Book Review

The Romance of Tata Steel by R.M.Lala

Truly one of India’s 20th and 21st Century industrial success story is of Tata Steel. The first time I read about them was in the earlier book of R.M.Lala “Creation of Wealth“, which was more of an overview of entire Tata Group. In his new book “The Romance of Tata Steel” Lala has focused only on Tata Steel. The author traces a hundred years and more of exciting history of Tata Steel—from men searching for iron ore and coking coal in jungle areas, traversing in bullock carts before the site was found, to the company’s modern status as a world-class company.

Though the writing style makes it appear like a Textbook, you can still enjoy it. You learn that though the initial crew of the plant in Jamshedpur was of a medley of nationalities, it worked well to a great extend  – the Crew of Steel works and superintendent were Germans, the English worked in the Ring Rolling Mills, Clerical Staffs were chiefly Bengalis and Parsis, a certain number of Austrians, Italians and Swiss worked in other departments, and the Chinese worked as carpenters and in pattern shop.  One of the interesting quotes in the book is made by R.D.Tata on 4th June 1925: “We are like men building a wall against the sea. It would be the height of folly on our part to give away any part of the cement that is required to make the wall secure. That is why we and you have to use this money … to build this great industry”

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For any entrepreneur like me, it is inspiring to read the innovative HR practices that Tata Steel has pioneered over the years. After finishing the book we are left with true admiration for the vision of Jamshedji Tata in setting up Tata Steel and Jamshedpur city.

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