Lesson 63: Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (JRD) (Level 2+)

J.R.D.Tata, the man who made Tata Group one of the most prestigious and successful industrial groups in India, was a visionary. Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was born in France on January 29, 1904 to an Indian father and a French mother. He had a privileged childhood. His family was wealthy and had the means to fulfill the curiosities of his young mind.

He began his career as an unpaid apprentice in the Indian company Tata & Sons.

He rose to the position of the company’s chairman when he was only 34 years old.

From a young age he had been fascinated by airplanes. He obtained the first ever pilot license issued in India.

He took his passion for flying to another level by establishing India’s first commercial airline, Tata Airlines which later became Air India.

Under his astute leadership and direction the Tata Group expanded to become one of India’s most trusted brands.

Some of the well-known Tata companies are – Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Tea and Voltas.

Like his father, J.R.D. Tata was greatly concerned about the welfare of his workers and initiated a programme in 1956 to give workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the company.

He provided his employees with good working conditions, free medical aid and compensation in case of accidents.

His never-ending endeavors to make the world a better place earned him several prestigious awards, both in India and abroad.

Among these was the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.

He believed that: “Uncommon thinkers reuse what common thinkers refuse.” He also said, “Never start with diffidence. Always start with confidence.”

A) Vocabulary: To demonstrate the meaning, please make sentences with the words given below.

Prestigious – inspiring respect and admiration
Visionary – an imaginative thinker
Privileged – enjoying special benefits
Apprentice – a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer
Astute – the ability to make good choices or decisions
Endeavor – efforts or attempts to do something
Confidence – trust, belief
Diffidence – shyness resulting from a lack of self-confidence

B) Please read the text aloud. Pay close attention to the new vocabulary. How are these words pronounced?

C) Discussion Points: 

  1. What do you think were J.R.D. Tata’s major qualities?
  2. Highlight his biggest successes / achievements.
  3. Can you name another industrialist? What industry is this person associated with?
  4. Please research an industrialist of your choice. Tell us five or six interesting facts about him or her.

D) What is an antonym? It is a word oppositein meaning to another.
Self-confidence is the opposite of diffidence.

What are the opposites or antonyms of the following words?