From Rs 25 to a Hotel Empire: The Inspiring Story of Mohan Singh Oberoi

Discover how Mohan Singh Oberoi, starting with just Rs 25, built India's second-largest luxury hotel empire and became an iconic figure in the hospitality world.

From Rs 25 to a Hotel Empire: The Inspiring Story of Mohan Singh Oberoi

Monday August 07, 2023,

2 min Read

Mohan Singh Oberoi's life is a powerful testament to determination and resilience. Born in a small village in Pakistan’s Jhelum district, he faced hardships from an early age. Losing his father at just six months old, Oberoi's mother had to shoulder all responsibilities. Financial constraints made him leave school early, working in his uncle’s shoe factory in Lahore. But life wasn't done testing him; the factory closed amidst riots, and soon after, he married Ishran Devi.

In search of better opportunities, Oberoi moved around, but jobs eluded him. A defining moment came when he received Rs 25 from his mother and moved to Shimla in 1922. There, he found a job as a clerk at The Cecil Hotel. What began as a modest role became a stepping stone, as Oberoi's hard work led him to play a significant part in the hotel's transformation.

His rise in the hotel industry truly began in 1934. By mortgaging his wife's jewelry, he acquired The Clarkes Hotel in Shimla. With dedication, he cleared the debt in five years. Later, he took over the struggling Grand Hotel in Calcutta, turning it into a success.

Under Oberoi's guidance, what started as a personal venture expanded into India's second-largest hotel company: the Oberoi Group. Employing over 12,000 people globally, the group symbolises luxury hospitality.

Recognised for his significant contributions, Oberoi received the title "Rai Bahadur" from the British Government in 1943. He is fondly remembered as the "father of the Indian Hotel Industry." Throughout his life, he received numerous awards, with one of the highlights being the Padma Bhushan in 2001 from the Indian Government. He passed away on May 3, 2002, leaving behind an inspiring legacy.

Mohan Singh Oberoi's journey, from his small village beginnings to global acclaim, reminds us of the power of determination. His story serves as motivation for anyone facing challenges, showing that with hard work and positivity, dreams can indeed become reality.