Here’s the reason why India’s most beloved businessman continues to remain single.
Ratan Tata is perhaps the most respected and loved industrialist in India. He may not be as rich as Mukesh Ambani but the Tata name goes much further than any other corporate house in the country. A big reason behind this is, of course, the Tata legacy and Ratan Tata himself.
Ask someone walking on the street and chances are they’d likely know the Tata name for their philanthropic work. Ratan Tata, who expanded the Tata Group’s reach all over the world, is perhaps more aware of this legacy than anyone else. He’s humble, soft-spoken and by all accounts, a gentleman.
After he stepped down as chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata continued to serve as Chairman Emeritus. However it is quite likely that Ratan Tata may well be the last Tata to serve as Chairman of the salt to software conglomerate named after his family. Quite like his mentor, JRD Tata, Ratan Tata too has no children. In fact, Ratan Tata isn’t even married.
Ratan Tata is named after his grandfather Ratanji Tata. His father, Naval Tata was adopted from an orphanage by Ratanji and his first wife, Soonoo. They had a second son, Jimmy before they divorced and Naval married Simone, a Swiss national who was travelling to India. Noel Tata is Simone and Naval Tata’s son and runs, among other businesses, Trent.
When they divorced, Ratan Tata was just ten years old. Needless to say, the divorce was quite tough on him. In an interview with Humans of Bombay, Ratan Tata recollected that his grandmother helped him through this tough time. She taught him to keep his head high, ignore the taunts and bullying that he faced due to the divorce, which in the 40s was still a big taboo. Over time he became close to his grandmother who also taught him to stand up for his beliefs without being rude or rash.
Ratan Tata credits her for ending up at Cornell. He told HOB that his father wanted him to study in the UK whereas he wanted to go to the US, a Cornell. He stood his ground and got his wish. Eventually, much to his father’s dismay, he also switched from engineering to architecture. All of this while maintaining his dignity.
After completing his graduation, Ratan Tata landed a job in Los Angeles where he worked for two years. “It was a great time,” he recollected of his years in the US, “The weather was beautiful, I had my own car and I loved my job. It was in LA that I fell in love and almost got married. But at the same time I had made the decision to move back at least temporarily since I had been away from my grandmother who wasn’t keeping too well for almost seven years."
And so he decided return to India. He’d hoped that his then girlfriend would accompany him. “But because of the 1962 Indo-China war, her parents weren’t okay with her making the move anymore, and the relationship fell apart," he told HOB.
Over time Ratan Tata went on to head the Tata Group and take it to even greater heights than his predecessor JRD did. Life, as it were, happened and Ratan Tata never got married.