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SIR ARDESHIR DALAL

(1884 - 1949)

 
 

Sir Ardeshir DalalSir Ardeshir Dalal was born on April 24, 1884 in Bombay. His father Rustomji Dalal was a broker at the Bombay Stock Exchange. Ardeshir graduated from Elphinstone College, Bombay standing First Class First and winning about all the prizes obtainable at the examination.

Sir Ardeshir was awarded the J.N. Tata Scholarship in 1905 and proceeded to England for higher studies. He took the Tripos in Natural Science at St. John's College Cambridge and entered the I.C.S. in 1908.

After serving in various capacities in the Government - for thirteen years he worked as Collector in various districts - Sir Ardeshir became Municipal Commissioner of Bombay in 1928. He was the first Indian to hold this position.

After 23 years in Government, Sir Ardeshir joined Tatas in 1931, as Resident Director of TISCO. In TISCO, he liaised between the Board at Bombay and the management at Jamshedpur. Sir Ardeshir was responsible in bringing some measures like profit sharing bonus which was unheard of till then in the Indian industry. He was also responsible for the Indianisation programme. He lifted the company during the depression of the thirties.

Sir Ardeshir was knighted in 1939.

In 1944, in his speech at an Annual General Meeting, J.R.D. Tata said, "Sir Ardeshir piloted the company through the vicissitudes of the last thirteen years with outstanding success. Among other things his great administrative ability and drive and his insistence on the highest standards of discipline and efficiency in all ranks of the company were responsible for this success.”

In June 1944, the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, invited him to join the Executive Council as Member-in-Charge of Planning and Development. He was one of the architects of the Government of India's plan formulated in 1945. He was one of the eight authors of the Bombay Plan published in 1944. In January 1946, he resigned from the Government and rejoined Tatas and worked there until his death in October 1949.

Sir Ardeshir was admired in the Government and industry circles for his intellect and administrative ability. Regarding his contributions to TISCO, Sir Visvesaraya, his colleague, once said, "During his term of Office, Sir Ardeshir brought into the Steel Company's administration a high sense of discipline and models of regulation and control derived from the best organised of Government offices”.

Writing about Sir Ardeshir in the illustrated Weekly of India, Michael Brown said, "He is rather tall and sparsely built, extremely well-groomed. His rather heavy lidded eyes and gentle mouth may suggest the dreams but there is an indefinable atmosphere of preciseness about him. Even his cheroot seems trained to scatter its ashes in the ashtray." Another journalist described him as "an image of the Average America's idea of big business."

 

 

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