Great People Live On

“If I have, any merit, it is getting along with individuals, according to their way and characteristics… At times it involves suppressing yourself.  It is painful but necessary… to be a leader you have got to lead human beings with affection.”

                                                                                         J.R.D. Tata
                                                                          (July 29, 1904 – Nov 29, 1993)

 

He was the most famous industrial pioneer in modern India.  Popularly known as ‘Jeh’ or ‘JRD’ — J.R.D. Tata’s dynamic leadership directing the huge Tata Group of Companies, and his contributions to founding many famous institutions of higher learning and charity-centers can never be forgotten.  A glimpse into the lives of men like J.R.D. Tata is a lesson by itself.  To put to use the well-practiced theories of stalwarts like him can redesign our life-journeys.

 

“If I have, any merit, it is getting along with individuals, according to their way and characteristics…”  These simple words are a walking-proof of a wizard, who was full of humility and resilience.  Regarded as the father of Indian Civil Aviation and receiver of a host of awards, including the Padma Vibhushan in 1957, (India’s second highest civilian honour), Bharat Ratna in 1992 (Gem of India is India’s highest civilian award awarded for the highest degrees of national service) for his service to industry and nation, The Guggenheim Medal for Aviation in 1988:  which ever were the laurels bestowed upon J.R.D. Tata, he  was far removed from the images of power and pride, or, extravagance in life-style.  J.R.D. Tata’s essential motives always remained to maintain high ethical standards in his business.  His distinct concern was the health and environment of his many companies, always.  How magnificently he recognized that a type of a creative endeavour… an exacting exercise was required to manage the teams consisting people of different viewpoints and temperaments!  He said, “At times it involves suppressing yourself.  It is painful but necessary… to be a leader you have got to lead human beings with affection.”  The visual here is of a captain who must have put to use extraordinary patience while looking at some very absurd and illogical developments.  Side by side, the milk of human-kindness flowed in his veins.  Many in his larger-than-life position and status could have proved in more senses than one rigid and over bearing.  To have handled individuals according to their “way and characteristics… at times it involves suppressing yourself,” describes J.R.D. Tata’s notable tact, diplomacy and intelligence.  Great men and leaders know the norms of retreating, equally, as much as they know the measures of advancing.  I think it is a matter of culture, too… democratic culture instilled in them as they play their model-roles, and scope the business-scenes.

 

To most of us, the groves of others look richer and greener than our own!  This is quite a fault with us.  Among the growing fruits and flowing springs that appear truly the sweetest are those like the ones evidently linked with dynamic personalities who are in J.R.D. Tata’s league.  To get our bearings right, we should invite ourselves to a study-tour of their struggles.  Great men fought great battles to reach their goals.  Nothing came easy to any of them except hard-work and the guts to face challenges outstandingly.  In short, how can there be any free lunches for anyone!  More so, not for the grandmasters.

 


Geeta Chhabra

 

 
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