The Man Who Made India Fly

- July 28, 2020

Illustration: Souren Roy Have you ever looked up in the sky and seen an Air India plane soar through the skies? While strolling through shopping malls, have you ever come across a Lakmé store? Have you ever heard about TISS? If your answer is yes to any one of these questions, then you’re about to read about the man who made all of this possible – Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata.  Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was born to Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and Suzanne Briere in Paris on July 29th, 1904. In Persian, the name ‘Jehangir’ meant ‘Conqueror of the World’. J.R.D. Tata’s fate was sealed right at his birth.  Did You Know? For some odd reason, one of Jehangir’s teachers would call him L’Egyptien which is French for The Egyptian. In his early years, J.R.D. Tata studied at the Janson De Sailly School in Paris. He was a bright student who was ahead of his peers. The syllabus did not excite him. Being born in Paris, Jehangir was more fluent in French than in English. Young Jehangir was also quite the prankster. From a young age itself, he was fascinated by planes and wanted to become a pilot himself. His passion to become a pilot was so strong that during the First World War, he would see zeppelins soar in the sky and wish he was born a couple of years early so that he could be a part of the war as a fighter pilot. Quite an unusual dream for an eight-year-old! Illustration: Souren Roy Years later, when Jehangir was all set to take admission at Cambridge University, he was denied admission due to a French Law that required all citizens to join the army for two years as soon as they turned 20. Jehangir had to postpone his dreams of pursuing higher education. There he served as a typist. Soon after, he had to journey back home to India. Jehangir joined the Tata group as an unpaid apprentice, working under the guidance of John Pe...

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