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Jamshetji Tata
Born 3 March 1839(1839-03-03)
Navsari, Gujarat, India
Died 19 May 1904 (aged 65)
Bad Nauheim, Germany
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Hirabai Daboo
Parents Nusserwanji and Jeevanbai Tata

Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata (March 3, 1839 - May 19, 1904) was an Indian entrepreneur and industrialist, prominent for his pioneering work in Indian industry. He was born to a Parsi family in Navsari, Gujarat, India.

He founded what would later become the Tata Group of companies. Jamsetji Tata is regarded as the "father of Indian industry".[1]


Early life

Jamshetji Tata was born to Nusserwanji and Jeevanbai Tata on 3 March 1839 in Navsari, a small town in South Gujarat. Nusserwanji Tata was the first businessman in a family of Parsi Zoroastrian priests. He moved to Bombay and started trading.

Jamshetji joined his father in Bombay at the age of 14 and enrolled at the Elphinstone College. He was married to Hirabai Daboo[2] while he was still a student.[3] He graduated from college in 1858 and joined his father's trading firm. It was a turbulent time to step into business as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 had just been defeated by the British government.


Statue of J. N. Tata at Indian Institute of Science at the faculty hall with a miniature model of the faculty hall in his hand

Jamsetji worked in his father's firm until the age of 29. In 1868, he started a trading company with a seed capital of Rs. 21,000. In 1869, he acquired a bankrupt oil mill in Chinchpokli, converted it into a cotton mill and renamed the mill to Alexandra Mill. He sold the mill two years later for a healthy profit. Thereafter he set up a cotton mill in Nagpur in 1874. He christened it Empress Mill on 1 January 1877 when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

He devoted himself to bringing to fruition four of his key ideas: setting up an iron and steel company, a world class learning institution, a one of a kind Hotel and a hydro electric plant. Only one of the ideas became a reality during his lifetime. The Taj Mahal Hotel was inaugrated on the 3rd of December 1903[4]

However, the foundations laid by him and hard work by his successors ensured that each of the ideas were eventually established and are respectable entities in their respective fields today:

  • Tata Steel (formerly TISCO - Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited) is Asia's first and India's largest and became world's fifth largest steel company,after it acquired anglo-dutch Corus group producing 28 million tonnes of steel annually.[5]
  • The Tata Power Company Limited is India’s largest private sector electricity generating company with an installed generation capacity of over 2300 MW.[7]

Among his notable ventures that did bear fruition during his lifetime was the historical Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba district in Mumbai.[8] The hotel was completed for a princely sum of Rs. 4,21,00,000 on 16 December 1903.

Personal Life

Jamshetji Tata married Hirabai. Their son, Dorabji Tata, succeeded Jamshetji as the chairman of the Tata group.


The company started by Jamsetji Tata came to be known as the Tata Group and is today among the largest and most respected companies of the world.

Jamsetji, was however, known for much more than just starting a company. He was a pioneer in his field.

Jamshedpur, also known as Tatanagar, a city in Indian state of Jharkhand is named after him. The Tata Group has many facilities there, including Tata Steel.

He also initiated the establishment of Indian Institute of Science.


  • For the Love of India: The Life and Times of Jamsetji Tata by R M Lala (ISBN 0-670-05782-7)


  • EPW at Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, A Centenary Tribute

External links

Chairmen of the Tata Group

Jamsetji TataDorabji TataNowroji SaklatwalaJ. R. D. TataRatan Tata

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