Review of the Book Beyond the Last Blue Mountain Essay
Beyond The Last Blue mountain : Tata Story : Book Review About the Author RM Lala * Started his career in journalism in 1948 at the age of 19 * Manager of first Indian book publishing house in London * Director of Dorabji Tata trust for 18 years and Co founder of center for the advancement of philanthropy * Books Published: * Creation of wealth * Touch of greatness * For the love of India JRD- Childhood * Born in Paris on July 29th 1904.
* Father: R. D. Tata Mother: Sooni * Educated in France, Japan and India.
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* He was a naughty youngster. Didn’t have a college education. * Developed his passion for aviation after watching his neighbor Louis Bleriot who was a pioneer in the field. A morale booster story of struggle, vision, love, patriotism, passion and patience of JRD Tata.
Story of man who saw aviation as future of national fortune in field of travel, tourism and war & peace. A man of principles who guided the government and societies to take greater interest in social service and long term beneficial programs. It describes how one man army JRD Tata with low industrial education outperformed many industrialist.The Book started with discretion about the family of JRD Tata and his ancestors. It gives an insight about culture and the values that were brought in India and how Indians responded with enthusiasm. It presents another example of Indian culture’s unique quality of acceptance on morality.
JRD-Youth * Served in the French Army for an year in 1925. * Seeing his talent was transferred to the office of the colonel. * Wanted to do his Engineering from Cambridge.
* Circumstances forced him to enter the family business at an early age of 21 years. * Through out his life he regretted not having done his college education.There is brief description of Jamsetji Tata who was the ideal person for JRD and his contribution to Tata family thinking for nation and long term vision.
Story moves on with information about Sir Dorab ji Tata and Ratan Tata and their hardship to save Tata industry for many years. Then comes the story of our industry captain JRD Tata. JRD did not go higher education and accused his father for it. He was the second child of Ratan Tata who married a French girl. He was born with silver spoon in mouth and got a chance to travel many parts of world in early edge.This imparted a very broad sense and knowledge about different culture and social values. .
….. and many more insight about the early life events. He was appointed as chairman of Tata industries in his early thirties and continue to serve it till his late eighties.
Then appointed Ratan Tata as his successor. When he took the charge of TATA it was 100 crore company and left it with 10000 crore company and presence in all sectors of business. JRD- The Trainee * He joined Tata group in 1925 as an unpaid apprentice. * He was mentored by John Peterson who was the Director in charge of Tata Steel. He spent 1 year in Jamshedpur to understand the working of their biggest business-Steel Manufacturing. * Death of RD Tata in 1926- Difficult time * 1929 – Surrendered French nationality * 1931- attached to Sir. Nowuroji( chairman ) He was very fond of skiing which brought him near to planes.
He brought India’s first aero plane and started first air service from Karanchi to Mumbai via Ahmadabad. His struggle to make it an internationally recognized airline is beautifully described by author. Finally government nationalized the airline started by the JRD and appointed him as chairman of it. This airline is known as Air India now.He served the board for 40 year without pay. JRD- Chairman * Director of Tata Steel- 1926 to 1938 * Mentored by Sir.
Sorabji Saklatvala who was the chairman. * youngest director of Tata steel * Became the youngest chairman of Tata Sons in 1938 * Longest serving chairman of 1938-1993 * Assigned independent heads * Tata group expanded into a conglomerate under his chairmanship His views towards politicians and his connections with them is described in very clear manner. Jawaharlal Nehru,Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahdur Shastri, Ballabh Bhai Patel was the big names in his friendliest and Morarji Desai was his strongest opponent.
There few interesting debates and events that makes this political relation salty and make a clear perception how he had struggled for his shareholders. At that time there was two names in Indian industry TATA and BIRLA, a chapter is devoted on comparison and contribution to Indian society. His contribution to Indian society and government was described in details. There are many points that make him as a great leader visionary and social entrepreneur. I am giving some points as example.
First scholarship for higher studies, establishment of IISC, IITs, IIM C, institute for social study, TIFR, nuclear project.One amazing point that entire TATA family owns only 1. 62% of the total TATA empire. JRD- The Pilot * Received his pilot license in 1929. The first Indian to do so.
* Took the Aga khan challenge in 1930. * Flew from Karachi to London. But had to return back from Alexandria due to some technical problems. * Had widespread knowledge about aviation. * His knowhow in aviation gave him the courage to venture in to air line business. * He laid the foundation of the aviation sector in India.
Air India – The beginning * Started off as Tata Aviation Service- a mail carrier. * The first flight from Karachi to Bombay was piloted by JRD himself. These flights were highly risky. * It improved the efficiency of the mail service and greatly reduced the time for delivery of mail. * From the beginning itself they focused on punctuality. * Slowly they moved in to passenger service. Initially they started by carrying individual passengers. * They expanded gradually.
A second route was started between Bombay and Calcutta. * During the war the facilities of the air service was used for the war cause. * Air India came in to being in 1946 after Tata Airlines became a public limited company. * Air India International was launched on 8th March 1948. The first international service was between Bombay and London.
* Soon the government started issuing licenses without any restrictions. * Just like JRD predicted Nationalization happened in 1953. * JRD continued as the chairman of Air India till 19 * It was the best period in the history of Air-India when JRD was at its helm.
JRD- The Professional * Spotting talent, attracting talent , holding on to talent * Got the apt professionals within 2 years * Started interdepartmental conference * Started Tata Administrative Service for management executives. * Good in time management. JRD- The Philanthropist Contributed to society – various Tata trusts like Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Sir Dorabji tata Trust… etc * Started Tata memorial Hospital- focused on medical research * Tata institute for fundamental research – cradle of India’s atomic energy. * Donated his own share of Tata Sons in 1944- started JRD Tata trust. JRD-The Citizen * Propagated family planning * 1970- family planning foundation of India * Advocated for presidential system in India * Supported dual party sytem * Initiated for school of population studies in association with TISS * Concerned about overcrowding of cities like Bombay Suggested Satellite city- Navi Mumbai * Suggested the rent act for Mumbai JRD- The Visionary * Bombay Plan * Nationalization of Aviation sector. * Predicted the importance of family planning. * He favored liberalization of industry which he believed will benefit the country. * He suggested the formation of the National Relief Fund which was accepted by the government.
JRD – The Friend * JRD maintained a cordial relationship with all his friends. * His friend circle included Prime Ministers, Company Directors , Labor Union Leaders to small children. JRD took the time off his busy schedule to reply to all. JRD’s – Achievements * Padma vibushan in 1957. * Guggenheim medal for aviation in 1988.
* Bharat Ratna in 1992. * UN population award in 1992 Conclusion Its really a great book to know about the TATA family and its great contribution to Indian Society. Things which I realized about the TATA is, * The leadership vision * Understanding the importance of social contribution * National interest. * Passion * Leadership * Social Responsibility * Persistence * Vision * Humility * Building Trust