Tata Success Story Is Based On Humanity, Philanthropy And Ethics
Subject:Tata Success Story Is Based On Humanity, Philanthropy And Ethics
According to ancient history, a grouping of seven islands comprising Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Woman's Island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga-Sion formed a part of the kingdom of Ashoka the Great of Magadh, ironically in North India.
The Bhaiyyas and Biharis whom the Thackerays accuse of being outsiders in Mumbai, come from the region, which was a part of Ashoka’s empire.. We judge everything according to history and the history of Mumbai proves that its earliest known ownership was with a North Indian.
The seven islands of Mumbai passed through many hands, the sultans of Gujarat, the Portuguese and the British. Every ruler left behind proof of residence in Mumbai.
The Mauryans left behind the Kanheri, Mahakali and the caves of Gharapuri, more popularly called Elephanta. The Sultans of Gujarat built the Dargahs at Mahim and Haji Ali, while the Portuguese built the two Portuguese churches, one at Prabhadevi and the other St Andrews at Bandra.
They also built forts at Sion, Mahim, Bandra and Bassien. The Portuguese named the group of seven Islands 'Bom Baia', GoodBay. The British built a city out of the group of seven islands and called her Bombay.
The original settlers of the seven islands, the Koli fishermen, worshiped Mumbadevi, her temple still stands at Babulnath near Chowpatty. The Kolis called the island Mumbai, 'Mumba, Mother Goddess'.
In 1662, King Charles II of England married the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza, and received the seven islands of Bom Baia as part of his dowry. Six years later, the British Crown leased the seven islands to the English East India Companyfor a sum of 10 pounds in gold p.a. It was under the English East India Cothat the future megapolis began to take shape. After the first war of independence, Bombay once again became a colony of theBritish Empire.
History has forgotten this but the first Parsi settler came to Bombay in 1640, he was Dorabji Nanabhoy Patel. In 1689-90, a severe plague epidemic broke out in Bombay and most of the European settlers succumbed to it. The Siddi of Janjira attacked in full force. Rustomji Dorabji Patel, a trader and the son of the city's first Parsi settler, successfully defeated the Siddi with the help of the Kolis and saved Bombay.
Gerald Aungier, Governor of Bombay built the Bombay Castle, an area that is even today referred to as Fort. He also constituted the Courts of law. He brought Gujarati traders, Parsi shipbuilders, Muslim and Hindu manufacturers from the mainland and settled them in Bombay.
During a period of four decades the city of Bombay took shape. Reclamation was done to plug the breach at Worli and Mahalakshmi, Hornby Vellard was built in 1784. The Sion Causeway connecting Bombay to Salsette was built in 1803. Colaba Causeway connecting Colaba island to Bombay was built in 1838. A causeway connecting Mahim and Bandra was built in 1845.
Lady Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, the wife of the First Baronet Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy donated Rs 1, 57,000 to meet construction costs of the causeway. She donated Rs. 1,00,000 at first. When the project cost escalated and money ran out half way through, she further donated Rs 57,000 to ensure that the vital causeway was completed. Lady Jamsetjee stipulated that no toll would ever be charged for those using the causeway. Today Mumbaikars have to pay Rs 75/- to use the Bandra-Worli Sealink, connecting almost the same two islands. SirJJHospital was also built by Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy.
The shipbuilding Wadia family of Surat was brought to Bombay by the British. Jamshedji Wadia founded theBombayPort Trust and built the Princess Dock in 1885 and the Victoria Dock and the Mereweather Dry Docks in 1891. Alexandra Dock was built in 1914.
A Gujarati civil engineer supervised the building of the Gateway of India. TheTatasmade Bombay their headquarters and gave it the iconicTaj Mahal Hotel and India's first civilian airlines, Air India. The Godrejs gaveIndia its first vegetarian soap.
Cowasji Nanabhai Daver established Bombay's first cotton mill, 'The Bombay Spinning Mills' in 1854. By 1915, there were 83 textile mills in Bombay, largely owned by Indians.
This brought about a financial boom in Bombay. Although the mills were owned by Gujaratis, Kutchis, Parsis and Marwaris, the workforce was migrant Mahrashtrians from rural Maharashtra. Premchand Roychand, a prosperous Gujarati broker founded the Bombay Stock Exchange. Premchand donated Rs 2,00,000 to build the RajabaiTower in 1878.
Muslim, Sindhi and Punjabi migrants have also contributed handsomely to Mumbai.
