Why did JRD Tata support the Indian Emergency?

The arrest of socialist labour leader, George ...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in The arrest of socialist labour leader, George Fernandes in 1976, one of the key accused in the Baroda dynamite case. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Sunil Kumar

JRD Tata was definitely old school; a generation of industrialists who pioneered change during the early years of independence; and a byproduct of the British Raj.

English: Airline bagagge label of Tata Sons/Ta...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: Airline bagagge label of Tata Sons/Tata Air Service/Tata Airlines as used in 1932. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This is not to undermine his contribution to Indian aviation etc; but you have to understand the social and political context of that time.

A very violent decade preceded 1975(Emergency); Naxalite movements, a great railway strike(20 days with 17 lakh workers) led by George Fernandes, Bihar and Gujarat student movements; and a nationwide civil disobedience agitation led by Jayprakash Narayan with its predictable epicenter in Delhi.

Tata fancied the Bombay of his youth; relatively uncrowded, sylvan surroundings, fewer people and comparitively efficient governance by the British. Most businessmen are impatient; and naturally self-interested; concerned with a stable political environment. JRD Tata’s aspirations for India had already been thwarted by successive Congress governments with their pseudo-socialist mantras; and the nationalization of Air India. So; I think this statement should be viewed with the winds of change and social unrest sweeping the subcontinent.

Also illustrative of the moral flaw in capitalism and the free market; a basis for long debates. Most industrialists and free-market based societies such as the US, the UK etc find it easier to deal with dictators rather than genuinely democratic societies.


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