Friday, March 17, 2017

Do as the Tatas do

The Tata Properties exhibition, which opens to the public today in the city, is a must visit to acquaint yourselves with the family’s spirit of entrepreneurship and philanthropy.


Visitors at the Tata Properties exhibition which was inaugurated on Saturday at Tata Central Archives

If the contribution of the Parsi community, the Tata family in particular, to the country’s economy, architecture and philanthropy is to be measured, then a visit to the Tata Properties exhibition is a must. The exhibition, which was inaugurated by Ishaat Hussain, director, and Farokh N Subedar, Chief Operating Officer, Tata Sons, on October 8, will be open to the public from today (Monday) at Tata Central Archive, off Mangaldas Road, Pune.

The exhibition, which showcases over 100 photographs of the properties from 1822 to 1965, is in many ways an eye-opener to the entrepreneurial spirit of Jamsetji Tata and his family, who moved to the then Bombay from Navsari and their commitment to usher in industrial revolution in the country. Besides, the panels put up at the Archive indicate that the Tata family moved like nomads in Bombay, staying in different parts of the city. This helped the family identify various areas, which could further their cause in industry and nation building.

The panels also provided information on the various enterprises which Jamsetji and his sons took up. They failed in some, while some enterprises flourished. But what we do gather is that their entrepreneurial spirits never flagged.

The exhibits also provide a dekko into the rituals of the Parsi community, the way they dressed and, of course, the way they lived. The prominent exhibits include the Bombay House, Esplanade House and its interiors which have a Louis VI drawing room and Japanese drawing room.

There are information plaques which outline the family’s commitment to education. For instance, Ratanbai Bamji donated Rs 1,00,000 for a building for the Zorastrian Girls’ School Tehran in memory of her father, Nusserwanji Ratanji Tata. In 1912, Sir Ratan Tata made an offer of financial help to the University of London for instituting a Chair (professorship) to investigate and research causes of destitution and poverty. Sir Ratan made an annual grant of 1,400 pounds from 1913-21.

The Tatas also have had a few properties in Pune. For instance, Sir Dorabji Tata and Sir Ratan Tata donated
Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively, in 1916-17 for the proposed building of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in then Poona. The Hall, which was completed in 1917, still stands today as part of the main building. Then, there’s Gladhurst on Bund Garden Road bought by Sir Dorabji Tata, which had exquisite interiors, extensive grounds and maintained gardens. It is currently known as ‘Dutch Palace’ and is owned by Edward Pereira.

At the exhibition, which will continue for three months, you will find more such information, inspiring you to ‘give back to society’.

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