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“We are not aware if any project at once so opportune and so far-reaching in its beneficent effects was ever mooted in India, as that of the post-graduate research university of Mr Tata. The scheme grasps the vital point of weakness in our national well-being with a clearness of vision and tightness of grip, the masterliness of which is only equalled by the munificence of the gift with which it is ushered to the public."

So wrote Swami Vivekananda when describing Jamsetji Tata's vision of an institute for scientific learning and research in India. The idea consumed Jamsetji in the later years of his life, and he set aside considerable endowments to ensure his dream for India would come to life. The result — the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) — was established in 1909, five years after his death, through the continuing efforts of his son Sir Dorabji Tata.

Since then, the Tata group has built many institutes, including Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (1945), through the efforts of Homi J Bhabha, the father of India's atomic energy programme, and JRD Tata. The institute became the cradle of India's atomic energy ambitions. 

Just a few years prior, the group had also established the Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work in 1936, for professional training in social work. Later rechristened the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 1944, it emerged as a pioneer of social work education in the Asia Pacific region, and has since made significant contributions in the area of social policy, planning, intervention strategies and human resource development.

The Tatas' benefaction extended to the arts as well. To preserve and promote India's rich heritage in the performing arts, JRD Tata and Dr Jamshed J Bhabha endeavoured to build the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in 1969. The first multi-venue, multi-purpose cultural centre to be built in South Asia, it remains India's premier cultural institution, committed to showcasing Indian and international music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography.

Photographs courtesy Tata Central Archives

IISc Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

Indian Institute of Science (IISc)

One of Jamsetji Tata’s three great dreams for India was an advanced institute of scientific education and research. He donated half of his wealth towards establishing the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Today, IISc is a premier institution and has also nurtured other institutes like the TIFR and the Atomic Energy Commission. Arrow
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)

Dr Homi J Bhabha and JRD Tata were driven to establish the TIFR to improve India's scientific temper and strengthen the newly free nation's science infrastructure. TIFR became the cradle of the country's atomic energy endeavour, and today, leads research in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and science education. Arrow
TISS Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

Tata Institute of Social Sciences was born in 1936, borne of Jamsetji Tata and his son Dorab's vision of building a better community. Today, TISS is one of India's premier educational institutions, training professionals in human resources and social work, carrying out research on social problems, and publishing it for the benefit of society. Arrow
National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai

National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA)

The NCPA was the brainchild of JRD Tata and Dr. Jamshed Bhabha, two visionaries who saw India's need for an all-encompassing world-class performing arts centre. Luminaries from various fields have contributed towards lending the NCPA the iconic status it now enjoys, with such artists as Satyajit Ray and Yehudi Menuhin as its earliest mentors. Arrow

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