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At 109, JRD lifts spirits

- Aeromodels, run to remember father of civil aviation

As a child, Jeh was inspired by his neighbour and French aviator Louis Blériot. Flying became a passion and, in 1932, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata founded India’s first commercial airline — now national carrier Air India.

At the age of 22, JRD became the director of Tata Group and, in 1938, when he was its chairman, he was the youngest leader on board. “If I have any merit, it is getting on with individuals according to their ways and characteristics… To be a leader you have to lead human beings with affection,” the pioneer once said.

On Monday, July 29, 2013, this Tata town poured on venues — braving a downpour — to celebrate the father of civil aviation’s 109th birth anniversary with an array of events, from sit-and-draw and quiz to cross-country race and aeromodelling.

The morning began with an exhibition on JRD Tata’s extraordinary life. It was inaugurated by social worker Surekha Nerurkar at Sonari Aerodrome. The customary aircraft exhibition for school students followed. And, though the rain played spoilsport for a show in the open, the Jamshedpur Aeromodelling Club kept spirits high with a hangar spectacle.

The cynosure of the static display section was a single-engine vintage birdie — the Pushpak MK1 made in 1965. A Cessna 152, made in the US in 1985, turned a few heads too.

“We also showcased an Extra 260, an aerobatic monoplane with a 30cc engine and body made of Balsa wood. It runs on methanol. Remote-controlled electric and quadrotor helicopters were big draws,” said B.K. Singh of the aeromodelling club.

A quadcopter is propelled by four rotors and can host a surveillance camera, a brief reminder of a scene from the movie 3 Idiots.

As aspirations soared at Sonari, Michael John Auditorium in Bistupur hosted the JRD Tata Inter-school Quiz. As many as 130 students from 50 schools took the rapid fire from quizmaster Lloyd Saldanha of Greycaps. SDSM School of Excellence, Sacred Heart Convent School, Hill Top School, DAV Public School-Bistupur, Loyola School and Little Flower School made it to the final round.

Little Flower School won the first prize of Rs 10,000, followed by Loyola School as first runner-up (Rs 8,000) and DAV Public School (Rs 6,000) as second runner-up. All finalists also received a cash prize of Rs 2,000.

Sports and Tatas have become synonymous with each other. And a JRD birthday is never complete without the race along Kadma-Sonari Link. The Tata Steel sports department organised the cross-country challenge, which saw 2,000 girls and boys run in the rain.

The categories for the race were Jogga Schools, open schools and TCS/TSRDS/Urban and JRD Tata Sports Complex. While junior boys in all categories ran for 3km, the girls took a 2km challenge. For senior boys, it was 5km and senior girls 3km.

How did you pay your tribute to JRD Tata?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com


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