SIR HOMI MODY
The life and times of Sir Homi Mody span perhaps the most eventful half century of modern Indian history and involved him in politics, commerce and industry, government and administration, labour and a hit of diplomacy as well.
He was born on September 23, 1881. After completing his M.A. in Literature from the Bombay University, Sir Homi completed his LL.B. In 1911, at the age of 30 he passed the Advocates' Examination and enrolled himself as an Advocate at the Bombay Bar.
Sir Homi had shown an early interest in politics. He wrote a prize-winning essay in 1908 on "The Political Future of India", which was later published in a book form, by a London publisher and which attracted considerable notice in both the British and the Indian Press.
In 1920, he turned to business and was elected to the committee of the powerful Mill owners' Association of which he became Chairman in 1927. In this capacity he planned and led the Indian textile industry's successful campaign for protective tariffs against foreign competition, particularly from Japan and Lancashire. Initially rejected by the Government of India, Sir Homi threatened to "place our case before the country," and accused the Department of Commerce and Industry of existing "for every purpose but that of serving the commerce and industries of India." He waged "a raging, tearing campaign all over the country". Finally, when the Government did relent and concede the industry's viewpoint it was acknowledged as a modest victory for the textile industry but a personal triumph for Sir Homi. He joined Tatas as a Director in 1934, and remained as a Senior Director until 1959 except for two interruptions - in 1941 when he was appointed to the Viceroy's Executive Council with the key portfolio of Supply and in 1949 when he went to Lucknow as Governor of U.P. In 1933, he became President of the Employers' Federation of India and held this post for 26 years.
He was Knighted - KBE – in 1935.
Following his natural instincts Sir Homi plunged into the public life of Bombay in 1913 when he was elected to the Bombay Municipal Corporation which he virtually dominated by his wit, oratory and administrative skill, for the next twenty-nine years. Concurrent with his other activity in both business and administration Sir Homi remained a Member of the Indian Legislative Assembly from 1929 to 1943, contributing to deliberations with his usual wit, wisdom and persuasive eloquence. In 1929, Sir Homi was invited to attend the First Round Table Conference in London as a representative of Indian Commerce and Industry.
Sir Homi Mody passed away on March 9, 1969.
A Division of Tata Services Limited