Train to Jamshedpur

Train to Jamshedpur: The story of Tata, India’s global giant

A BBC documentary in which Dr Zareer Masani tells the story of this 150-year-old Indian giant with a reputation for ethical capitalism.

India’s biggest industrial plant is hidden away in what were once the jungles of Bihar. Jamshedpur, named after its founder, Jamsetji Tata, is a four hour train journey away from Calcutta. And its remote location is the result of pioneering prospecting way back in the early 1900s, when the founder’s son and a small band of American engineers and geologists discovered rich deposits here of coal and iron ore.

CommentThey spent months travelling on horseback and camping in tents in forests still populated by tigers. My own trip was rather less arduous. The Gitanjali Express from Calcutta, named after a famous Tagore heroine, was as crowded and chaotic as any other Indian train. Even though our seats were reserved, we had to fight our way through a mad rush of other passengers and porters. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, we managed to squeeze ourselves and our very bulky BBC filming equipment on board. A middle-aged gentleman seated opposite was fascinated that BBC radio and television were both making documentaries about the House of Tata, India’s biggest business for a century and a half and now Britain’s largest manufacturer too. “Jamshedpur”, he assured us, “is still the cleanest city in India, and that’s because it’s run by Tata and not some corrupt elected municipality. You won’t see even a dead leaf on the streets, let alone rubbish.”

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Courtesy: Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman of Secunderabad and Hyderabad

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