04 December, 2020

Gandhi@150: When JRD Took The F(l)ight To Mahatma

When a proposed Britain trip by a group of Indian industrialists, led by JRD Tata, in 1945 was seen by many, including Gandhi, as a betrayal of India’s cause—the battle to free herself from the chains of slavery.

Gandhi@150: When JRD Took The F(l)ight To Mahatma

It was the first week of May, 1945. Hitler lay dead in his bunker, the Nazi jackboot fin­ally crushed. The all-consuming fire of World War II was slowly dying out across Europe. But a fire still burned in India as the freedom mov­ement hurtled towards what would be a violent end two years later. It was a time of hope, it was a time of des­pair. It was also a time of bitter acrimony.

Around that time, a group of Indian industrialists announced their pla­ns to visit Britain and the US to study the latest methods of industrial production and other scientific advancements. The team included Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, JRD to all who knew him. By then, JRD was already a famous name in India and abroad, the son of a Parsi father and French mother,  who, in 1929, became the first person to rec­eive a pilot’s licence issued in India. The man acknowledged as the father of India’s civil aviation was to achieve much more in the years.

The proposed Britain trip was seen by many, including Gandhi, as a betrayal of India’s...



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