Who isn’t entranced by the Tata legacy? A business conglomerate that started in the pre-independence era and stayed relevant, made an indelible mark on the citizens of this country and contributed to its development trajectory. ‘#Tatastories – 40 Timeless Tales to Inspire You’ by Harish Bhat is an intriguing and intuitive peek into this establishment through interesting anecdotes and key insights.
This book is a collection of 40 inspiring stories – little-known stories about the Tata family members and business leaders associated with them and lesser-known facts about their projects and brands. I am sure Harish Bhat’s experience of working with the Tatas gave him the edge to bring forth these stories in a distinctive way.
We remember Jamsetji Tata as a pioneer, a legend who founded the base for a formidable business establishment that we see today. However, the stories outside the purview of business strategies reveal the philanthropic values nurtured by the Tatas over the years.
Some really fascinating stories await you in this book like the beginnings of Air India, the creation of Maharaja Man – the popular Indian hospitality mascot, the launch of Tata Indica, and many more. I was glad that these stories weren’t a chronicle on Tata history but an interesting amalgamation of anecdotes, letters, and personal accounts that build the larger picture on ethics, professionalism, and human values within the business ambit of the Tatas.
‘#Tatastories – 40 Timeless Tales to Inspire You’ by Harish Bhat is a book intended to inspire the present and future generations, enlightening us about this pioneering business giant and even mentioning the dreams that never came to fruition. Once you finish reading the stories, it is a bonus to read Harish Bhat’s journey of writing this book.
About the book
The Tatas have a legacy of nation-building over 150 years. Dancing across this long arc of time are thousands of beautiful, astonishing stories, many of which can inspire and provoke us, even move us to meaningful action in our own lives.
A diamond twice as large as the famous Kohinoor pledged to survive a financial crisis; a meeting with a ‘relatively unknown young monk’ who later went on to be known as Swami Vivekananda; the fascinating story of the first-ever Indian team at the Olympics; the making of India’s first commercial airline and first indigenous car; how ‘OK TATA’ made its way to the backs of millions of trucks on Indian highways; a famous race that was both lost and won; and many more.
J.R.D. Tata was the founder of Tata Airlines, which went on to become Air India. Way back in the 1940s and 1950s, this airline was the first Indian global entity, proudly taking the Indian flag to international skies. In 1948, Air India inaugurated its first international service, from Mumbai to London, a proud moment for the country.
J.R.D. was determined to make Air India the best airline in the world, notwithstanding the fierce competition from a host of other global airlines. For him, this was essential, because Air India was not just an airline, but a proud carrier of India’s image across the world. During the inaugural international flight, on which he also flew, he watched carefully for the reactions of passengers, and was greatly relieved when everything went very well, including landing in London right on time. He said, ‘It was for me a great and stirring event . . . seeing the Indian flag displayed on both sides of the Malabar Princess [the name of that particular aircraft] as she stood proudly on the apron at the airports of Cairo, Geneva and London filled me with joy and emotion.’
Thereafter, he was obsessed with making the airline special, and he knew that this required the highest standards of customer service and excellence. He told the airline’s employees, ‘I want that the passengers who travel with us do not have occasion to complain. I want to establish that there is no airline which is better liked by passengers, that is safer and more punctual, where the food and service is better, and which sets a better image than Air India.’
(Excerpted with permission from #TataStories by Harish Bhat, Penguin Portfolio)
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About the Author
Harish Bhat, currently the brand custodian at Tata Sons has held many roles in the Tata Group over the past thirty-four years, including as managing director of Tata Global Beverages, and chief operating officer of the watches and jewellery businesses of the Titan Company Ltd.
Harish is an alumnus of BITS Pilani and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA). He won the IIMA gold medal for scholastic excellence, and later the British Chevening Scholarship for young managers. In 2017, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from BITS Pilani.
An avid marketer, he has helped create many successful Tata brands. He writes extensively and is a columnist for The Hindu Business Line and Mint. In 2019, Linkedin selected him as one of their top voices in India.
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