commander of the French Legion of Honour.
  • He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1957.
  • In 1974 he assumed the rank of Air Vice Marshal, the third highest active rank in the Indian Air Force.
  • In 1975, he received the Sir Jehangir Gandhi Medal for Industrial Peace.
  • He received many international awards for aviation including Tony Janus Award (1979), Gold Air Medal (1985), Edward Warner Award (1986).
  • In 1988 he received the Daniel Guggenheim Medal and Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Award for Aviation.
  • He received the United Nations Population Award in 1992.
  • He also received Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his contribution to Indian industrialization.
JRD Tata gets Bharat Ratna

JRD Tata gets Bharat Ratna



He died on 29 November 1993 in Geneva, Switzerland and was buried at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Facts / Trivia

  • He is also known as the father of civil aviation in India.
  • Since its inception, he was a trustee of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, which established Asia’s first cancer hospital.
  • JRD Tata wrote more than 40,000 letters throughout his life, which always came out with beautiful handwriting.

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