Topic outline

    • ‘Jeh’, the Jewel of India

      About the passage

      Read to understand

      A. Answer these questions with reference to the context.

      1. ‘It was a decision that saddened him.’

               a)   Who does ‘him’ refer to?

      Ans. ‘Him’ refers to JRD Tata.

               b)   What decision is referred to here?

      Ans. Jawaharlal Nehru’s decision to nationalize Air India is referred to here.

               c)   What action did he take after the decision was made?

      Ans. Although Air India was nationalized in 1953, JRD did not lose interest in the airline but continued as a very dedicated chairman.


      2. ‘“I am not prepared to oblige the government on the former and I am not the latter.”’

               a)   Who is ‘I’?

      Ans. ‘I’ is JRD Tata.

               b)   What does not obliging the government ‘on the former’ mean?

      Ans. He meant that he is not dead.

               c)   What does the speaker mean by ‘I am not the latter.’?

          Ans. He meant that he is not a politician.

               d)   What situation prompted him to say this?

      Ans. He said this so because the Bharat Ratna is usually given to people who are dead, or it is given to politicians.

      B. Fill in the blanks with information from the text. Write not more than three words in each blank.

      1. JRD Tata was the first Indian to get a commercial pilot’s licence.

      2. The first flight of Tata Aviation Service connected Bombay, Ahmedabad, and Karachi.

      3. Air India was nationalized by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1953.

      4. JRD used his personal wealth to set up JRD Tata Trust and other institutions.

      5. Kalpana Chawla and Sudha Murthy were among those inspired by his spirit of adventure and his humility.


      C. Answer these questions.

      1. How did JRD develop an interest in flying?

      Ans. JRD had grown up in France watching the famous aviator Louis Bleriot’s early flights and had taken a joyride in an aeroplane as a fifteen-year-old. That was the beginning of a lifelong fascination for flying.


      2. What distinction did JRD achieve in his mid-twenties? How did he respond? Why?

      Ans. In his mid-twenties, JRD earned the distinction of becoming the first Indian to be granted a commercial pilot’s licence. The blue and gold certificate made him extremely happy as it signaled the beginning of a dream coming true for him.


      3. What according to JRD was the solution to India’s poverty?

      Ans. JRD was grieved by the poverty he saw around him and concluded that the country’s progress lay in controlling its population and in ensuring its people were educated. He fervently believed that India had great intellectual talent.


      4. What steps did he take that made him a true nation builder?

      Ans. Nation building wasn’t mere rhetoric for him. He proved his genuineness by transferring his personal wealth to the JRD Tata Trust that he set up in 1944 to aid educational and other institutions. A few years later, he sold a part of his share in one of the Tata companies and an apartment in Bombay. He used this money to establish the JRD and Themla Tata Trust, which still works to improve the lot of India’s disadvantaged women.


      5. What personality traits did JRD dislike? Why?

      Ans. JRD disliked pomposity, carelessness, and a casual attitude. He disliked these attitudes because he believed that excellence could only be achieved by taking care to do things correctly and giving attention to seemingly small things as well.


      6. Why were all sorts of people drawn towards JRD?

      Ans. JRD was a humble man who always upheld his principles of trust, sincerity and diligence. He valued diligent workers and encouraged others to do their best. He was never interested in receiving honours, preferring instead to get things done and ‘practice what he preached.’ These qualities drew others to him.

      Discuss and write

      1. These are some of JRD’s personal qualities. Put them in an order of importance, 1 is the most important. (Answer will vary)

      adventurous 9

      benevolent 6

      compassionate 1

      diligent 5

      honest 3

      industrious 8

      reticent 11

      shy 12

      sincere 4

      trustworthy 2

      sense of humour 10

      modest 7


      2. Which of these qualities do you think you already have?

      Ans. Do it yourself.


      3. Which of these qualities would you like to develop?

      Ans. Do it yourself.