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Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata


Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata

Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata
Born 1856
Navsari, Gujarat
Died 1926
Paris, France
Occupation Industrialist
Spouse(s) Suzanne Brière
Children Rodabeh, Jehangir, Jimmy, Sylla and Darab

Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (R.D. Tata, 1856–1926) was a Parsi businessman who played a pivotal role in the growth of the Tata Group in India. He was the first cousin of Jamsetji Tata, a pioneering industrialist of India and the Founder of Tata Sons. He was one of the partners in Tata Sons founded by Jamshedji Tata. Ratanji is the father of JRD Tata.


  • Personal life 1
  • Opium trade 2
  • Director of Tata Steel 3
  • Death 4
  • References 5

Personal life

Ratanji was born in Navsari in Gujarat in 1856. He studied at the Elphinstone College in Bombay. After graduating, he took up a course in agriculture in Madras. He then joined his family trade in the Far East.

Ratanji was married at an early age to a Parsee girl from the Banaji family. However, she died childless not too long after the marriage and was left hopeless. Ratanji was in his forties when he remarried a French woman, Suzanne Brière, in 1902. This was considered revolutionary in his times and was not welcomed by everyone in the Parsi community. They had five children Rodabeh, Jehangir/JRD Tata, Jimmy, Sylla and Dorab.

Opium trade

Under the name Tata & Co, Ratanji ran an opium importing business in China, which was legal at the time.[1] In 1887, he and other merchants such as David Sassoon presented a petition on behalf of the opium traders to complain about a Hong Kong Legislative Council bill that threatened to affect their trade.[2]

Director of Tata Steel

Tata Steel was conceived and commissioned by Jamshedji Tata. However, Jamshedji died before the completion of the project. Ratanji played an important role in the completion of the Tata Steel Project along with Jameshdji's son Dorab and thus Tata Steel was established in Jamshedpur.

The Tatas supplied steel to the British during the First World War. However, after the war Tata Steel went through a difficult period in the 1920s as steel was dumped into India from Britain and Belgium. Ratanji, along with other directors successfully sought protection for the Indian steel industry from the colonial government of the day and steadied the operations of Tata Steel.


Ratanji died in 1926 at the age of 70. JRD Tata succeeded him as one of the permanent directors of Tata Sons. On his death Jamnalal Bajaj wrote: "If all businessmen in India would acquire half his love for things Indian, there is no reason why all our enterprises should not flourish."


  1. ^ From Parsee priests to profits: say hello to Tata
  2. ^ Legislative Council No. 21. Friday, 25 March 1887
  • A section of the Tata family tree from the Tata Central Archives
  • R.M. Lala Beyond The Last Blue Mountain

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