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Issue No.: 573 | March 2015
 

Thank God for the TATA’s – A Tribute

Lakshmi Mittal
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I visited Jamshedpur over the weekend to see for myself an India that is fast disappearing….

It is one thing to talk and quite another to do and I am delighted to tell you that Ratan Tata has kept alive the legacy of perhaps India’s finest industrialist, J.N. Tata…

I was amazed to see the extent of corporate philanthropy and this is no exaggeration. For the breed that talks about corporate social responsibility and talks about the role of corporate India, a visit to Jamshedpur is a must. Go there and see the amount of money they pump into keeping the town going; see the smiling faces of workers in a region known for industrial unrest; see the standard of living in a city that is almost isolated from the mess in the rest of the country.

This is not meant to be a puff piece. I have nothing to do with Tata Steel, but I strongly believe the message of hope and the message of goodness that they are spreading is worth sharing. The fact that you do have companies in India which look at workers as human beings…

In fact, I asked Mr. Muthuraman, the Managing Director, as to why he was so quiet about all they had done and all he could offer in return was a smile wrapped in humility, which said it all…

You could have been in the mountains. Such was the quality of air I inhaled! There was no belching smoke, no tired faces and so many more women workers, even on the shop floor….

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata had created an edifice that is today a robust company and it is not about profits and about valuation. It is not about who becomes a millionaire and who doesn’t. It is about getting the job done with dignity and respect keeping the age-old values intact and this is what I learnt.

Very few people know that Jamshedpur has been selected as a UN Global Compact City, edging out the other nominee from India, Bangalore. Selected because of the quality of life, because of the conditions of sanitation and roads and welfare. If this is not a tribute to industrial India, then what is? Today, India needs several Jamshedpur’s but it also needs this Jamshedpur to be given its fair due, its recognition… 

Modern India is being built in Jamshedpur as we speak. An India built on the strength of core convictions and nothing was more apparent about that than the experiment with truth and reality that Tata Steel is conducting at Pipla.

Forty-eight tribal girls (yes, tribal girls who these corrupt and evil politicians only talk about but do nothing for) are being educated through a residential program over nine months. I went to visit them and I spoke to them in a language that they have just learnt: Bengali. Eight weeks ago, they could only speak in Sainthali, their local dialect. But today, they are brimming with a confidence that will bring tears to your eyes. It did to mine.

This was possible because I guess people like Ratan Tata and Muthuraman haven’t sold their souls to some business management drivel, which tells us that we must only do business and nothing else. The fact that not one Tata executive has been touched by the Naxalites in that area talks about the social respect that the Tata’s have earned.

The Tata’s do not need this piece to be praised and lauded.

My intent is to share the larger picture that we so often miss in the haze of the slime and sleaze that politics imparts. My submissions to those who use phrases such as "feel-good” and "India Shining” must first visit Jamshedpur to understand what it all means.

…Jamshedpur is an eye-opener and a role model, which should be made mandatory for replication. I saw corporate India actually participate in basic nation building, for when these tribal girls go back to their villages, they will return with knowledge that will truly be life-altering. Corporate India can do it but most of the time is willing to shy away…Tata Steel celebrated 100 years of existence in 2007. It isn’t just a milestone in this company’s history. It will be a milestone, to my mind of corporate transparency and generosity in this country.

JRD must be smiling wherever he is. And so must Jamshedji Nusserwanji. These people today have literally climbed every last blue mountain. And continue to do so with vigour and passion.

Thank God For the Tatas!

LAKSHMI MITTAL is an Indian steel magnate. 
He is the chairman and CEO of Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steel making company. 
Mittal owns 38% of Arcelor Mittal and holds a 34% stake in Queens Park Rangers Football Club.
This is an excerpt from the text available on the Net. 
Contributed by reader, Melanie Silveira, Pune
 
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