I was a child and had just learnt the art of writing letters on a postcard. My letters would addressed to Mr. RS Pandey , MD TISCO ,JSR sure that it would reach him. Of course it always did and he would reply beginning My Dear Baby (my nickname). We were all special to him but my sister was his favourite. In fact he chose an IAS officer as a husband for her. Jokingly he would tell her ‘Jab SDO banogi main Salute karoonga’.
The special trait that he had was his affection for his mother daadi passed away while he was on tour. It was like she waited for him to come and he did. Babooji was very affectionate towards us kids. Whenever he visited Patna on any official assignment he made sure he had tea and dinner with us. We used to love his visits because he would bring chocolates and take us to The Bankipur club or some other dos . I distinctly remember we went over to Jamshedpur in the company’s BEECH CRAFT Bonanza 7 seater aircraft. We went there and he made sure we had a fun stay with visit to theatres clubs etc. Poor Ma would be left behind. To make it up Dad would come and pick after the holidays ended and he would bring Ma along.
Babooji was always there for anyone in need. My father specially attached to him when my brother wanted to study medicine. It was he who financed his education. As it happened he turned to be the only MD in the family. Babooji taught me how to be an achiever the spirit of giving has to be there. In part I have tried to follow him in his footsteps by helping others but we can never reach his stature or make such an impact to bring in social change.
My uncle ended up leading Tata Steel and making it a name to reckon with internationally and in India as well. It became a monolithic corporate giant and beacon of hope to many from the backward districts of Bihar and UP.
Although he enjoyed immense power money and influence he was always there for his family. For his brothers he was everything. Not much has been highlighted about his role in Tata Steel yet he made some bold changes in labor and management relations. He brought an end to trade unionism and restored investor confidence after the infamous lockout in 1958. Since then it may be recalled Tata Steel never witnessed a lockout or unrest again.
RS Pandey during his service was awarded the title of Rai Bahadur of pre independent India for exemplary service. He belonged to the first batch of IAS of Independent India. He represented India a number of times in ILO at Geneva. His labor management skills were put to test during the infamous 1958 Lockout at TISCO. He was successful in establishing trust and bonhomie between the management and the labor. Gita Piramal wrote a book on legends of India but skipped his contribution to the corporate world completely. RS Pande set the highest standards in corporate governance in his time. Not only that the Tatas also encouraged him to work on so many projects in the social sector in and around Jamshedpur and other parts of Bihar.
My Badka Babooji was foresighted enough to see the setting up of XLRI a premiere management institute of India. ‘ The Xavier Labor Relations Institute (XLRI), one of the oldest business schools in the country and among the best in Asia, close relationship with the Tatas ever since it was established in 1949. A number of people from the top brass of the Tatas have served as chairmen of XLRI’s board of governors. The list includes: Jehangir Gandhy, chairman and managing director (CMD) of Telco (Tata Motors); R.S. Pandey, managing director, Tisco (Tata Steel); Sarosh Gandhy, MD, Telco; and J.J. Irani, MD, Tisco.’ Hindu. My father was briefly the Head of Department of Community Forestry and Rural Development in XLRI.
He did serve the Tatas without any bias. He was and will be always the pride of our family. He suffered tremendously post retirement yet was strong and a guiding light for all of us.
In remembrance Badka Babooji aka R.S.Pande 1910 – 1990.