Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect

There was a time in the days of the late of JRD Tata , when the Tatas were considered the most benevolnt and ethical of companies in India. Sudha Murthy in her story of how she got her job at TELCO following an intervention by the late JRD captures the story well. But the recent CNN-IBN story about how a Tata related firm got a small ancillary industry out of business by abruptly shifting allegiance tells a story about how in the pursuit of growth, profits and global footprints is leading to a shift in the traditional practices of doing business. On the face of it , there may be little that is unethical or illegal about the Tinplate Company doing business in manner that yields it the most benefit but a couple of decades ago, this was just not what the Tatas were all about.

Is doing business globally and in an increasingly competitive economy destroying our souls and are our companies increasingly becoming rootless , heartless entities ? Is that the way of the future and if that is the future , is a ethic less, amoral world of business where the bottom line is every thing , the way to go ? Mani Ratnam’s Guru has already preached the ethic that making money is every thing in corporate life and filling the share holder’s pocket is every thing.

It looks that the world of JRD Tata is an eon away. Commenting on CNN -IBN’s story on the Tinplate company’s dealings , are reader’s observations on their experiences with other Tata group companies and the observation that the glorious exploits of the Tata group were all pre independence efforts when the world was not a dog eat dog world as it is today and survival and success requires that one resort to practices in business that while they may not exactly violate the law , do away with the essence of humaneness.

If this is true , then it is sad that an era is passing away. The House of Tatas recently ran an advertising campaign titled “ A Century of Trust” going back to 1904 which was associated with the lives of Jamsetji Tata, JRD and Naval Tata. That campaign which began in 2004 ran for a while and was inaugurated by President Abdul Kalaam. During this period , the Tata group has grown by leaps and bounds and acquisitions like Corus have come their away but it looks that they have lost that very unique distinction of being one of those rare Indian business houses that cared where one need not have cared , done things that one need not have done and earned good will and gratitude along the way.

We take a lot of pride in Indian companies getting bigger, getter global in size and the rising revenues every quarter. But we have lost that sensitivity to measure those important aspects of life , ethics and values where we are getting smaller and not bigger. In the world of quarterly results and enhanced shareholder value, companies are increasingly forgetting the place of the larger stakeholder in the business and the economy – the community. And sadly that is happening to no one’s regret.

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