In History Today : Birth of J. R. D. Tata [ 29 July 1904 ]
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata was born on 29 July 1904 in Paris, France, the second child of Parsi father Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and his French wife, Suzanne “Sooni” Brière. He was a French-born Indian aviator and business tycoon. He was the former Chairman of Tata Sons. He became India’s first licensed pilot in 1929. In 1983, he was awarded the French Legion of Honour and, in 1992, India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
J. R. D. Tata His father was a first cousin of Jamsetji Tata, a pioneer industrialist in India. He had one elder sister Sylla, another younger sister Rodabeh and two younger brother Darab and Jimmy Tata. As his mother was French, he spent much of his childhood in France and as a result, French was his first language. He attended the Janson De Sailly School in Paris. One of the teacher’s at that school used to call him L’Egyptian for some strange reason. Tata also served in the French Foreign Legion for one year in the regiment Le Saphis during the Second World War. After he left the service the whole regiment perished on an expedition in Morocco.
JRD Tata died in Geneva, Switzerland on November 29, 1993 at the age of 89 due to Kidney Infection. On his death, the Indian Parliament was adjourned in his memory:— an honour not usually given to persons who are not Members of Parliament. He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.