Capturing the epic fallout

Book: Tata Vs Mistry: The Inside Story

Author: Deepali Gupta

Publisher: Juggernaut

Pages: 248; Price: Rs 599

Mistry had never been answerable to anyone in his life’ is “the line” of the book. This is the answer to the question why there was a fight between Tata and Mistry. The author writes, “At the SP (Shapoorji Pallonji) Group, Mistry’s decisions had been accepted as supreme. He had a proven track record ever since his joining at the age of 23.” The book lists several reasons and valid ones for both Tata and Mistry to be upset with each other but this one stands out as the most important one.

Majority of people have some idea of the family tree of Tatas, the book also clears the picture about Pallonji family tree where everyone in the tree has got the two words “Shapoorji” and “Pallonji” apart from “Mistry”. “Cyrus is the first exception in four generations”.

The book describes in details about the business history of both Tata and Mistry and their family along with their business and family, ties with each other over generations. One of the important revelations is how the Mistry family went on to own substantial stake in Tata Group and is very different from the general perception. Everyone is aware by now that Cyrus Mistry’s sister Aloo Mistry is married to Noel Tata, step brother of Ratan Tata, but not many will know that “perhaps Ratan Tata’s first driving experience was in Pallonji Mistry’s car”. Pallonji Mistry also known as “Phantom of Bombay House”, is father of Cyrus Mistry and, he and Ratan Tata have grown together.

For junior employees and small firms it will come as a solace that office politics has a place even at the topmost level in the corporate world and among the biggest organisations.

The author, Deepali Gupta has been a financial journalist and it reflects in the book. Some of the information given in the book could have been accessed only by a journalist. The fight to get public relation agencies and lawyers is altogether different. Wish the author could have also listed the side journalists and publications took. Analysis of different group company’s financial woes will make the reader draw his own conclusions.

In the beginning of the book, there is a brief about the important characters with their pictures. Reading becomes interesting when one can put face to the names in the book and the book scores on this count. But it is limited to only eight individuals who are more or less known to the outside world. It would have been ideal if ndividuals like Mehli Mistry, Sushanta Bhattacharyya etc could have also been featured in this section.

Omission of index in the book comes as a shock. The court cases are going on and will take a while to conclude, so in that sense the book is incomplete and a part two or revised edition has a market. I hope in later editions index will get its due place. But till then, if one is interested in the nuances of the fight, then this is the book.

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