History of Tata [VIDEO]

History of Tata is so intertwined to that of India’s business history – it has had an impact on industries like steel, automobile, communications, beverage, food, aviation, education to name a few. This one company and the family behind it have contributed so much to India and people of India.


Video: Animated movie on the History of Tata Group

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata – Founder

Tata group was established by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata in the mid 19th century in India, initially operating as a trading company. The group has since then grown widely as a business organization which mainly encompasses seven major business sectors. These include information and communication technology, materials, energy, engineering, services, chemicals and consumer products. Tata group has expanded its operations worldwide to over 100 countries. There are over a hundred operating companies under Tata group. All of these companies run its operations independently. Some of these companies are Tata communications, Tata power, Tata global beverages, Tata steel, Tata chemicals, Taj hotels, Tata teleservices as well as Tata motors. The group’s ownership has remained as a family-owned business. This is due to the fact that the descendants of the founder have a majority stake in the group.

Five Generations of Chairmen from the Tata Family
Image: 5 Generations of Chairmen of Tata Group from the Tata Family

Tata Group of Companies and their Achievements

According to the founder in the early years, Tata was initially inspired by spirit of nationalism. Several companies of national importance in India were pioneered through the Tata group. These included industries in the fields of power, steel, airlines as well as hospitality. Recently, the pioneering spirit of the Tata group has been showcased majorly as the company created the first ever software company, TCS. It has also been showcased by the Tata Motors which introduced the first indigenous developed car in India, the Indica. Recently, they unveiled the most affordable car in the world, the Tata Nano.

In an effort to drive its business both in India as well as internationally, Tata companies are mainly focusing on new innovations and technologies.
This is clearly noted from the unveiling of the Nano car and even the Eka supercomputer which was ranked as the fourth fastest in the world in 2008. The pioneering spirit of the Tata group is further showcased in their effort to modernizing the Indian agricultural sector. This is through introduction of improved fertilizers, seed and pesticides. In additions, they support farmers through teaching them of better cultivation methods and even the application of modern farm equipments and tools. In 2001, solar cell facility which was the first Indian polycrystalline was set up by the Tata BP solar company, also one other Tata companies. Most recently in Singapore, Tata Indicom has launched the Tata Indicom undersea fibre optic cable. It’s the first of its kind in India running between Changi and Chennai.

Tata Motors

Globally, Tata motors are rated among the top five commercial vehicle manufacturing companies. Tata motors now owns two prestigious car brands Land Rover and Jaguar. The interesting fact is both these companies were struggling and since Tata bought them have turned profitable. Among the top ten steelmakers in the world is Tata steel.

Tata Consultancy Services

TCS, also in the Tata group, is a software company operating worldwide. It has established its delivery centers in several countries among them United Kingdom, United State, Hungary, Uruguay, China, and Brazil in addition to the home country, India.

Tata Chemicals

The second largest manufacturer of soda ash globally is Tata Chemicals.

Tata Beverages

Tata global Beverages is a key player in the production of tea worldwide, being the second largest company.

Tata Communications

In the wholesale voice carriers sector, Tata communications is one of the largest companies in the world.

The Tata group has in the years gained a lot of recognition. A UK- based consultancy firm known as Brand Finance, ranked the company as the 39th among the most valuable global brands. It was valued at 18.16 billion dollars. Just in 2010, it appeared in the list of the 50 most innovative companies where it was ranked as 17th.

Tata Groups Philanthropy

The Tata companies have tried a lot in returning to the society to which they serve. Philanthropic trusts are concerned with holding two thirds of the equity of the Tata promoter holding company and that of the Tata Sons. They have established several national organizations and institutions in India mostly for medical research, social studies, performing arts as well as institutions for science and technology. The trusts also play a key role in aiding and assisting non-governmental organizations that works towards facilitating healthcare, education and general livelihood. To communities around their industrial units, the Tata companies have also extended social welfare activities towards them.

In 2007, the Tata group was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. The group has assisted in the establishment of several quality educational, research as well as cultural institutions. Some of these are Tata Football Academy, Indian Institute of Science, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.basically, the history of Tata has revolved around innovations and development of newer technologies, locally and internationally.

Titbits about Tata

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai

The story goes that Jamsetji Tata was denied entry into a fancy restaurant since Indians were not allowed. He built the beautiful Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 1903 to the envy of the Britishers.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Image: The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Air India

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata the second chairman of the Tata group was the first licensed pilot in India in 1929. JRD Tata founded the Tata Airlines in 1932. In 1948, after the independence of India, 49% of the airline was acquired by the Government of India and became the Air India.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and its history behind Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

JRD Tata founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) back in 1945 under the leadership of Homi J Bhabha.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was founded from the TIFR and research at TIFR.

Ms Sudha Murthy, Chairman Infosys Foundation and her connection to JRD Tata

She came across a job advertisement in February 1974 for TELCO that said female candidates should not apply. She was so hurt and wrote a postcard to JRD Tata. She forgot about it but soon got a telegram for the interview. JRD Tata after reading the post card from Sudha Murthy and had argued to get her for an interview. She was later offered a job at TELCO.

8 years later she wanted to personally meet JRD Tata to tell him she wanted to resign. When she told him he said, “You fought so much for the job and now you are quitting it?” She told him that her husband wanted to start the Infosys. And then JRD turned almost a soothsayer to say, “If you make lots of money you must give it back to society as you have received so much love from it.” which was fundamental in the formation of Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Infosys.

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