Mumbai is built on the blood and sweat of all Indians. Which is why Bombay belongs to all Indians.
Apart from its original inhabitants, the Kolis, everyone else in Mumbai, including Thackeray's 'Marathi Manoos', are immigrants.
Tata success story is based on humanity, philanthropy and ethics
By Peter Casey Companies are traditionally organised on two lines - either to make money for their shareholders or, in idealised socialist theory, to deliver services for sections of the community. My book, The Greatest Company In The World? The Story of Tata, is a story about a truly unique company which was established to do both.
This company has not merely reformulated many of the business principles we have been taught for generations; it has turned them upside down. While many of its companies are publicly traded, the Tata Group has evolved from being a family-owned business to becoming one of the best-run and professionally-managed groups in the world.
Philanthropic Trusts control over 66% of the Tata holding company Tata Sons, while the Tata family is a very small shareholder. The owners are only one of four stakeholders Tata sets out to serve. In addition to the owners (which include shareholders) are employees, customers, and society itself. Society is what the company's leaders call the Fourth Stakeholder.
And it looms large, maybe largest, among all four. Society drove Jamsetji Tata when he built his first company more than a century ago. He did not use so abstract or neutral a term, however, but undertook his enterprise with the active mission of using it simply to make people's lives better.
As founder and Executive Chairman of Claddagh Resources, I initially decided to write this book to help my recruiters and executive search consultants have a better understanding of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) who over 14 years, had become my company's biggest client.
It was supposed to just be a short 15-page summary, but the more I started studying TCS and the Tatas, the more captivated I became. The project developed a life of its own. There are amazing companies and amazing stories, but none match the Tatas.
In 1869, Jamsetji converted a bankrupt oil mill for the production of cotton. It was a humble start, but he had grand visions of what India could become. He embraced the Zoroastrian religion's most central tenet: that the mission of the righteous person is not merely to live a good life, but to make life better for others. Whereas other successful capitalists and captains of industry started companies to create profit and thereby wealth, Jamsetji planted the seeds of philanthropic trusts which now own two thirds of the Tata Group.
(In photo: Jamsetji Tata)
In harmony with his religion, Tata's company would exist to finance and initiate projects to improve the lives of the people of India. So Jamsetji became not only a catalyst for sweeping change in his vast homeland, but, in the process, conceptualised an entirely new way of doing business as well as philanthropy. What he began has changed the lives of billions, as the company he founded continues to work for the betterment of society.
In the words of Jamsetji: "We think we started on sound and straightforward business principles, considering the interests of the shareholders our own, and the health and welfare of the employees, the sure foundation of our success." We are now living in a world where the richest 85 people own more than the 3.5 billion poorest.
Currently, 99% of the wealth is owned by less than 1% of the people and if all the wealth in the world were divided into all the people in the world, everyone would be a millionaire. I am an unapologetic capitalist but I have now realised that there is a different way for capitalism to succeed - the Tata way.
The spectacle of an enterprise as highly moral as it is profitable is rare in a society which has grown accustomed to thinking of business success as a zero-sum game, in which my triumph requires your defeat.
(In photo: Jamsetji Tata with his family)
Success that follows a zero-sum formula is incompatible with a Fourth Stakeholder. But Jamsetji Tata and those who followed him never used that formula. They reformulated the criteria of business success, and made humanity, philanthropy, and ethics not adjuncts to profit, but its very core. Tata companies continually aspire to better ethics, just as they are committed to better business practices.
The two are not only quite compatible; they are essential to one another. The company has not merely reformulated many of the business principles we have been taught for generations - it has turned them upside down.
Instead of specialising, Tata has ventured into an array of unrelated industries and has become a world leader in several - from steel, chemicals and IT to hotels, energy, automobiles and insurance. In fact, it is easier to think of an industry that Tata is not involved in than to list those that they are.
A diversified global enterprise, philanthropic at its core, the company shares profits with employees, shareholders and the societies in which they live and work. The most senior Tata managers don't live in sprawling and multiple mansions, as so many American and European CEOs do, but in modest apartments and homes. The guiding principle for everyone at Tata is sharing the wealth.
My top three heroes - people who actually and positively changed the world we live in - are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Jamsetji Tata. Jamsetji's legacy, like the other two, continues to change people's lives for the better on a daily basis. In business terms, he founded the greatest company in the world.
(The writer is founder chairman of Claddagh Resources, a global recruitment firm. He is also a business columnist with Ireland's largest-selling newspaper The SundayIndependent.)