JRD or Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata died on November 29, 1993. Or did he? The way his legacy has infused the Tata group, it is as if he is still a living breathing presence, even 17 years after he passed away in Geneva. The consummate pioneer, he was the father of Indian aviation. Air India was his, before Morarji Desai nationalized it – a move that many feel led to its ruin.
At the age of 34, he became Chairman of Tata Sons, the holding Company of the Tata Group. For decades, J R D directed the huge Tata Group of companies.. He was famous for succeeding in business while maintaining high ethical standards: refusing to bribe politicians or use the black market. Under J R D's Chairmanship, the number of companies in the Tata Group grew from 15 to over 100. Monetarily, the assets of Tata group grew from Rs 620 Million to over Rs 100 Billion.
He was awarded the Legion d'honneur, by the French Government in 1954. In 1979, Tata was the recipient of the Tony Jannus Award for his distinguished contributions to commercial aviation. He also received the prestigious Guggenheim Medal for aviation in 1988. He was conferred India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his service to industry and nation building. In the same year, he was also bestowed with the United Nations Population Award for his crusading endeavors towards initiating and successfully implementing the family planning movement in India, much before it became an official government policy.