Ram Guha explains how, some of his recent studies had dented the reputation of JRD Tata “just a little”:

Here, as in that other remark made and recorded during the Emergency, JRD appeared to be saying: “The parliamentary system is not suited to our needs”.

Is there a sympathetic explanation? Ram Guha thinks so:

Viewed sympathetically, JRD’s attitude towards democracy might be understood as a product of the despair of old age.

Viewed sociologically, JRD’s views seem of a piece with the wider impatience with democracy and democratic procedures displayed by industrialists everywhere.

The bottomline?

But what if India was run as a well-managed company, with a brilliant and disinterested man (or woman) as its CEO? Might not poverty be removed much faster? Such appear to have been J.R.D. Tata’s political views. The best, or at least the most polite, word I can summon to describe them is: “naïve”.

By the way, similar “naive” views can also be glimpsed in some of the writings of (otherwise great) Raja Rao! Well, as a great materials scientist and physicist F C Frank is said to have remarked, “Crystals are like people; only defects make them interesting”!