Birth, parentage and education
Jamsetjee Nusserwanji Tata was born in 1830 at Navasari, a town near Surat in then Bombay Presidency. His father was a Parsee businessman. He did not receive good education in his boyhood. After leaving school, he joined Elphinstone College in Bombay in 1856. There he read for two years only.
In 1859 he joined his father’s business office in Bombay. There he was trained in the methods of trade. Having mastered the details of business, he went to Hong-Kong. There his father had an office for carrying on trade with China. Jamsetjee was hard-working and intelligent, so he became a clever businessman. He returned to India in 1863. At this time, Cotton Industry was growing in India. Next year he sailed for England in order to open a bank. There he studied the manufacture of cotton goods in Manchester. After returning from England he started a small cotton mill in 1869, but this did not satisfy him. He sold it and again went to England. At this time, there were a few mills in Bombay, but they were old-fashioned. After his return, he selected Nagpur as the most suitable place for this new mill, and in 1877, the Nagpur Express Mill was started. It proved a great success. Soon he became a wealthy man.
His patriotic deeds
He was a great lover of his country. He wanted to do something really better for his countrymen. There was not much facility for the cultivation of science. It was due to his benevolence that the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore in Mysore (now Karnatak) State was founded. The Institute is now a great centre of scientific researches in India.
The Tata Iron and Steel Works at Jamshedpur is the greatest gift of Jamsetjee Tata for the growth of iron and steel industries in India. Thousands of Indians are employed here. We can now believe that India can manufacture her own iron and steel goods on a large scale.
Jamsetjee Tata was not a politician, but he gave away large sums of money for helping all patriotic movements. He helped gifted persons so that they might render the greatest service to the country. The Tata scholarships are awarded to the gifted but poor young men all over India.
Jamsetjee Tata had a large heart and a strong power of will. Though possessed of vast wealth he led a very simple life.
Towards the end of his life, his health broke down. He went to Europe for a change of air. There he died on the 19th of May, 1904.