J.R.D Tata – Industrialist, Aviator & Philanthropist, a pioneer ahead of his time

As we remember the legacy of Mr. Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata on his 115th birth anniversary, we recall the first Anantharamakrishnan Memorial Lecture, he delivered in 1969 after receiving the first Business Leadership Award of the Madras Management Association (MMA).

The MMA-Amalgamations Business Leadership Award was instituted by our Former Chairman, Mr. A. Sivasailam in memory of his father the late S. Anantharamakrishnan, Founder of the Amalgamations Group. The award is presented once in two years to an Indian business leader, adjudged as outstanding by a panel of eminent jurors forming the selection committee. The awardee also delivers the Anantharamakrishnan Memorial Lecture at the award function.

Mr. J.R.D Tata, fondly known to his friends as ‘Jeh’ was an aviator, entrepreneur and chairman of the TATA Group. He founded India’s first commercial airline and later came to be known as the ‘Father of Indian Civil Aviation’.

The lecture was a testament to Mr. Tata’s foresight and vision. He said that public and private sector industries had obligations to the community far wider than the mere discharge of their primary functions and the formidable challenge of the seventies demanded an involvement and identification of organized industry with the life and problems of the community to which it belonged. He called upon businessmen and industrialists to set up high ethical standards through better trade practices and by seeking in new ideas and new concepts consistent with the changing values of a fast paced world.

He described the late Mr. S. Anantharamakrishnan as an individual endowed with rare qualities and said that no man did more to promote the industrial development of South India. Comparing
him with Mr. Jamsetji Tata, he said “Although he and Jamsetji Tata lived nearly a century apart, there was much in common in their approach to business and to their philosophy.”

Interestingly, the last recipient of the MMA-Amalgamations Business Leadership Award was
Mr.Ratan Tata, Executive Chairman-Emeritus, Tata Sons Ltd.

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