T. Damu of Taj Group is no more

Mr. T. Damu (78), the face of Tata Group in Kerala, author, and Journalist passed away in Trivandrum today morning.

T.. Damu hailing from Thalassey in North Kerala has had more than five decades of experience in varied fields such as administration, advertising, journalism, and public relations. He was served as the Vice- President (Corporate Affairs) of Tata Tea Limited. He was also the Vice-President (Corporate Affairs-South), Taj Group of Hotels, and continues to be associated with Tata Tea as Special Advisor after his retirement.                

Mr. T. Damu was a doyen in the Public Relations domain in India and the founder President of the Public Relations Society of India. He was very close to the Tatas and their Top brass throughout his carrier. His initial ‘T’ was synonyms with Tea and Tourism.

He started his career as a Journalist and later handled the Public Relations Department of Keltron when Mr. K. P. P. Nambiar mooted the idea to create a world-class modern electronic manufacturing unit in Kerala. He was instrumental in branding Keltron TV and Traffic signals as the best products in the country in their respective category during the early 1970s and 1980s. His close proximity to Mr. Krishnakumar of Tata Group brought him to Tata Fold in 1988 and joined Kannan Devan Tea in Munnar as Public Relations Manager. He played a pivotal role in launching Taj Hotels in Kerala in the 1980s with the support of Mr. Krishnakumar. He was also instrumental in forming the PPP between Taj Group of hotels and Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd under the Government of Kerala.

He has authored four books in Malayalam and two in English including the “The Tale of Tea” and “Munnar Rekhakal”, which depicts the History of Kannan Devan Hills in Munnar. He has received several awards for his outstanding contributions in various fields such as media, management, and public relations.  Travel Agents Association of India has bestowed him with the Best Travel Writer Award in September 2002.  He has also written a couple of literary books like ‘Lanka  Parvam’ under the pen name, T. D. Vadakkumbat.

His famous book, “Munnar Rekhakal” was an insider’s account of times past and present in Munnar. The book cover with the hero or anti-hero of 2009, the JCB, is a telltale one, and it is an attempt to put down on paper the history of the beautiful hills and how tea plantations came to stay there. The social and political history is intertwined with the efforts of the Tata group and the tribals from the place to keep the environmental balance in place.

With the support of documents that were dug out from among the records kept in the Tata offices, right from the early days, along with newspaper cuttings, Damu presents a portion of recent history too, when Munnar was lately in the news.

“When I joined the group in 1988, in the regional office, all land matters came under me. Since I was passionately interested in history, I took a keen interest in the early land records that were in the possession of the company, so I knew a lot about the hills,” said Damu, while interacting with media persons during the launch of the book.

He was a founding member of the Kerala Travel Mart Society also.

Mr. Jose Dominic of CGH Earth Hotels and Founder President of KTM Society, recalls how Mr. Damu,  contributed to the initial formation of the KTM society in many ways and how he was the face of the Taj Group in Kerala for a long period.

“‘ I had so many interactions with Mr. Damu and he played a key role to create world-class tourism infrastructure in Kerala – God’s Own Country in its budding stage.”

Mr. T. Damu has a good and cordial relationship with the Tourism India group. His monthly column in Tourism India since our launch issue in May 1998 on various facets of the Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality industry in India, especially in the Southern region got wide acclaim.

Team Tourism India pays our humble tribute and homage to the Departed Soul.

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