a journalist with the ‘Bombay Gazette’ Dorabji
gradually grew a liking for his ancestral business, and it
was in 1884 that he finally made his first entry into his
father’s business and joined the cotton division of
his father’s firm. He was sent to Mysore to study and
investigate the possibility of an expansion in the area.
Dorabji was swift in preparing his report and getting the
Government sanction to set up mills there.
Jamsetji wished him to meet the learned and highly esteemed
Dr. H.J. Bhabha who stayed there with his daughter Meherbai.
When he met Meher as she was called then, he is believed to
have fallen in love at first sight. Their marriage was solemnized
in 1897 when he was 38 and Meherbai was just 18.
While into the family business, Sir Dorabji worked for the
realization of his father’s vision. He always wished
to give life to his father’s dreams. In assistance with
his cousin R.D. Tata, the abiding son got closely involved
in materializing the project that his father had initiated.
Thus began the saga of creating a modern iron and steel industry
and the result was Tata Steel.
New challenges and difficulties would always be a source
of inspiration for Dorabji. With his spirits high, he took
on his shoulders the responsibility of powering the industries
with hydroelectricity. And soon he was, credited for the establishment
of ‘Tata Power’. The two prime companies established
by him ‘Tata Steel’ and ‘Tata Power’
are an integral part of the Tata Group industries today.
Dorabji had always been the motivating force behind every
member of his team. Along with others, he too would get intensely
involved in every aspect of the project that he would handle.
His inquisitiveness and interest in every detail was so intense
that he even accompanied the researchers and scientists who
traveled to the mineral fields in search of iron. He encouraged
researchers to survey every part of the field and made sure
no portion is left unattended.
Under the leadership of Dorabji Tata, the Tata Group experienced
immense expansion. From just three cotton mills and the Taj
Hotel Bombay, the firm spread its wings rapidly and soon grew
to become the largest private sector steel company. To name
a few additions that were made under his management includes
an integrated steel plant, three hydroelectric power companies,
a large edible oil and soap company, two cement companies
and also the aviation unit pioneered by JRD Tata. Dorabji
also saw the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore, which became the pioneer scientific research centre
Dorabji had an enduring love for sports. He took measures
to enhance the athletic talent in India and also initiated
to introduce the nation to the ‘Olympic movement’.
Holding the position of the President of the Indian Olympic
Association, he financed the Indian contingent to the Paris
Olympiad in 1924. He also became a member of International
Dorabji Tata established the ‘Lady Tata Memorial Trust’
in fond memory of his wife Meherbai Tata who died of leukemia
in 1931. The trust was established in order to advance the
study into various diseases related to blood. In 1932, he
established a trust fund, which was to be used for the advancement
of research, for disaster relief and other humanitarian purposes.
This trust came to be known as the ‘Sir Dorabji Tata
Trust’. It is believed that Sir Dorabji had invested
all his assets and wealth into this trust.
Notable amongst his other deeds is the sizeable donation
he gave in the field of education. He donated a considerable
amount of money to the University of Cambridge for setting
up laboratory equipments in the School of Engineering and
also for the establishment of a Chair for Sanskrit studies
at the ‘Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute’,
Pune. Dorabji is also known to have presented many of his
paintings and artwork to the Prince of Wales Museum in Bombay.
The legend, Sir Dorabji Tata, who is known for his immense
contribution to the progress and well being of the Tata Empire,
breathed his last in Bad Kissingen, Germany on 3rd June 1932.
He is buried alongside his wife in the Brookwood Cemetery,