Today is a significant day for anyone associated with the Tata group of companies. March 3rd is celebrated as the Founder’s Day – the birthday of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, also known as JN Tata.
Growing up, I have always been part of the Founder’s Day celebration. My father worked for the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). For me, this will always be ‘Tata Institute’ – a name that many people popularly use for one of India’s prestigious education and research center in Bangalore. That is because this institute was established with generous support from JN Tata. The land of course was donated by the Maharaja of the State Of Mysore.
Because of his contribution to building up IISc and his vision of how this would impact India, a huge monument was erected in front of the Central Office & Faculty Hall, in his memory. Every year on this day, the memorial is decorated with an arrangement of flower pots brought from across the campus, and a service is held to celebrate the birth anniversary of this legend. Till I was about 8-9 years, I would eagerly look forward to the sweets or chocolates that my father would bring home to mark the celebration. A few years later, we moved in to live on the campus and I have had the privilege to visit the monument multiple times. All of my teen and young adult years were spent on the Tata Institute campus. So it will always be ‘home’ for me. My love for nature, for reading, for long solitary walks, my first tryst with computers, life-long friendships, my wedding – this place has been a very integral part of my life. Even though I no longer live on the campus, I try to visit during this week to pay tribute and to take in the beauty of both the decked-up monument and the natural beauty of the campus – which comes alive in all its summer glory.
Video Courtesy : IISc. Founder’s Day 2022
Then from 2009 to 2013, till I quit corporate work life, I was part of the Tata Teleservices family and got to experience what it meant to be part of this work culture.
What Makes The Tatas Different?
Vision & Pioneer
JN Tata is referred to as the “Father Of Indian Industry’. This in itself tells us how important his vision and contribution have been to building modern India. It was his vision that gave birth to the iconic Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, during his lifetime. His vision also led to the establishment of iron and steel plants (TISCO, now Tata Steel), a premier research & educational institute (IISc), and a power plant (Tata Power). Today, keeping up with the changing times Tatas have an impact across many fields like consumer durables, automobile, medicine, telecommunications, information technology, and now airlines as well.
Maybe it is their history of fair dealings, pioneering spirit, love for the country and the community – Tata remains one of the most trusted brands across India. Investors, Partners, Staff & Patrons all find the Tata group to be trustworthy. Tatas have always put the Indian consumer first – his sentiments and affordability along with innovation drive their product portfolio. In fact, as per a recent poll survey, the group garnered more than 66% of the votes from investors, as a trusted brand across.
Philanthropy, Compassion & Humanity
The Tatas are known more for their philanthropic work than for their wealth. Amongst their many initiatives, perhaps the most known one is the Tata Memorial Hospital which offers free and subsidized treatment for cancer patients.
The Tata Trust manages this work and I read somewhere that more than 60% of their earnings is dedicated towards philanthropy. This philosophy has been a guiding force in my home as well. Though we belonged to the ‘working middle-class’ and did not have a huge disposable income, my father always kept aside a percentage of his earnings towards some charitable cause and taught me to do so as well. My stint at TTSL gave me the opportunity to be a part of a few projects for Women Empowerment, Children’s Education in Government schools and to preserve the environment. I learnt the true joy of giving back to society. I also feel that my initiatives during the pandemic were driven by this guiding force.
Their compassion towards their staff & patrons is also legendary – this was witnessed in recent times too in how they handled the aftermath of the infamous terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal hotel.
Their kindness extended to animals as well. As a fellow animal-lover, I was completely overjoyed to learn of how the Tata House throws open its doors so that the ‘stray’ dogs can take shelter. Something many of us can learn from to be kind to all living beings and treat them with respect.
Wealth is one part of becoming famous. It takes courage, compassion, loyalty, and vision to channel that wealth to build a nation.
True legends are made of these. Their legacy lives on.
This is my little tribute to the legacy of Tatas. The views expressed are my own, born of my experiences. I have researched some of the data/numbers shared in the post.
The title is inspired by the tribute on Tata Website. Click here to visit the site.