Naval Tata Age, Death, Caste, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More » StarsUnfolded


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Caste: Parsi

Date of Death: 05/05/1989

Age: 84

Navalji Tata

Navy Tata

Some lesser known facts about Naval Tata

  • Naval Tata was a renowned Indian businessman who played a key role in the success of the Tata Group. He was also a philanthropist and sports lover. He was a philosopher of employer-employee relations and had great communication skills that helped him connect with workers immediately.
  • Naval Tata was born in a middle-class family in Surat, Gujarat. His father worked as a spinning master at the Advanced Mills in Ahmedabad. In 1908, Naval was only four years old at the time of his father’s death. His family shifted to Navsari in Gujarat soon after his father passed away. Her only source of survival was the income of her mother Ratanbai which she used to earn by doing embroidery work.
  • Due to the family’s poor financial condition, Naval Tata was sent to the JN Petit Parsi Orphanage. After Ratanji Tata’s death in 1918, a family meeting was organized by Dorabji Tata. Since Ratanji Tata and Nawazbai Tata had no children, it was decided that Nawazbai should adopt a son for Ratanji’s elevation ceremony and be his successor. She went to JN Petit Parsi Orphanage to adopt a child and there she decided to adopt Naval. Naval Tata once referred to Nawazbai and said,

She played the role of Fairy Godmother for which I will always be grateful to her.”

  • After being adopted, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bombay University. After completing his graduation, he was sent to England to pursue a course in accountancy.
  • On 1 June 1930, he returned to India after completing his studies in England and joined the family business. Two years later, in 1932, he became the secretary of Tata Aviation. His dedication and commitment to the family business earned him the position of Joint Managing Director of all Tata Textile Mills in 1939. On 1 February 1941, he became the director of Tata Sons and later became its vice-president. He soon became the chairman of Tata Mills and three of Tata’s electric companies. It was his leadership that propelled Tata Power forward in terms of reach and capability. He became a board member of other Tata companies and also served as a director of Bank of Baroda. He was the face of Tata J R D Tata and helped JRD Tata realize his dreams. JRD Tata once talked about Naval and said,

    Naval Tata was directly associated with me in the creation of Tata Airlines……He was a kind person. He was a good person. He felt for others. He was always ready to ask for advice or to respond to requests for help whenever he held the position of President or Trustee of a charitable organization. Navy, was also an international man…. He was welcomed wherever he was and played an important role in the International Labor Organization for years.

  • Naval Tata married Sooni Commissariat at an early age. He was blessed with two sons, Ratan and Jimmy Tata. However, the couple divorced in the mid-1940s after which Naval’s sons were raised by their mother, Nawazbai Tata.
    Naval Tata with wife and son

    Naval Tata with Sooni Commissariat and son, Ratan Tata

    His elder son Ratan Tata, former chairman of the Tata group once spoke about his childhood and said,

    I had a happy childhood, but as my brother and I grew up, we faced a lot of ragging and personal trouble due to the divorce of our parents, which was not as common in those days as it is today. But my grandmother took care of us in every way.”

  • Naval Tata was a philanthropist who made a huge contribution to social and human welfare. He worked for several public institutions and devoted his time and energy to social, educational and welfare activities. He was the President of Indian Cancer Society and Sir Ratan Tata Trust which initiated many welfare projects. He was also a trustee of Tata’s charitable organizations and an active member of the Indian Institute of Science.
  • Since 1946, he has been associated with the International Labor Organization for more than three decades and has an exceptional record of being elected as its member 16 times. He also served as the Vice Chairman of the International Organization of Employers, Geneva. He was a businessman who became part of several sessions of the ILO General Conference and the Industrial Committee. He became the face of Indian employers and represented them in many national and international conferences and also participated in the meetings of International Chamber of Commerce, International Management Association and UNIDO.
  • He was a true sports lover and took many initiatives for the development of sports in the country. He was the administrative head of India when he won three Olympic medals. It was he who built the first floodlit hockey ground in the country and it was named ‘Urbes Prima in India’. He was the President of the Indian Hockey Federation and led it for 17 years. At the time of the 1948 London Olympics, Naval Tata personally met Jawaharlal Nehru and explained to him why India should take the initiative to participate in the event and support its sportspersons. In that year itself, India won a gold followed by victories at the Melbourne and Helsinki Olympics.
    Naval Tata with hockey team

    Naval Tata with hockey team

  • Naval Tata met Simone Dunnoir when she was on a tour of India. They soon fell in love and eventually tied the knot in 1955. Two years later in 1957, Naval’s third child, Noel Tata, was born.
  • In 1966, he was made a member of the National Labor Commission by the Government of India.
  • In 1968, he received a medal for industrial peace and the award was the Sir Jehangir Gandhi Medal. The following year, he became the proud recipient of the Padma Bhushan award given to him by the President of India.
  • In 1971, he contested as an independent candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from South Bombay, but was defeated by George Fernandes’ victory. He believed that honest people should be content with elections and for this he himself made efforts.
  • Later, the National Institute of Personnel Management granted him a lifetime membership. He also became the President of the Employers Federation of India and the first President of the Sports Council of India.
  • Naval Tata died of cancer on 5 May 1989 in Bombay, at the age of 84. After his death, the National Institute of Personnel Management began organizing the Naval Tata Memorial Lecture every year since 1992. In 1999, a book in his memories was published and this book contains a collection of his writings, letters and speeches.
  • Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management renamed its sports management department as The Naval Tata Center of Excellence in Sports Management.
  • The Tata Group organized a Trust Exhibition in 2004 in memory of its founders Jamsetji Tata, JRD Tata and Naval Tata. The Employers Federation of India established the Naval Tata Institute of Training in Industrial Relations in 2014 in his memory.



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