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  • Writer's pictureTarun Das

SardarVallabhbhai Patel (SVP) and JRD Tata (JRD) in imaginary conversation (1947)

SVP: Thank you for coming to see me. Its very good of you. I have much respect for you. I know of your values, leadership and commitment as well as the industries you are building and providing employment to our people.

JRD: Likewise, Sardar Patel. I have long admired and respected your practical, pragmatic policies and approach. India needs just this approach as we strive to build a Nation, politically independent and economically strong in the future.

SVP: You know, Mr Tata, we are just thinking about the development and growth of India now that we are Independent. What are your thoughts and ideas? We are not clear which road to take. Do we follow the Soviet and Chinese model or the Western model? Should the Government be central to development?

JRD: Sir, you may have heard of the Bombay Plan which some of my fellow Industrialists and I put together. It contains the approach we would like to see adopted by Government of India. We cannot follow other models because India is unique. So, we must see what are our strength and build on these. Government, of course, has a major role to play but so has the private sector. Please maintain a balance.

SVP: Yes, I am aware of the Report. You have placed major emphasis on the role of Industry and Business. You expect the private sector to play a large part? Is it feasible? India is such a large country. Will the private sector rise to the occasion?

JRD: Yes. I see Industry in the Private Sector as entrepreneurial and able to take risk, I ask that the private sector be given trust and opportunity to perform for the country. This will empower our people and give them a real stake in India’s future. Let us not follow the Soviet or Chinese way. They are different, Sir. We are different.

SVP: I suppose you are aware that many of my colleagues don’t trust the private sector. They want to follow the Soviet model with the State and the Government in command and control of the Economy. They feel that we cannot depend on the private sector.

JRD: Yes, Iam, of course, aware and feel strongly and sincerely that that is the wrong way to think. We are by nature a individualistic, private sector-oriented people. We already have a large private sector. Trusting them will be the best for India. You have a base, please build on it. Creating a new structure will be far more difficult.Government should govern and administer the country not run industry.

SVP: You are asking me to trust the private sector against the wishes of my colleagues?

JRD: Yes, Sir. I seek that direction and that Leadership from you. It will enable India to grow rapidly and take care of the people of India in the best possible way. We know you are strong. Please shed any doubts you have about us.

SVP: Do you think the Private Sector will have the courage and capability?

JRD: Yes, they will. Please give them your faith and trust and it will motivate us all to rise to the challenge. Your appeal and trust will enable us to move mountains for India. We will work in close harmony and partnership with Government.

SVP: alright JRD, your wishes will be respected and I will follow your advice for India’s economic and industrial development. I trust you. You are a great Indian. And, I shall look to you to motivate your friends and colleagues. Cajole them. Shepherd them.

JRD: We will not let you down. India will be the fastest growth nation across the globe. Employment will be generated. Incomes and wages will rise and India will be a shining example to the world.

SVP: Lets hold hands on that. Lets forge a new partnership of Trust and mutuality. I look to you to provide leadership and I shall be ready to support.

JRD – Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. We will never let you down.

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