Jamsetji Tata, World's Most Charitable Person, Who Founded Rs 30 Lakh Cr Company With Just Rs 21,000

A look into the life of iconic business tycoon and philanthropist, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, who laid the foundation of Tata Group, which has a market value of Rs. 24 lakh crores.


By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:


Jamsetji Tata, World's Most Charitable Person, Who Founded Rs 30 Lakh Cr Company With Just Rs 21,000

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, commonly known as Jamsetji Tata, was born on March 3, 1839, in Navsari, in southern Gujarat. He was born in a respectable but poor Zoroastrian Persian (Parsi) family to his parents, Nusserwanji Tata and Jeevanbai Tata. While his father and other relatives were following the priestly tradition, it was Jamsetji, who decided not to become a Parsee priest and instead started a business from scratch.

Jamsetji Tata's parents supported him in his pursuit of becoming the first person in their family to try his luck in business. Nusserwanji Tata and Jeevanbai Tata knew that their son had a sharp mind and was blessed with special abilities in mental arithmetic right from an early age. However, no one was aware that Jamsetji would go on to build a conglomerate that would play a major role in India's development.

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Tata Group's Founder, Jamsetji Tata's educational background

Courtesy of his interest in academics, Nusserwanji Tata enrolled his son, Jamsetji Tata, in the prestigious Elphinstone College in Bombay (now Mumbai). It was in 1858 when Jamsetji passed as a 'green scholar' from Elphinstone College, a qualification equivalent to graduation today. After completing his formal education, Jamsetji joined his father, Nusserwanji's export-trading firm in 1858. It was a turning point in Jamsetji's life as he learned a lot of things about business after working with his father for almost nine years.

Jamsetji Tata started his company with a capital of Rs. 21,000 at the age of 29

It was the year 1868, and Jamsetji Tata was determined to finally put his business learnings into action. The then 29-year-old youngster started his own trading company with a capital of just Rs. 21,000. This is the same company that is currently known as Tata Group and is valued at around Rs. 30 lakh crores. After opening his trading company, Jamsetji went to England to learn more about the textile business.

Once Jamsetji Tata was confident of getting sound knowledge about the textile industry, he came back to Bombay and converted a bankrupt oil mill into Alexandra Mill in 1869. However, Jamsetji sold it after just two years for a significant profit. While people thought that Jamsetji's run in the textile industry ended after he sold Alexandra Mill, but no one knew that it was just the start of a glorious future.

Jamsetji Tata's Empress Mill changed the face of the Indian textile industry

After selling Alexandra Mill, Jamsetji Tata rested his eyes on Nagpur, which became the location of his next textile mill, Empress Mill. However, this time, things were a bit different as Jamsetji Tata had finalised a place that was equipped or close to cotton-growing areas, comfortable railway access and a series of other major factors that could cut the cost of his business. The idea was to challenge Bombay's monopoly as the textile hub in India.

In the coming years, Empress Mill not only became a direct competitor of the Bombay textile industry but also penned a new chapter in India's textile business. Apart from focusing on the product, Jamsetji Tata's commitment towards his workers helped him scale his business at an astonishing speed. From welfare initiatives to creating a suitable work environment for the employees, Empress Mill contributed heavily to nation-building.

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After creating a name in the textile business, Jamsetji Tata moved into the Iron and steel, hydroelectric power, and education sectors. From the 1880s until his passing on May 19, 1904, Jamsetji worked in establishing an iron and steel company, creating a hydroelectric power plant, and an educational institution equipped with world-class teachers. While his large-scale ironworks were incorporated as Tata Iron and Steel Company in the coming years, Jamsetji's hydroelectric power plant became Tata Power Company in 1906.

After Jamsetji Tata's demise, it was his sons, Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata and Sir Ratanji Tata, who took his manufacturing units to another level. In the education sector, it was back in 1892 when Jamsetji Tata established the J.N. Tata Endowment with the vision to encourage Indian students to pursue higher education.

Not only this but in 1898, Jamsetji Tata donated a massive amount of land in Bengaluru to establish a research institute. After years of work, in 1911, Jamsetji's sons established the institute by the name Indian Institute of Science.

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Jamsetji Tata is the world's most charitable man, not Shiv Nadar, Mukesh Ambani, Azim Premji, Bill Gates, or any other billionaire

According to a report by EdelGive Foundation and Huran Report, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata is the world's most charitable person in the last 100 years. As per both sources, Jamsetji Tata donated a sum of Rs. 829734 crores, which is around 102.4 billion USD.

The Founder of Tata Group, Jamsetji Tata is way ahead of some of the biggest multi-billionaires of the last century in terms of donation. The second on the list is Microsoft's Founder, Bill Gates, who reportedly donated Rs. 74.6 billion USD.

Further, on the list of the world's most charitable people, Warren Buffet is in third place with 37.4 billion USD, while George Soros is in fourth place with 34.8 billion USD. Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata topping the list of the world's most charitable people, speaks everything about his contribution to nation-building and why he is considered as one of the most important people in shaping the Indian economy.

What's even more beautiful is the way Jamsetji Tata inculcated the philosophy of charity in his family. Currently, Ratan Tata is the one, who is keeping their family's rich tradition of social welfare intact. We hope the coming generations of the Tata family will continue playing a major role in shaping the country's economy with their charitable projects.

What are your thoughts on Jamsetji Tata's massive contribution to different sectors in India? Let us know.

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