Naval Tata Age, Death, Caste, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

Quick Info→
Father: Jamsetji Tata
Death Date: 05/05/1989
Age: 84 Years

Navalji Tata

Full NameNaval Hormusji Tata [1]Tata
Profession(s)• Businessman
• Philanthropist
Awards, Honours• 1968, Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial Peace
• 1969, received Padma Bhushan Award by the President of India
• Received life membership of the National Institute of Personnel Management
Legacy• Since 1992, Naval Tata Memorial Lecture is organized annually by the National Institute of Personnel Management.
• The Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management renamed its Sports Management Department to Naval Tata Centre of Excellence in Sports Management.
• In 1999, a book was published that was a collection of his letters, speeches, and writings.
• In 2004, Tata Group organised the Century of Trust exhibition in the memories of Naval Tata, J.R.D. Tata, and Jamsetji Tata.
• In 2014, Naval Tata Insititute of Training in Indistrial Relations was launched by the Employers’ Federation of India in his memory.
Personal Life
Date of Birth30 August 1904 (Tuesday)
BirthplaceSurat, Gujarat
Date of Death5 May 1989
Place of DeathBombay
Age (at the time of death) 84 Years
Death CauseCancer
Zodiac signVirgo
Nationality Indian
College/UniversityBombay University
Educational QualificationBachelors of Economics [2]Tata Central Archives
EthnicityParsi [3]Tata
Relationships & More
Marital Status (at the time of death)Married
Wife/SpouseFirst Wife: Sooni Commissariat (Divorced in mid-1940's)
Second Wife: Simone Dunoyer (1955 ; his death)
Simone Tata
ChildrenSon- 3
Ratan Tata (businessman)
• Jimmy Tata (businessman)
Noel Tata (businessman)
Naval Tata with sons
ParentsFather- Ratanji Tata (businessman)
Mother- Navajbai Tata
Naval Tata parents
Family TreeTata Group family tree

Note: To know more about the Tata family, read our Tata Family Tree post.

Naval Tata

Some Lesser Known Facts About Naval Tata

  • Naval Tata was a renowned Indian businessman who played an important role in the success of the Tata Conglomerate. He was also a philanthropist and sports lover. He was a philosopher of Employer-Employee Relations and had great communications skills that helped him instantly connect with the workers.
  • Naval Tata was born in a middle-class family in Surat, Gujarat. His father worked in Ahmedabad as a spinning master at the Advanced Mills. In 1908, Naval was only four at the time of his father’s death. his family shifted to Navsari, Gujarat soon after his father’s demise. Their only source of survival was their mother Ratanbai’s income that she used to earn doing embroidery work. [4]Tata Central Archives
  • Due to the poor financial condition of the family, Naval Tata was sent to the J.N. Petit Parsi Orphanage. In 1918, after the death of Ratanji Tata, a family meeting was held by Dorabji Tata. As there was no child of Ratanji Tata and Navajbai Tata, it was decided that Navajbai should adopt a son for the Uthamna ceremony of Ratan Ji and to become his successor. She went to the J.N. Petit Parsi Orphanage to adopt a child, and there she decided to adopt Naval. Naval Tata once referred to Navajbai and said,

    She played the role of Fairy Godmother for which I shall ever be grateful to her” [5]Tata Central Archives

  • After being adopted, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Bombay. Later, he went to England, where he pursued a course in Accountancy.
  • On 1 June 1930, he came back to India after completing his studies in England and joined the family business. Two years later, in 1932, he became the secretary of Tata Aviation. His dedication and commitment to family business made him earn the position of the Joint Managing Director of all Tata’s Textile Mills in 1939. On 1 February 1941, he became the Director of Tata Sons and later became its Deputy Chairman. He soon became the Chairman of Tata Mills and three of Tata’s Electric Companies. It was his leadership that made Tata Power grow in terms of reach and capacity. He became a board member of other Tata companies and also served as the director of the Bank of Baroda. [6]Tata Central Archives He was the face of Tatas just like J.R.D. Tata and helped J.R.D. Tata in achieving his dreams. J.R.D. Tata once talked about Naval and said,

    Naval Tata was associated directly with me from the creation of Tata Airlines……He was a kind-hearted man. He was a good human being. He felt for others. He was always ready to respond to requests for help both either for advice or whenever he was in a position as Chairman or Trustee of a philanthropic institution…. Naval, also was an international man…. Wherever he was, he was welcomed and he played an important role for years in the International Labour Organization..”

  • Naval Tata got married Sooni Commissariat at an early age. They were blessed with two sons, Ratan and Jimmy Tata. However, the couple divorced in mid-1940’s after which Naval’s sons were raised by his mother, Navajbai Tata.
    Naval Tata with wife and son

    Naval Tata with his wife, Sooni Commissariat, and son Ratan Tata

    His elder son Ratan Tata, the former chairman of Tata Group once talked about his childhood and said,

    I had a happy childhood, but as my brother and I got older, we faced a fair bit of ragging and personal discomfort because of our parents’ divorce, which in those days wasn’t as common as it is today. But my grandmother brought us up in every way,” [7]The Economic Times

  • Naval Tata was a philanthropist who made a huge contribution to social and human welfare. He worked for many public Institutions and devoted his time and energy to social, educational, and welfare activities. He was the chairman of the Indian Cancer Society and Sir Ratan Tata Trust and initiated many welfare projects. He was also a trustee of Tata’s philanthropic entities and an active member of the Indian Institute of Science. [8]Tata Central Archives
  • From 1946, he remained associated with the International Labour Organization for over three decades and held an exceptional record of being elected as its member for 16 times. He also served as the Vice-Chairman, International Organization of Employers, Geneva. He was a businessman who became a part of multiple sessions of the ILO General Conference and Industrial committee. He became the face of Indian Employers and represented them at many national and international conferences and also attended meetings of the International Chamber of Commerce, International Management Association, and UNIDO. He also became the president of the Employers Federation of India and the first president of Indian Council of Sports.
  • He was a true sports lover and took a series of initiatives for the development of sports in the country. He was the administrative head of the Indian Sports Council when the country won three Olympic medals. He was the one who created the first floodlit hockey ground in the country, and it was named the ‘Urbs Prima in Indis.’ [9]Tata Central Archives He was the president of the Indian Hockey Federation and headed it for 17 years. At the time of the London Olympics in 1948, Naval Tata personally met Jawaharlal Nehru and explained to him why India should initiate participating and supporting its players in the event. In that year, India won a gold, and this was followed by victories at the Melbourne and Helsinki Olympics.

    Naval Tata with hockey team

    Naval Tata with hockey team

  • Naval Tata met Simone Dunoyer when she came on a trip to India from Geneva, Switzerland. They soon fell in love and tied the knot in 1955. Two years later in 1957, Naval’s third child Noel Tata was born.
  • In 1966, he was made a member of the National Commission on Labour by the Government of India.
  • In 1968, he received a medal for Industrial Peace, Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal. In the next year, he became the proud receiver of the Padma Bhushan Award presented to him by the President of India.
  • In 1971, he contested the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate from South Bombay but lost to George Fernandes. [10]Tata
  • Later, the National Institute of Personnel Management granted him a lifetime membership. He also became the president of the Employers Federation of India and the first president of the Indian Council of Sports. 
  • At the age of 84, Naval Tata died on 5 May 1989 due to cancer in Bombay.