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Mohan Singh Oberoi ( M.S.

Oberoi) can be aptly termed as the father of the India


n hotel industry. Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi was among the first to recogniz
e the potential of the tourism industry, its ability to contribute to Indiaâ s econ
omic growth and generate direct and indirect employment. He worked tirelessly to
put Indian hotel industry on global tourism map.
M.S. Oberoi was born on August 15, 1898, in the erstwhile undivided Punjab, now
in Pakistan. He did his early schooling in Rawalpindi and completed his graduati
on from Lahore. In 1922, to escape the epidemic of Plague, he came to Shimla, an
d got a job of front desk clerk, at The Cecil Hotel at a salary of Rs 50 per mon
th.
M.S. Oberoi was a quick learner and shouldered many additional responsibilities
along with the job of desk clerk. M. S. Oberoiâ s diligence prompted Mr. Clarke to
request Mohan Singh Oberoi to assist him when he acquired Clarkes Hotel. At the
Clarkes Hotel, M.S. Oberoi gained first hand experience in all aspects of hotel
operations.
In 1934, M.S. Oberoi acquired The Clarkes Hotel from his mentor, by mortgaging h
is wifeâ s jewelry and all his assets. In 1938, he signed a lease to takeover opera
tions of the five hundred room Grand Hotel in Calcutta, which was up for sale fo
llowing a cholera epidemic.
In 1943, Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi, acquired the controlling interest in th
e Associated Hotels of India (AHI) which owned the Cecil, and Corstophans in Shi
mla, the Maidens and the Imperial in Delhi, and a hotel each in Lahore, Murree,
Rawalpindi and Peshawar. He thus became the first Indian to run the largest and
finest hotel chain.
In 1959, The Oberoi Group became the first group to start flight catering operat
ions in India. In 1965, M.S. Oberoi opened the first modern, five star internati
onal hotel in the country, The Oberoi Intercontinental, in Delhi. In 1966 he est
ablished the prestigious Oberoi School of Hotel Management, recognized by the In
ternational Hotel Association in Paris. In 1973, The Oberoi Group opened the 35
storey Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai. Rai Bahadur M.S. Oberoi was the first to emplo
y women in the hospitality sector.
Today, The Oberoi Group owns or manages 37 luxury and first class international
hotels in seven countries.
M.S. Oberoi was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1962 and in 1972. He was also elec
ted to the Lok Sabha in 1968.
M.S. Oberoi was recipient of many awards and honours. In 1943, he was conferred
the title of Rai Bahadur by the British Government. Other honors include admissi
on to the Hall of Fame by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA); Man of T
he World by the International Hotel Association (IHA) New York; named by Newswee
k as one of the "Elite Winners of 1978" and the PHDCCI Millennium award in 2000.
M.S. Oberoi was honored with Padma Bhushan in 2001.
M.S. Oberoi passed away on May 3, 2002 at the age of 103.
The Oberoi Group, founded in 1934, now employs about 12,000 people worldwide and
owns and manages about thirty hotels and five luxury cruisers. Oberoi Amarvilas
, Agra, ranks amongst the Top 10 Hotel Spas Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle
East of the Travel + Leisure magazine. [7], and also Rank 3rd in Best Hotels in
Asia in 2007 [8]. Other activities include airline catering, management of rest
aurants and airport bars, travel and tour services, car rental, project manageme
nt and corporate air charters. The Group has a number of hotels worldwide, lates
t hotel additions being in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Egypt and
Africa.
Role as politician and business statesman
As India became independent, M. S. Oberoi built additional hotels, while expandi
ng his base holdings. In 1948, he established 1948, East India Hotels now known
as EIH Ltd., whose first acquisition was the Oberoi Grand Hotel in Calcutta [1].
In April 1955, he was elected President of the Federation of Hotel and Restaura
nt Associations of India and in 1960 was endowed as the President of Honour of t
he Federation for life. He also participated in legislative politics by winning
elections to the Rajya Sabha for two terms, Throughout his later life M. S. Ober
oi received numerous honours and awards, both from the Indian government and pri
vate organizations and came to be seen as an emblematic figure in transformation
of modern India. Upon his death, extensive tributes poured in from the country'
s business community.

The Oberoi Group, founded in 1934, owns or operates 27 hotels and 3 cruise liner
s in five countries. The Group is also engaged in flight catering, in managing a
irport restaurants, in travel and tour services, in car rentals, in project mana
gement and in corporate air charters.

Almost all publications indicated M. S. Oberoi's year of birth as 1898 and his a
ge at death as 103. In his own autobiographical sketch - How M S Oberoi became I
ndia's greatest hotelier [6], however, he gave 1900 as his birth year, a fact at
testing to his having lived to 101. However, in his 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 f
rom the 19th century."
Awards and accolades
Oberoi Hotels & Resorts have received numerous awards and accolades over the yea
rs. Three Oberoi hotels were ranked amongst the six best in the world by the rea
ders in "Travel + Leisure Worldâ s Best Awards 2008". "The Oberoi Rajvilas", Jaipur
; "The Oberoi Udaivilas", Udaipur and "The Oberoi Amarvilas", Agra were rated 2n
d, 4th and 6th best hotels in the world respectively. In the same readersâ poll, T
he Oberoi Rajvilas, The Oberoi Udaivilas and The Oberoi Amarvilas were ranked 1s
t, 2nd and 3rd best hotels respectively in Asia.
Hotels
The foundations of the Oberoi Group date back to 1934 when Rai Bahadur Mohan Sin
gh Oberoi, the founder chairman of the group bought from an Englishman; two prop
erties - The Clarke's in Delhi and The Clarke's in Shimla. In the ensuing years;
Mr.Oberoi continued the expansion of his group with properties both in India an
d abroad.
Today; his son; Mr.P.R.S.Oberoi is the Chairman of The East India Hotels (EIH);
the holding company for the group and his grandsons; Mr.Vikram Oberoi and Mr.Arj
un Oberoi serve in the capacities of Joint Managing Directors.
Presently, under the Oberoi brand; the group owns and operates 16 luxury hotels
and 3 luxury cruise liners in India, Mauritius, Egypt, Indonesia and Saudi Arabi
a.
Their offering of 5-Star Business hotels; Trident Hotels own or operate 9 proper
ties in India.
The Group also operates the Clarke's Hotel in Shimla and the Maiden's in Delhi.
These two properties; however are neither under the Trident nor under the Oberoi
brand.