Navajbai Tata (1877-1965) was an Indian businesswoman and a social activist. She is the grandmother of Ratan Tata, the former chairman of the Tata Group. She passed away in 1965 in Bombay.
Navajbai Tata was born on Sunday, 23 September 1877 (age 87 years; at the time of death). Her zodiac sign is Virgo.
Navajbai Tata belonged to the famous Sett family, tracing its roots back to Iran.
Parents & Siblings
Her father Ardeshir Merwanji Sett (deceased) was a businessman and a philanthropist. Her mother’s name is Pirojbai (deceased). She was the youngest among her siblings.
Husband & Children
Her husband, Ratanji Jamsetji Tata, was a philanthropist, businessman, and financier. He passed away in 1919. Navajbai got married to Ratanji on 5 November 1892, at the age of fifteen. The couple spent much of their time living in England and had no children.
After Ratanji’s death, Navajbai adopted Naval Tata from an orphanage as per the family’s decision. Naval Tata went on to become the director as well as the deputy chairman of Tata Sons.
Her father-in-law, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, was an Indian industrialist and the founder of the Tata Group.
Her brother-in-law, Dorabji Tata, was a businessman, who played a key role in the development of the Tata Group.
Simone Tata, her daughter-in-law and Naval Tata’s second wife, is a businesswoman who co-founded Lakmé.
She has three grandsons, Ratan Naval Tata, Jimmy Naval Tata, and Noel Tata. Ratan served as the chairman of the Tata Group. Jimmy is a businessman and owns a share in the Tata Group. Noel is the chairman of Trent and Tata Investment Corporation, the managing director of Tata International, and the vice chairman of Titan Company and Tata Steel.
Navajbai took custody of Ratan and Jimmy and raised them after their parents, Naval and Sooni Commissariat, got divorced in 1948.
Click here to know more about the Tata family.
Navajbai Tata followed Zoroastrianism.
She played a pivotal role in the formation of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT), which was established after the death of her husband in 1918. In 1925, Navajbai Tata assumed the post of director at Tata Sons in Mumbai, becoming the first woman to get appointed to the position. In 1928, she founded the Ratan Tata Institute (RTI) in Mumbai; the institute was established to help poor and needy Parsi women by providing them with housing facilities, employment, education, and more. In 1932, she was appointed as the chairperson of the Ratan Tata Institute. She served as the director of Tata Sons till her demise in 1965.
In 1941, Navajbai Tata’s salary as the chairman of Tata Sons was Rs. 40,000.
Navajbai Tata passed away at the age of 87 years in Bombay (now Mumbai) due to natural causes on 20 August 1965.
- Before her marriage, Navajbai Tata was known as Navajbai Sett.
- She once donated Rs. 3 lacs as well as her villa “Homestead” in Matheran, Maharashtra, to a charitable organisation that had asked for her aid in helping the poor and the needy.
- While living in England with her husband, Ratanji Tata, Navajbai Tata established a close and cordial relationship with King George V and Queen Mary.
- After Ratanji Tata passed away, Navajbai Tata donated her paintings to the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai.
- Navajbai Tata completed the construction of the Bombay House in Mumbai, which was started by Ratanji when he was alive.
- Navajbai Tata and her husband were art connoisseurs. The couple has amassed an expensive variety of jades, historical artefacts, and paintings.
- Navajbai Tata knew how to ride a horse. She became a proficient horserider and played polo at a time when women did not play such sports.
- She was appointed as a member of the board of the Bombay Parsi Panchayat.