Ratan Tata on his 83rd birthday: The man beyond business

As the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons celebrates his birthday today, YS Weekender takes a look at Ratan N Tata's passion and interests beyond business.
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Ratan Naval Tata needs no introduction. The industrialist single-handedly put India and Tata Group on the global map. However, there is more to him than just being a veteran industrialist, a philanthropist, business leader, and an investor.

As the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Tata Industries, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, and Tata Chemicals, celebrates his birthday today, YS Weekender takes a look at Ratan N Tata - the man beyond business, on his 83rd birthday.

Mr. Ratan Naval Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons and Chairman of the Tata Trusts.

Connecting with the youth

Ratan Tata's appeal with the youth of India is enthralling. The industrialist joined Instagram last year in October, and now has over 3 million followers on the photo-sharing platform. On Twitter too, the Chairman Emeritus is followed by 9.2 million people from across the globe.

Ratan Tata uses Instagram to connect with the youth through AMAs (Ask Me Anything), shares images and experiences of his yesteryears, and talks of his love and compassion for dogs.

Earlier this year, Ratan Tata had a conversation on YS TV live session with YourStory Media Founder and CEO, Shradha Sharma. Mr Tata later posted on Instagram:

"I have always enjoyed the company of the spirited and enthusiastic youth of the country. Their energy is truly infectious, and they make me feel like I haven’t aged at all. Today’s webinar with 33,000 young minds was one of the most energising conversations I have had in a while. I wish them all the very best in their own journeys and hope they contribute to making India one of the global economic powerhouses."

Trivia: The session saw over 36,000 registrations, the largest garnered for a live broadcast on YourStory till date.

Shantanu Naidu's personal account of working with Ratan Tata is another instance displaying his connection with the youth.

Flying high

Ratan Tata is a trained pilot. The owner of Dassault Falcon 2000 private jet posted an image of himself on his last birthday, climbing down a F18 Super Hornet at the Bangalore Aero Show, with a smile on his face.

He wrote:

"It is not just the end of a year, but the end of a decade too. I look forward with excitement to the new decade ahead, which is a great time to be relevant, to stand for causes you believe in, to create something from scratch, make special connections, laugh, and write a little bit of history. Here’s one of my favorite moments from this decade, flying the F18 Super Hornet at the Bangalore Aero Show."

Ratan Tata says that JRD Tata and he shared "a deep passion and interest in aviation."

Love for dogs

Ratan Tata has always been very vocal about his love for fur-friends. Last year, he took to Instagram to talk about his German Shepherd- Tito. He wrote, "I still come home to two kind souls and meet so many others in and around the office."

In fact, he has often turned to social media to find families for homeless dogs. Back in March, Ratan Tata posted about Sur, with the hope of finding her a home. "I truly wait for the day when we no longer have to do this again," he wrote.

Artistic instincts

While Mr Tata has been vocal about his love for dogs and passion for flying and technology, not many know about his love for painting and playing the piano.

In a candid interview with Shradha Sharma, Mr Tata revealed that he even bought an electronic piano. When asked about painting and piano lessons, Mr Tata said:

"The first (painting), I never got involved in; the second (relearning to play the piano), I actually made progress. I found a piano teacher and I enjoyed what happened. But there's a lot of practice that goes into it and a lot of hard work which I didn't have the tenacity to do. And that's something that I regret enormously. Because that would have been another thing. Just like the architectural design.”

Ratan Tata studied architecture and structural engineering at Cornell University.

Empathy and kindness

Ratan Tata has always been a preacher of empathy and kindness. He has been vocal about purpose and ethics while conducting business.

Additionally, Ratan Tata has also supported underprivileged children fulfill their dreams, and Indian weavers and artisans.

Recently, Ratan Tata has been awarded the Global Visionary of Sustainable Business and Peace Award by the Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce (FIICC) for epitomising 'Unity, Peace, and Sustainability.'

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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