Home Hotel industry Mohan Singh Oberoi’s journey

Mohan Singh Oberoi’s journey



“Where there is, will there be a way” – it may sound like a cliché, but the journey of Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi – founder of Oberoi Hotels and Resorts can be summed up in just one line. Or how else do you expect a young man with only Rs 25 in his pocket to build the second largest hotel brand in India and change the course of the Indian hotel industry? At six months old when he lost his father. The responsibility of caring for the family came on the shoulder of the widowed mother. So when Oberoi got old enough to help, he dropped out of school and started working in his uncle’s shoe factory in Lahore. Here he started working as a manager. However, before he could get things back on track, the factory was closed due to riots in the city.

At the same time, his personal life takes a new turn and Oberoi marries Ishran Devi. After his marriage he moved to Sargodha in today’s Pakistan, where he lived with his brother-in-law and looked for a job. But nothing seemed to work, and a disheartened Oberoi returned to his hometown of Jhelum District. He wanted to stay with his mother and take care of her but she refused and asked him to return to her in-laws. When Oberoi left, his mother gave him 25 Rs.

After years of struggle, Oberoi finally moved to Shimla and got a job as a receptionist at the Cecil Hotel with a salary of Rs 50 per month in 1922. While he came to Shimla to escape the epidemic of plague, his life was about to be changed forever.

Oberoi worked hard to make the most of the opportunity and was responsible for upgrading most of the top hotels in Shimla.

Then came the year 1934 when he acquired his first property, the Clarkes Hotel, from his mentor by mortgaging his wife’s jewelry and all the property he owned. Oberoi’s hard work and determination began to pay off and the hotel business was up and running. He paid off the mortgage amount in just five years. He then acquired the Grand Hotel in Calcutta which was for sale due to a cholera epidemic. This too became a successful business and there was no turning back.

Oberoi has acquired one hotel after another, and the group now owns and operates 31 luxury hotels and resorts not only in India but also overseas. In 1943, Oberoi was awarded the title of “Rai Bahadur” by the British government for his services to the Crown. And many awards and years later he received the Padma Bhushan in 2001.

MS Oberoi is often considered the father of the Indian hospitality industry and when he said goodbye to the world in 2002 he left behind an ever-strong legacy. Oberoi Hotels are an example of what hard work and determination can do and how you can rewrite fate if you have the will and the courage.

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