[Throwback] The Indian businessman who served in the French army and how a happy coincidence saved his life
By now, many would have guessed that this is the story of none other than
The entry of the JRD into the French army
It was in 1923 that JRD lost his mother, who was then only 43 years old. The responsibility for the children lay with RD Tata. While Jehangir wanted to study engineering at Cambridge, his father decided to move him to England for a year to study grammar. However, fate had other plans.
That year, the French government proposed a new rule: one year of compulsory military service for the eldest in each family. As a French citizen, JRD had to enlist in the army.
Acceptance of JRD in a cavalry unit
In mid-1924, Jehangir was accepted into an Algerian cavalry unit. While he knew horsemanship, the horses in the JRD unit were pure Arabs – fast and big, unlike the French. For a year, Jehangir trained with dedication and improved his riding skills, which led to his selection for promotion in mid-1925.
He had to undergo special training to be promoted, but the idea was rejected by his father. “Are you mad? Enough acid military training,” RD wrote to him. Jehangir returned to India.
The happy coincidence!
RD’s denial and JRD’s return to India proved lifesaving for the latter, literally.
A few days after Jehangir left, his entire cavalry unit deployed to Morocco where every soldier was killed. The whole unit was wiped out by the leader of the bandits
A few years after moving to India, JRD renounced his French nationality in 1929 and decided to become an Indian citizen. He lived his own and how! JRD created Air India, oversaw the