tributes: 95
Since my father Subir Raha passed away on February 1, 2010, my family has received hundreds of letters, emails and texts from his friends and associates - professional and personal, and also many people who had never met him in person or interacted with him directly, but have yet been moved in some way by his work and his personality. Words cannot express the pride and amazement we feel at the tributes we have received, at the fond reminiscences, and at the genuine outpouring of regret that he is no more. I'm sharing as many of the tributes as has been possible for me to digitise at this moment, since the bulk of the letters and memorial notes have to be manually keyed in, and a warm thank you to everyone for taking the time to write in and share your thoughts. ~ Shuva Raha


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From the Government of India:

"I am deeply grieved to learn about the passing away of Shri Subir Raha."
T K A Nair, Principal Secretary, Prime Minister's Office, New Delhi, via post


"Shri Raha has been one of the well-known and most knowledgeable technocrat oil industry had ever known. His tenure in the oil industry started from being a Marketing Executive to reach the peak of heading India's number one 'Navratna Company' is in itself a milestone. The imprint that he has left in oil industry will inspire many to learn from his vast knowledge and experience. The industry has lost a doyen and a good human being."
Jitin Prasada, Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India, via post


"We lost a great son of our State. He was of great help in our strive towards the industrial development of our State. As Chairman of the Expert Committee of PCPIR constituted by the Government of West Bengal, his contribution will always be remembered."
Nirupam Sen, Minister-in-Charge, Department of Commerce & Industries, Industrial Reconstruction, Public Enterprises and Development & Planning, Government of West Bengal, via post


"I had known Subir for quite a while. He spoke his mind freely without fear or favour. He was one of the finest Chief Executives I have seen."
B K Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission


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From mentors, peers, colleagues, associates, friends and the general public, in random order:


"I had the occasion to hear Mr Raha speak at the annual convention of the All India Management Association in Hyderabad in 2005. I had of course earlier read about Mr Raha and was impressed with his views, vision and forward thinking. Indian industry and management professionals are certainly much the poorer by his departure."
~ Sandeep Bastodkar, Head Finance, Accounts & Admin, Span Overseas Limited, via email


"Mr Raha was one of the most knowledgeble person I have ever met. I learnt a lot on the petroleum sector from him.

Will always remember you as the most dynamic CMD amongst all Indian PSUs."
~ Yeshi Seli, Assistant Editor, Business India, via email & Facebook


"Shri Subir Raha will always be remembered for his outstanding contributions to ISTD. He exemplified a trainer's achievement through his personal progress to lead one of the largest organisations of the country, thereby giving new stature and position to ISTD."
~ Aaditya Moona, Regional Vice President, Chairman, Mumbai Chapter, ISTD, via email


""When I joined our family business, RKBK, in the mid to late 1990s, people like Mr Raha were in very senior posts at IOC. These were stalwarts who first became family friends and then became family. So much so, that 3 years ago, when I was planning a bio-fuel venture, the 1st person I went and met was Mr Raha. I continuously interacted with him for about a year and he guided me like a mentor. When my overseas partners decided to form a Mauritius domiciled Fund, he graciously agreed to Chair it.

He opened a Facebook account a few months ago and I was invited to become a 'friend' as were several others. I thought that here is a cancer patient who is suffering so much on one side but living life to the fullest on the other.

I learnt from Mr Raha that one was never too busy to respond - and that too properly - to a phone call, email or fax no matter how important or busy one was. I also realised that clarity of thought is very important. I saw how clever and gutsy he was in handling situations that were tricky and tough respectively. I saw in him a firm belief in the honesty of his personal vision. Above all, his humility and love for us youngsters to do something worthwhile for the Nation.

One can write and write and yet it can never be enough. I wonder that if my experience - really the last 2 or 3 years after his retirement from ONGC - is so overwhelming, what would be the experience of the thousands with whom he has worked so closely all these years."
~ Yash Poddar, RKBK Limited, via email


"We experience a great loss in his passing away as he was totally different as a human being who could guide, favour and help people without making it obvious. Our family is beholden to him."
~ Suresh Neotia, RKBK Limited, via email


"His services to ISTD is remembered forever and his guidance and leadership brought ISTD in to newer heights."
~ Dr. B Demudu, Hony.Secretary, ISTD, Visakhapatnam Chapter, via email


"I learn the sad demise of that great leader who contributed greatly to the Nation generally and particularly to the ISTD."
~ Prof V P Narayanan Nair, Chapter Chairman, ISTD Trivandrum, via email


"It is needless to say that Shri Subir Raha was solely instrumental in identifying Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical as an ideal fit for ONGC to get into the downstream sector and become an integrated oil major on the lines of Shell. The ONGC was deprived of one of the best brains in the hydrocarbons business."
~ Mahendra Ramdas, The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, via post


"Shri Raha, Former Chairman of ONGC and a former Council Member of IEI, who had distinguished himself as an engineer, has left behind an example of dedicated service to the profession. His contribution in the field of engineering was exemplary. The vaccum created by his passing away will be difficult to be filled."
~ Madan Lal, President, The Institution of Engineers (India), via post


"His departure leaves behind a big void. A void, which even the passage of time will be unable to fill. Over the years we had developed a warm friendship and I shall miss him dearly. He shall always be remembered for the wonderful person he was, with many outstanding qualities."
~ Rajive Kaul, Nicco Limited, via post


"He was an icon who possessed indomitable spirit to excell and reach his goals. A very understanding CMD. I feel I have never come across such a vibrant personality. May his soul rest in peace."
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"Ongcreports was a boon for us to vent our feelings and Rahasaab was a guardian to me after my father left me who had also similar look. I met him at Kottackal and I was at ease talking to him when people were so terrified of him. He was loving and affectionate within to all but gave a different outward impression to prevent corrupt and irresponsible people from approaching him."
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"Heard that the memorial meeting was well attended and a number of decisions were named after him as glowing triibute for his contributions Long live Rahasir in our hearts."
~ Sudeep Abraham Matthew K, ONGC, via Facebook


"Truly he was a gem of a person in every aspect. Along with you I can say the country will be missing him."
~ Arun Kumar Nair, Mumbai, via email


"Fortunate to see you so closely for 2 years... A Gr8 Teacher, A Gr8 Boss, A Gr8 Motivator, A Gr8 visionary... Above All a Gr8 Human being... Hats Off 2 U..."
~ Partha Mitra, Advisor, Exploration Portfolio & BD, Cairn India, via Facebook


"Shri Raha was a person who possessed high professional excellence which was reflected in diverse positions he occupied. He had a sharp mind full of innovations. He had the quality of leadership inculcated by partnership. His professional skills and qualities of leadership blossomed to a peak as Chairman of ONGC. He was a bold decision maker who pursued his goals with determination. It was a great pleasure to work with him."
~ Dr. S R Mohnot, Executive Chairman, Centre for Industrial & Economic Research, via post


"Shri Subir Raha would always be remembered, with gratitude, for his invaluable services rendered to all organizations, he was associated with."
~ Dr. S K Tamotia, Director General, Bhavan's Centre for Communication & Management, via post

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