Queen Elizabeth II

Why did the Tatas not celebrate the Queen?

Why did the Tatas not celebrate the Queen?
Queen Elizabeth II (Left); Ratan Tata (Right)

Truthfully, the transition in the monarchy is an enterprising opportunity for many Indian brands to capitalise on the emotional currency. But for the Tatas, considering that their entire foundation occurred in British India, a sincere acknowledgement would surely be plain good manners.

Nusserwanji Tata laid the seeds of the business in 1850, unleashing a lucrative import-export trade with China and Japan, opium being part of the star cast. The import of cotton to Liverpool during the US Civil War ( around 1862) proved to be immensely profitable and so was being a provisions supplier to the British Army during the invasion of Abyssinia ( present-day Ethiopia) in 1867. Buoyed by encouraging revenues, JN Tata set up a global trading empire and started envisioning the steel plant in Jamshedpur, the hotel in Bombay and allied pioneering initiatives, with JRD’s Tata Airlines ( Air India) getting a licence in 1932.

One thing the group managed thoughtfully was the equilibrium between the imperialists and the Swadeshi movement, with the latter actually raising funds for the construction of the steel plant, encouraged by the British due to economic realities. In the 1920s, when unionism had crept in, the Indian National Congress ensured worker stability and continually supported this symbol of self-reliance. While the Tatas supplied steel at a loss to the British cause in the First World War, a generosity which led to tariff protection all the way till 1946, and Sir Homi Mody (Russi Mody’s father) actually served on the Viceroy’s Executive Council in the early 1940s.

Now, the above is all documented and happy history for the most part, as the group has turned out to be a sustainable agent of growth for independent India, an inspiration to date. When the Queen passed, PM Modi paid a truly touching tribute and this in tandem with President Murmu’s presence at the funeral proves the changing dynamics of geopolitics. Thus, it would have been rather appropriate, in fact, a verification of pedigree, if Mr Ratan Tata had indeed issued a condolence communication, at least from a Tata Steel lens. Unlike most other significant corporations, the Queen’s ancestors did propel this business empire’s development, benefitting the modern nation uniquely.

On a more transactional note, British Government data proves that India was the largest recipient of tourist and student visas, as well as work permits, in the last year and the monarchy remains a charming curiosity. So a hotel chain could well set up an Imperial High Tea or a Commemoration Dinner, which will be lapped up by our well-heeled, superbly exposed urban audiences. A possibility which could extend to a weekend package in a genuine palace property, which probably enjoyed the physical presence or at least the gunpowder blessings of the monarchy. Hyderabad and Jaipur would be prime candidates, the Nizam’s gifted necklace on the Queen’s wedding a timeless showstopper.

For tourism companies, a QE II trail would be a ravishing no-brainer as 2023 promises to be a genuinely Covid-free year and the UK an attractive destination, and the metaverse can add to the sensorial trailers. The jewellery industry in India, a mammoth ad spender, may well consider a Maharani Collection, inspired by her personal ensemble, mostly looted so looting the design is ethically permissible. Luxury Car Makers can consider a special edition and it is useful to remember that the Royal Salute Scotch Whisky ( 21 Years) was launched as a tribute to the young queen’s coronation, in 1953. In terms of Haute fashion and accessories, the possibilities can be equally endless, celebrating the life of a deeply well-styled nobility.

The largest point I wish to make is that the British monarchy has been systematically repositioned over the last decades, from an imposing symbol of authority to a benevolent icon of civilization. This is exactly why Indian brands, when suitable, should not be shy to make capital of this enormous moment and make some majestic revenues. For the Tatas though, denial of this association is no longer necessary, as every world including theirs has truly moved on.