Mohan Singh Oberoi

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Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi (15 August 1898 – 3 May 2002) [1] was an Indian hotelier, the founder and chairman of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, India's second-largest hotel company, with 35 hotels in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Egypt, Australia and Hungary.[2][3][4]

In his obituary the Times of India said that he was acknowledged for putting the Indian hoteliering on the global map by successfully establishing hotel brands like Oberoi and Trident worldwide.[5]

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India's highest civilian awards, in 2001.[6]


Early years[edit]

M S Oberoi was born in a Punjabi Hindu family in Bhaun, a minor village of Jhelum District (now Chakwal District), Punjab, British India. When he was six months old, his father, a contractor in Peshawar, died, leaving his mother with few resources. After attending schools in his village and nearby Rawalpindi, he passed the Intermediate College Examination in Lahore, but was unable to continue attending classes because of lack of finances. Instead, he learned typing and shorthand and, in 1922, started his hotel career with a low-paid of INR 50 as a billing clerk position at Shimla's The Cecil. He was working there as a bellboy; within two years he assisted the Cecil's manager, Mr. Clarke, in purchasing The Carlton Hotel (renamed Clarkes) in Shimla, and ten years later, in 1934, upon Clarke's retirement, he gathered all the family resources to purchase the hotel.

Business and politics[edit]

As India became independent, M. S. Oberoi built additional hotels, while expanding his base holdings. In 1948, he established East India Hotels, now known as EIH Ltd., whose first acquisition was the Oberoi Grand Hotel in Calcutta.[5] In April 1955 he was elected President of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India, and in 1960 was named President of Honour of the Federation for life. He also participated in legislative politics by winning elections to the Rajya Sabha for two terms, from April 1962 to March 1968 and from April 1972 to April 1978. He was elected to the fourth Lok Sabha in April 1968, and remained a Member of that House till December 1970.[7]

In 1965, in partnership with international hotel chains, he opened the Oberoi Intercontinental in Delhi, India's first modern five-star, world-class hotel.


Throughout his later life M. S. Oberoi received numerous honours and awards from the Indian government and private organizations.

Almost all publications indicated M. S. Oberoi's year of birth as 1898 and his age at death as 103. In his own autobiographical sketch - How M S Oberoi became India's greatest hotelier,[8] however, he gave 1900 as his birth year, a fact attesting to his having lived to 101. However, New York Times obituary, the date is given as 1898 and the following was written: "He was 103, although for years he said he was born in 1900 because he did not want to be seen as dating from the 19th century."

Oberoi Group[edit]

The Oberoi Group, founded in 1934, employed about 12,000 people worldwide and owned and managed about thirty hotels and five luxury cruisers as of 2012. Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, ranks amongst the top ten hotel spas Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East of the Travel + Leisure magazine,[9] and ranked third in Best Hotels in Asia in 2007.[10] Other activities include airline catering, management of restaurants and airport bars, travel and tour services, car rental, project management and corporate air charters. The Group has a number of hotels worldwide, latest hotel additions being in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Egypt and Africa.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dare to Dream: a Life of Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi, by Bachi J Karkaria. Viking, 1992. ISBN 0-670-84723-2.
  • 216: M.S. Oberoi. 333 Great Indians, who is who & who was Who, from the Remotest Past to the Nearest Present: Philosophers, Politicians, Diplomats. Edited by Om Parkash Varma. Published by Varma Bros., 1963. Page 189
  • Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi: Father of the Indian Hotel Industry. by Chathoth, P. K. Chon, K. K. S. JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM EDUCATION, 2006, VOL 18; NUMB 1, pages 7–10. USA. ISSN 1096-3758.


  1. ^ Mohan Singh Oberoi
  2. ^ Mohan Singh Oberoi, 103, A Pioneer in Luxury Hotels New York Times, 4 May 2002.
  3. ^ The centennial Man Times of India, Sept 1, 2001.
  4. ^ Mohan Singh Oberoi - Founder Chairman - Official Biography Oberoi Hotels & Resorts
  5. ^ a b Noted hotelier M S Oberoi passes away Times of India, 3 May 2002.
  6. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  7. ^ Obituary Rajya Sabha debates.
  8. ^ How M S Oberoi became India's greatest hotelier by M S Oberoi,, 21 October 2005.
  9. ^ Top 10 Hotel Spas Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East Travel + Leisure.
  10. ^ Oberoi Amarvilas Travel + Leisure.

External links[edit]