J. R. D. Tata was born to an Indian Parsi family in Paris, France, on July 29, 1904. He was the second child born to Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, a businessman, and Suzanne "Sooni" Brière, a Frenchwoman. His father was the first cousin of India's founding industrialist, Jamsetji Tata. He had two younger brothers, Darab and Jamshed (called Jimmy) Tata, as well as two younger sisters, Rodabeh and Sylla. Sylla, his sister, wed Dinshaw Maneckji Petit, the third baronet of the Petit family. Rattanbai Petit, the sister-in-law of his sister, was married to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who eventually established Pakistan in August 1947.
Wadia. The Wadia Group's current chairman is Nusli. Jehangir Wadia and Ness Wadia are the offspring of Nusli and Maureen Waida. He spent a lot of his youth in France because his mother was French, hence French was his first language. He went to the Paris Janson De Sailly School. He used to go by the name L'Egyptien, according to one of the teachers there.
He went to Bombay's Cathedral and John Connon School. Tata received his education in India, France, Japan, and London. His father relocated the entire family to London when he started working for Tata. While his father was in India and his family was in France, J. R. D.'s mother passed away at the age of 43 at this time.
Tata started flying when he was on tour after being inspired by his friend's father, aviation pioneer Louis Blériot, the first person to fly across the English Channel. Tata acquired the first licence awarded in India on February 10th, 1929. Later, he earned the title "Father of Indian Civil Aviation". In 1932, he launched Tata Airlines, India's first commercial airline, which later changed its name to Air India in 1946 and is currently the country's flag carrier. Together, he and Nevill Vintcent built Tata Airlines. They were close buddies as well. One of the first Indians to receive a business licence was J. R. D. in 1929. Tata Aviation Service, the predecessor to Tata Airline and Air India, began flying in 1932.
In 1925, he began working at Tata Sons as an unpaid apprentice. Tata was appointed Chairman of Tata Sons in 1938 when he was 34 years old, taking control of India's largest industrial conglomerate. He succeeded his second cousin Nowroji Saklatwala in the position of Chairman of Tata Sons. He oversaw the sizable Tata Group of companies, which had significant interests in steel, engineering, power, chemicals, and hotels, for many years. He was renowned for building successful businesses while upholding strict moral principles and for never buying or selling illegally.
Tata won numerous accolades. He was given the honorary rank of group captain by the Indian Air Force in 1948, advanced to the level of air commodore on October 4, 1966, and then further advanced to the rank of air vice marshal on April 1, 1974. In addition to the Daniel Guggenheim Medal in 1988, he received the Gold Air Medal from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in 1985, the Edward Warner Award from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Canada in 1986, and the Tony Jannus Award in March 1979 for his contributions to aviation. In 1955, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan. He received the French Legion of Honour in 1983.
Tata received the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, in 1992 as a result of his altruistic humanitarian efforts. The Maharashtra government gave the Bharatratna JRD Tata Overbridge at Nasik Phata, Pimpri Chinchwad the name in his honour.
Tata expanded on these initiatives by ordering Tata Steel to build nine family planning centres in 1984. This came after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's infamous 1975–1977 Emergency, during which she advocated forced sterilisations as a method of population control. Sterilisation costs were covered for employees and their non-employee spouses, and factory plant departments were recognised for having the lowest fertility rates. Tata received the 1992 United Nations Population Award for his efforts, despite the fact that such incentives may have gone against the medical ethics precept of personal bodily autonomy.
Tata passed away from a renal infection on November 29, 1993, in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 89. Few days prior to his dying, he remarked, "Comme c'est doux de mourir" (English: "How gentle it is to die"). After his passing, the Indian Parliament was suspended in his honour, an honour rarely bestowed upon non-parlamentarians. He was laid to rest at Paris' Père Lachaise Cemetery.