A man who made a lot of wealth, and a lot more goodwill – The quotable Jamsetji Tata

These quotations by and on Jamsetji Tata, Founder of the Tata group, draw a vivid portrait of a visionary with a deep commitment to his country and its people

There is one kind of charity common enough among us… It is that patchwork philanthropy which clothes the ragged, feeds the poor, and heals the sick. I am far from decrying the noble spirit which seeks to help a poor or suffering fellow being… [However] what advances a nation or a community is not so much to prop up its weakest and most helpless members, but to lift up the best and the most gifted, so as to make them of the greatest service to the country.


Be sure to lay wide streets planted with shady trees, every other of a quick-growing variety. Be sure that there is plenty of space for lawns and gardens. Reserve large areas for football, hockey and parks. Earmark areas for Hindu temples, Mohammedan mosques and Christian churches.
Jamsetji Tata in a letter to son Dorab about his vision for the township that would eventually become Jamshedpur.

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‘Wealth came to him in full measure, but he remained to the last what he was in nature, a simple modest gentleman, seeking neither title nor place, and loving with love that knew no bounds the land that gave him birth.’

– Sir Lawrence Jenkins (chief justice of Bombay High Court, 1905)

Those who know about him would wholeheartedly agree that these words precisely summarize what Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata embodied as a person. A great industrialist and philanthropist, he left his mark on India’s industrial history as well as on the soil of Nagpur by establishing the Empress Mills on January 1, 1877, the same day Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. He also went on to establish the first girls school of the city in the form of JN Tata Parsi Girls’ High School.Tuesday marks the 175th birth anniversary of JN Tata.

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One comment

  • For those who have not read Jamsetji’s biography by Frank Harris, it is highly recommended that they do.
    .
    It is over a 100 years since Jamsetji died. I have yet to come across another Indian who has made contributions to the cause of the country which come anywhere near those of Jamsetji.

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