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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

An extraordinarily ordinary man laid to rest

Debashish Sarkar  Jamshedpur, May 20, 2014
First Published: 00:57 IST(20/5/2014) | Last Updated: 00:59 IST(20/5/2014)

It was the wish of Russi Modi, a former chairman and managing director of Tata Steel, to be laid to rest beside the tomb of his mother, Lady Jerby Mody, at the Parsee cemetery in the city, and so his ashes were laid here on Monday morning.

Mody had breathed his last at the age of 96 at his Belvedere Road residence in Kolkata in the night of May 16 and was cremated as per Hindu rituals at Keoratala crematorium on Sunday as per his wish. His ashes were brought in a private plane of Tata Steel here at around 9.45am.

Jimmy Mody, his nephew, and his wife Ferozi Mody performed the last rites of laying the down his ashes into the grave. Jimmy’s son Cyrus Mody was also present there. Mody had once told Jimmy, “People think of me as an extraordinary man but I would like to be remembered as an extraordinarily ordinary man.” He called himself a barefoot manager.

Former Tata Steel managing director Dr JJ Irani, Mody’s immediate successor in Tata Steel, along with his wife Daisy Irani, personal friend Naresh Kumar, former Tata Steel executive Niroop Mahanty and his wife Rupa Mahanty, Tata Steel VP Anand Sen, deputy VP Sunil Bhaskaran and Jusco MD Ashish Mathur paid their condolences at the cemetery.

Tata Steel principal executive officer Rajiv Kumar paid respect on behalf of MD TV Narendran who was out of the city. The steel major also organised a condolence meeting at Centre for Excellence on Monday evening.

And he had made history when he garnered over 2 lakh votes in Lok Sabha elections in 1998 as an independent. But he still lost to BJP’s Abha Mahato by 97,000 votes. “Jamshedpur has lost its hero who had a sense of humour and concern for all. My poll battle with him was so friendly that he used to say Abha-ji we will share the 5-year term, no matter who wins,” Abha told HT.

“Mody was the King of Jamshedpur, a large-hearted man. What he has done for Tata Steel, its workers, people here, no one else can. He was president of Karim City College for 10 years. He would dance with coolies and rejas (women contract workers) at ease,” recalled Mumtaz Hashmi, 82, academician and film buff.

Always sporting hawai shirts in vibrant colours, Mody was as colourful inside-from cooking 16-egg omelets to playing piano or taking an interest in sports. In fact, he was the man behind setting up of Tata Football Academy in 1987 and starting Super Soccer series bringing international clubs Bochum Junior and Sao Paulo here. Steel City Golf, one of India’s premier tournaments, was also Mody’s brainchild. He coined the slogans ‘Sports a way of life’ and ‘We also make steel.’


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