R. M. Lala

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Russi M. Lala, (22 August 1928 – 19 October 2012) the author known for his chronicles of Tatas, graduated with History Honours from Bombay University. R.M. Lala’s impressive career spans journalism, publishing, philanthropy and writing books, including the best-selling biography, Beyond the Last Blue Mountain: A Life of J.R.D. Tata.[1]


He started his career in journalism in 1948 at the age of nineteen and went ahead to establish the first book publishing house from India in London in 1959. He managed this publishing house till 1963 and in 1964, he founded Himmat Weekly with Rajmohan Gandhi which he edited for a decade. In 1974, R.M.Lala joined the Tata group and he retired in 2003 as director of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. During his association with the Tata group he authored a number of books celebrating the Tata heritage. R. M. Lala's books have been translated into other languages, including Japanese.

In his ‘early years’, he was fond of his father, Maneckshaw P. Lala, from whom he acquired an abiding love for literature. “The urge for expression marks the beginning of writing” says Mr Lala in his autobiography.[1] And it was this urge that made him write letters to newspapers during his teens – about topics ranging from cruelty to animals, to Gandhi and Roosevelt.

Heading the first Indian book publishing house in London was a turning point for Mr. Lala. It was here that he got a deeper understanding of Moral Re-Armament (MRA), subsequently renamed as Initiatives of Change, besides life and human nature. The discipline of an early morning ‘quiet time’ that the author calls ‘the secret of life’ was shaped during this period.

The author’s faith and purpose have seen him weather severe challenges to health. Cancer of the lymph nodes was first detected in 1989. He had to undergo chemotherapy, which he refers to as one of the most violent forms of treatment. “It is essential to recognize that life is larger than cancer” Lala states in his autobiography, adding that to confront any crisis, “we have to marshal our inner resources of strength.” Some of his most creative works have come after his epic battle with cancer. The updated version of "The Creation of Wealth" was followed by Jamsetji Tata’s biography "For the Love of India". Within six weeks of bypass surgery "In Search of Ethical Leadership" was launched. "Celebration of the Cells" is a detailed account by R.M.Lala written in the form of letters to prepare a friend who is also diagnosed with cancer. A free copy of e-book of "Celebration of the Cells" is available on Mr Lala's own website.[2]

Post retirement R.M.Lala has been involved in giving talks on the role of purpose in life, leadership and cancer. He has been associated with Moral Rearmament, an organisation based in Panchgani. He is also on the board for Bombay Community Public Trust and MS Swaminathan Research Federation.[3]

Centre for the Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP)[edit]

R.M.Lala is the co-founder of the Centre for the Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP) and has been its chairman since 1993. CAP was founded to enable people to build trusts for any specific purpose of their choice. It gives free consultancy services to NGOs regarding registration, taxexemptions, finance and management. It also makes periodic representations togovernment on behalf of the philanthropic sector.[4] CAP has played a facilitative role in introducing, for the first time in India, a 'Certificate Programme in Resource Mobilization & Management (CPRMM)' at the S.P. Jain Institute of Management Studies. Technical input for this one year course is being provided by the U.K.-based 'Resource Alliance', of which the Chief Executive of CAP, Mr. Dadrawala was earlier a Board Member.[5]

Books written by R M Lala[edit]

  1. The Creation of wealth - The Tatas from the 19th to 21st century; 1st published in 1981; ISBN 978-0-14-306224-0
  2. The heartbeat of a trust - The story of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust; 1st published in 1984; ISBN 0-07-463246-9
  3. In Search of Ethical Leadership - Includes Business Ethics of J.R.D. Tata; 1st published in 1986; ISBN 978-81-7094-631-1
  4. Beyond the Last Blue Mountain - A Life of J.R.D. Tata; 1st published in 1992; ISBN 978-0-14-016901-0
  5. The Joy of Achievement - Conversions with J.R.D. Tata; 1st published in 1995; ISBN 978-0-14-025064-0
  6. Celebrations of the Cells - Letters from a Cancer Survivor; 1st published in 1999; ISBN 0-670-88561-4
  7. A Touch of Greatness - Encounters with the Eminent; 1st published in 2001; EAN 9780141005195
  8. For the Love of India - The Life and Times of Jamsetji; 1st published in 2004; ISBN 978-0-14-306206-6
  9. The Romance of Tata Steel; 1st published in 2007; EAN 9780670081462
  10. The Thread of God in my Life - An autobiography with a difference; 1st published in 2009; ISBN 978-0-670-08268-1
  11. Finding a purpose in life - 26 People Who Inspired the World; 1st published in 2009; ISBN 978-81-7223-856-8
  12. Widening the Circle - The Art of Effective Giving; 1st published in 2011; ISBN 978-93-5029-172-6


  1. ^ a b [1] R.M.Lala's autobiography - The Thread of God in my Life
  2. ^ [2] R.M.Lala's Celebration of the Cells - Free e-book
  3. ^ [3] Other interests of R.M.Lala
  4. ^ [4] Centre for the Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP)
  5. ^ [5] CAP Contributions and Achievements

External links[edit]