One of the greatest tycoon in India who started out with nothing but created his standard in the hospitality industry is Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi also known as the “Grand Old Man of the Indian Hospitality Business”, the founder of The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts.

Who was Mohan Singh Oberoi?

Mohan Singh Oberoi was born in a Sikh family in Bhanau village Pakistan. He was only six when his father passed away and after the huge loss all the responsibility of Oberoi family came on his mother’s shoulder which was not a favourable situation in those days for a single mother. Hence when he was old enough to take the responsibility, Mohan Singh decided to drop his studies and began working in his uncle’s shoe factory in Lahore (before Partition) as a manager in 1918. But the factory closed within a year itself due to riots across Amritsar and at the same time his life took another turn when he got married to Ishran Devi. After his marriage, Mohan Oberoi began to live with his brother-in-law in Sargondha, Pakistan hoping to get some work but days kept passing by and he was not employed. After spending time and money when he failed to find any job, Mohan Singh came back to his village. Mohan Singh wanted to stay with his mother to take care of her but she refused and instead asked him to return to his in-laws house and find some job. It is said that when MS Oberoi was leaving for Pakistan, his mother gave him Rs 25.

Rags to riches

After a lot of struggle and failures, in 1922, Oberoi came to Shimla and got a job as a front desk clerk at The Cecil Hotel at a salary of Rs 50 per month. Mohan had got this job after many problems so he gave his best to make this an opportunity. MS Oberoi had come to Shimla barefoot with just Rs 25 with him he was responsible for the renovation of one of the most outstanding hotels of Shimla.
In 1934, Mr. Oberoi earned his first property, The Clarkes Hotel, from his mentor by depositing his wife’s jewellery and all his assets. His durable work ensured that he paid back all the loan money over the next five years. After that, he signed a lease to take over the five hundred rooms Grand Hotel in Calcutta that was on auction following a cholera epidemic. With his expected confidence and sheer strength of mind to succeed, he was able to transform this hotel into a highly money-making business venture. Mohan Singh Oberoi never stopped working hard which is key to his success and that’s why he always kept on ascending the ladder of success.
MS Oberoi discovered India’s second-largest hotel company and the group gave employment to more than 12,000 people and operates 31 luxury hotels and luxury cruisers in five countries, primarily under its Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Trident brands. Mohan Singh Oberoi is recognised as the father of the Indian Hotel Industry, who has left behind a legacy of service quality and perfection, which is reflected in his creation of the Oberoi Group of hotels.
In 1943, Mr. Oberoi was convened the title of Rai Bahadur by the British Government in gratitude of his services to the Crown. Thereafter, Mr. Oberoi got applauded and received several national and international honours including admission to the Hall of Fame by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Man of the World award by the International Hotel Association, New York. In 2001, the Government of India awarded him with Padma Bhushan. After living his life purposefully Mohan Singh Oberoi took his last breath on May 3, 2002. He spent most of his life in village and also he did not had accessibility to many facilities. He was globally known for his good deeds & recognition. He is true inspiration for all the upcoming generation.

The idea was never merely to make money. The compulsion was to think big, always to offer the best. To get there, you have to dare to dream — Mohan Singh Oberoi.