Jamsetji Tata, in full Name Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, (born March 3, 1839, Navsari, Gujarat, India—Passed on May 19, 1904, Bad Nauheim, Germany), Indian philanthropist and entrepreneur who founded the Tata Group. His ambitious endeavors helped catapult India into the league of industrialized countries.
Nusserwanji Tata’s first child and only son, Jamsetji, was born into a Parsi family. In 1858, he graduated from Elphinstone College, Bombay (now Mumbai), and joined his father’s export-trading firm, which he helped establish in Japan, China, Europe, and the United States. Jamsetji founded a trading company in 1868 that later became the Tata Group. During the 1870s, he focused on cotton manufacturing and established mills in Nagpur, Bombay, and Coorla. His enterprises emphasized efficiency, improved labor protection policies, and introduced finer grades of fibre. In 1906, he planned for the development of the Bombay-area hydroelectric power plants that later became Tata Power.
Jamsetji organized the first large-scale ironworks in India in 1901, and six years later the Tata Iron and Steel Company (now Tata Steel) was formed. Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata (1859-1932) and Sir Ratanji Tata (1871-1932) led the Tata Iron and Steel Company to become the largest privately-owned steelmaker in India and the nucleus of a group of companies producing textiles, steel, and hydroelectric power, as well as chemicals, agricultural equipment, trucks, locomotives, and cement. Jamsetji’s other ventures include the Taj Mahal Palace, the first luxury hotel in India. Jamsetji’s family retained control of the Tata Group after his death in 1904 and built it into a global conglomerate by the early 21st century, including more than 100 companies.
Jamsetji was a noted philanthropist who established the J. N. Tata Endowment in 1892, which encouraged Indian students to pursue higher education. In 1898 he donated land for a research institute in Bangalore (Bengaluru), and his sons later founded the Indian Institute of Science there (1911). Tata became perhaps the most important private funder of technical education and scientific research in India.