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Ratan Tata reveals why he did not get married

Last updated on: April 14, 2011 08:42 IST

Ratan Tata reveals why he did not get married

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Revealing one of the best kept secrets of his personal life, the bachelor industrialist Ratan Tata has said that he had fallen in love and had come seriously close to getting married as many as four times.

But in the hindsight, he thinks it was not a bad thing to remain unmarried and the situation would have been more complex had he got married, Tata said in an interview to CNN International's Talk Asia programme.

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Image: Ratan Tata.

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"When you asked whether I'd ever been in love, I came seriously close to getting married four times and each time it got close to there and I guess I backed off in fear of one reason or another," he said.

He replied in the affirmative when asked whether he had ever been in love. When asked how many times, he replied, "Seriously, four times."

Ratan Tata, 73, heads one of the country's biggest business empires which comprises nearly 100 firms with revenues totalling about $67 billion.

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Image: Ratan Tata.

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He is scheduled to retire in December, 2012 when he turns 75.

Asked to speak more about his love life, Tata said: "Well, you know one was probably the most serious was when I was working in the US and the only reason we didn't get married was that I came back to India and she was to follow me..."

"... and that was the year of the, if you like, the Indo-Chinese conflict and in true American fashion this conflict in the Himalayas, in the snowy, uninhabited part of the Himalayas was seen in the United States as a major war between India and China, and so she didn't come and finally got married in the US thereafter."

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Image: Ratan Tata.

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Asked why he never got married, Tata said: "Each of the occasions (the four times he was close to getting married, but did not) was different. But in hindsight, when I look at the people involved, it wasn't a bad thing what I did. I think it may have been more complex had the marriage taken place."

Asked whether any of the people he was in love with were still in the city, he replied in the affirmative, but declined to speak any further on the matter.

"Oh, well, because of the people that are here, and, of course, this may be aired in the US. . . So I'd be in trouble, whatever I do. So I think I'd better stop here," he added.

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Image: Courtesy, Outlook Business.

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Speaking about the business environment in India, Tata said in the CNN International's Talk Asia interview that his group has succeeded in growing without indulging in things like kickbacks and bribes.

"I would say that we could have grown faster and could have prospered more as a group, but we have never, we have never in fact partaken in this kind of activity," he added.

Asked whether anyone in his company or any lobbyist did anything inappropriate or illegal, he added: "I can say with my hand to my heart that we have not in fact partaken in any clandestine activity.  I am hopeful that the investigations that are underway will truthfully bring out the position and that the truth will be on the table before too long."

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Image: Ratan Tata (C), chairman of the Tata Group, surrounded by the media.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters.
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Speaking further about the corruption issue, he added: "I think what's happening now in terms of things being before the courts, I hope will put things in the right perspective. I hope that it doesn't become a nation of scandals and allegations as they are," he said.

"I think more importantly the media has to be more circumspect and be careful they don't malign or allege or convict people before they've had a fair trial," he added.

Asked whether it was hard to be an honest businessman in India, Tata said: "I think there are many honest businessmen, I think there are many that bend. I'm happy that I have not bent, not that I am dishonest, that I have not bent."

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Image: Ratan Tata.

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Besides the group's promoter company Tata Sons, Ratan Tata is chairman of major group companies like Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels and Tata Teleservices.

During his tenure, the group's revenues have grown nearly 12-fold, totalling $67.4 billion in 2009-10.

He also serves on the boards of Fiat SpA and Alcoa and is also on the international advisory boards of Mitsubishi Corporation, the American International Group, JP Morgan Chase, Rolls Royce, Temasek Holdings and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.


Image: Ratan Tata.

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