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Desh Ki Baat

Ratan Tata Honored: Gangster Confrontation Highlights Leadership

Ratan Tata honored with 'Udyog Ratna' Award; recalls confronting gangster during Tata Group's early days, displaying unwavering leadership.

Ratan Tata receives ‘Udyog Ratna’ Award for economic contributions. Resurfaced video reveals his resolute stand against gangster tactics during his early Tata Group chairmanship.


Renowned industrialist Ratan Tata has been honored with the inaugural ‘Udyog Ratna’ Award by the Maharashtra government for his significant contributions to India’s economy. As this recognition coincided with the event, an older video of Tata recounting a remarkable encounter with a gangster during his early days as the chairman of the Tata Group has resurfaced, providing insight into his resolute leadership.

In the decade-old video, originally shared by the esteemed Columbia Business School on their YouTube channel, the 85-year-old business magnate narrates an incident from his tenure. Tata reflects on his resolute decision not to yield to the pressure tactics employed by the alleged gangster and his followers.

The incident unfolded when Tata had just assumed the role of chairman. A major union upheaval occurred at Tata Motors, then known as Telco. A gangster perceived an opportunity to gain control of the union and attempted to exploit the situation. Tata reveals that the gangster possessed around 200 aggressive and disruptive followers. Despite facing considerable intimidation, Tata and his management decided against appeasing the gangster.

Tata’s strategy involved direct confrontation, countering the intimidation tactics with firmness. Recognizing that yielding to the gangster’s demands would only perpetuate the problem, Tata stood his ground. He highlights the complexities of the situation, wherein the gangster had influence over the local police, further complicating matters. However, Tata refused to relent, understanding that capitulation would lead to further exploitation.

During the course of the confrontation, the gangster orchestrated a strike that brought the plant’s operations to a halt. Tata took a bold step by staying within the plant alongside the workers for three days, dispelling their fears and encouraging them to return. This act of solidarity galvanized the workers, prompting them to resume their duties.

Despite facing threats, including a contract on his life allegedly orchestrated by the gangster after his arrest, Tata remained steadfast. He shunned calls for reconciliation and stood by his unwavering stance. Looking back, Tata expressed that he wouldn’t have handled the situation differently. The video showcases his strong leadership and principled approach, underscoring the values that have made him an iconic figure in the business world.

The ‘Udyog Ratna’ Award bestowed upon Ratan Tata is a testament to the profound impact he and the Tata Group have had on India’s economic and societal landscape, a fitting tribute to his distinguished career.

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