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Entrepreneurs as Freedom Fighters: Remembering the Tatas after 65years of Independence

15th Aug 2012
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We are celebrating freedom today on this momentous occasion of the 65th Independence Day of India. It is but necessary to look back at some of the contributions of entrepreneurs in building India as it is known today. Entrepreneurs are said to be freedom fighters of their own rank by breaking the barriers of the conventional thinking taking risks, making bets and being anti-feudalistic which in turn has led to nation building over the years. By becoming job providers instead of being job seekers, has enabled entrepreneurs to always add to the growth of the Indian economy. One such company and entrepreneurial group that has led nation building during the crucial years of post-Independence India is Tata Enterprise.


Led by industrious leaders, the company was started by Jamsetji Tata hailing from a Parsi family of priests. As a young man of 20, just out of college, with a nationalistic outlook, he set out on his journey of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship was definitely an answer to the repression in the hands of the British rulers along with the widespread poverty in present in colonial India. With this stage set by Jamsetji Tata, it was Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata who took upon himself to contribute to the building of post-colonial India with great emphasis on industrialization at the age of 34 as the youngest chairman of Tata in 1938. J.R.D Tata was one of the seven architects of the Bombay Plan of 1945 which was a precursor to the Five Year Plans initiated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1950. The steel needed to build the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata, the Bhakra Nangal project, the Damodar Valley Corporation and many more important projects were supplied by Tata steel apart from providing employment in a colonialism hit country seeking new avenues for employment. Jamshedpur even today owes its development to the efforts put forth by the Tata Enterprise.Being India’s first pilot, J.R.D.Tata established Air India International as India's first international airline placing India on the International map of the aviation industry. J.R.D as he is fondly called even today is remembered for being a man who treated all equally. Clearly setting an example for many entrepreneurs even today, J.R.D was a person who lunched with all the workers in the same lunch room having conversations and personal interactions with most of them till the end of his career.


Initiatives such as Leave with Pay, the Workers’ Provident Fund Scheme, the Workmens’ Accident Compensation Scheme, Maternity Benefits, Eight-Hour Working Days, Free Medical Aid, Retirement Gratuity and Profit Sharing Bonus were introduced by Tata Steel long before laws were enforced by the government setting the benchmark for several human resource policies followed by companies today.As pioneers of their own rank, Jamshedji Tata and J.R.D Tata are remembered even today for bringing about revolutionary changes in the country even as entrepreneurs by having a vision with missionary zeal. With the efforts of great freedom fighters, India won her independence on August 15, 1947. Entrepreneurs empowered this freedom giving the economy a boost apart from setting up an equal ground for the employers and workers alike, giving rise to another flowering ecosystem. Colonial powers across the globe went on a rampage stealing countries not just of their resources but of their confidence and self-respect. Restoring this confidence and respect back to the people, it is entrepreneurs like these along with great leaders who have built back one of the oldest civilizations in the history of mankind.

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