Jamsetji Tata Biography

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the renowned Indian industrialist and entrepreneur, is widely recognized as the “Father of Indian Industry”. He founded the Tata Group, which has grown to become India’s largest conglomerate company, operating in over 80 countries worldwide. Born into a family of Parsi Zoroastrian priests, Jamsetji Tata broke tradition and pursued his dreams of establishing an iron and steel company and a world-class educational institution. With his exceptional business acumen and compassionate nature, he not only achieved remarkable success but also prioritized the well-being of his employees. Jamsetji Tata’s visionary leadership and philanthropic endeavors have played a significant role in shaping India’s development.

Quick Facts

  • Indian Celebrities Born In March
  • Also Known As: Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, Jamshedji Tata
  • Died At Age: 65
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Hirabai Daboo
    • Father: Nusserwanji Tata
    • Mother: Jeevanbai Tata
    • Children: Dorabji Tata, Ratanji Tata
  • Born Country: India
  • Steel Philanthropists
  • Died on: May 19, 1904
  • Place of death: Bad Nauheim, Germany
  • Ancestry: Indian German
  • Notable Alumni: Elphinstone College
  • Founder/Co-Founder: Tata Group, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Tata Sons
  • Education: Elphinstone College

Childhood & Early Life

Jamsetji Tata was born on 3 March 1839 in a small town in South Gujarat, India. He came from a family of priests. Despite the expectations for him to become a priest, Jamsetji rebelled and set his sights on a different path. At the age of 14, he moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) and enrolled at Elphinstone College. He completed his education as a “Green Scholar” in 1858.


After graduating, Jamsetji joined his father’s trading firm. This was a turbulent time in India, as the country was still recovering from the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Despite the challenges, Jamsetji worked hard to establish the firm’s branches in Japan, China, Europe, and the United States. He traveled extensively, gaining valuable knowledge and experience. He realized the potential for Indian companies to compete with British-dominated industries.

In 1868, Jamsetji founded a trading company which would later become the Tata Group. He also bought a bankrupt mill and renamed it Alexandra Mill. He sold the mill two years later for a profit. Jamsetji had a strong interest in the textile industry and set up a cotton mill at Nagpur in 1874. He named the mill “Empress Mill” in honor of Queen Victoria being proclaimed the Empress of India in 1877. He also founded mills at Bombay and Coorla (Kurla). His enterprises were known for their efficiency, profitability, and labor-protection policies.

Jamsetji had four goals in life: setting up an iron and steel company, establishing a world-class learning institution, creating a unique hotel, and building a hydro-electric plant. He believed in the development of India through disciplined industrialization and the harnessing of the country’s finest minds. In 1892, he established the JN Tata Endowment, which provided opportunities for Indian students to pursue higher studies in England. One of his visions was realized with the inauguration of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay in 1903.


Jamsetji Tata donated land for a research institute in Bangalore in 1898. Although the institution was not established within his lifetime, it eventually became the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), regarded as India’s finest institution in its field. Jamsetji also made ambitious plans for a hydroelectric power plant and large-scale ironworks, but he passed away unexpectedly in 1904.

Jamsetji Tata is best remembered for founding the Tata Group, which is now India’s largest business group and multinational company. The group includes over 100 operating companies, such as Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Power, and Tata Chemicals. Jamsetji’s sons, Dorabji Tata and Ratanji Tata, took over the Tata Group after his death.

Jamsetji Tata married Hirabai Daboo while he was still in college. He had two sons, Dorabji Tata and Ratanji Tata. Jamsetji passed away on 19 May 1904 in Nauheim, Germany.

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