Here’s a person who is an embodiment of giving his 100 percent in whatever he did. This man is a proof that every failure and bad time can be vanquished only if you keep on moving ahead with the belief that good things are just a turn away. When life was at its lowest, Mohan Singh Oberoi became aware of every hidden opportunity and changed his fate to become one of the most famous names of Indian hotel industry now.
The man who today owns property worth crores and is the chairman of Oberoi Group faced a series of failures and started his career with a paltry sum of only Rs 50. Born in a Sikh family from Pakistan’s Bhanau village in Jhelum district. Marred by poverty, challenges in his life began pouring right from his childhood days keeping him away from a normal upbringing. He was only six-month-old when his father passed away and all the responsibilities fell on his mother’s shoulder which was not an ideal situation in those days for a woman.
After managing his basic education from his village, courtesy his relatives, Mohan left for Rawalpindi where he took admission in a government college. With a degree in his hand he was confident to find employment but doors kept shutting in his face one after another as he set out for job hunting.
It was a wake up call for him. Only education does not make one employable.
Even after spending much time and money when he failed to find any job, he took a friend’s suggestion and joined a typing course in Amritsar. But within a few days he realized that this too will not fetch him jobs. He was disheartened as his future seemed to be going nowhere. All these years he had seen his mother struggle only in the hope that he would ease her burden after finishing his education and getting a job.
The cost of living in a city was burning a hole in his pocket so he decided to return to his village empty handed. His uncle in the village was moved by his condition and got him a job in a shoe making factory. But bad luck tailed him here as well. A while after Mohan joined the unit, it shut down forcing him to return to his village yet again. This time life took another turn and he was married into a family settled in Kolkata that originally belonged from his village.
“I did not own any wealth, had neither a job nor any worthy friends. It is quite a possibility that my father-in-law fell for my attractive personality,” Oberoi chuckles.
After his marriage, Mohan began to live with his brother-in-law in Sargondha, Pakistan hoping to get some employment but days kept passing by and nothing came his way. He once again returned to his village to find that the entire region was gripped by plague and people were dying in dozens everyday. His mother told him to immediately return to Sargondha and try his luck there. Mohan was on the verge of giving up on life and was gripped in tension and depression.
“One day, I saw a daily newspaper ad which was about a junior clerk position in a government department. I did not think much and with only Rs 25 that my mom had put in my pocket I set out for Shimla without any preparation,” Mohan Singh Oberoi recalls.
Shimla’s beauty struck a chord with him as he took a stroll down its picturesque roads. He stopped in front of a beautiful Cecil Hotel and headed straight to its manager. He was impressed by the man and asked him for a job after explaining his hardship and educational background. This was the time that his fate took a positive turn. He was chosen for the role of billing clerk against a monthly salary of Rs 40 which was increased to Rs 50 after some time. A residential quarter was provided to him on request where he stayed with his wife Irshan Devi.
Mohan had got this opportunity after many troubles so he gave his 100 percent to make the best use of the opportunity. His typing and stenography skills fetched him the additional role of cashier and stenographer. Mohan did every job with perfection bringing about visible change in the hotel administration.
He had come to Shimla barefoot with just Rs 25 in his pocket and now he was responsible for up-gradation of one of the most prominent hotels of Shimla. The hotel belonged to a British couple who wanted to move back to England and were impressed by his leadership abilities. They offered to sell him the hotel for Rs 25,000. Although it was a huge amount for him back then but Mohan knew this could change his fortunes forever. To arrange the sum, he mortgaged everything he could from his ancestral land to his wife’s jewelry and became the owner of Shimla’s Cecil Hotel on August 14, 1934. His hardwork ensured that he paid back all the mortgage money over the next five years.
Never did Mohan Singh Oberoi stopped working hard which is why he kept on climbing the ladder of success for many years to come. He established Oberoi Group of Hotels which has 35 luxurious hotels across 6 countries in the world, including Trident Hotels, with a total worth of more than Rs 7,000 crore. He has scaled his journey all alone with nothing to fall back on.
Mohan Singh Oberoi has written his name with golden letters despite starting from a remote village. His work has given him wealth and recognition at a global level making him a tremendous source of inspiration for everyone who says no to every failure that comes their way.
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