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 joined Indian Oil in 1977 and knew Mr. Raha since then. He had been a trainer, guide, mentor and role-model to many like me not only in Petroleum Industry but through out the PSUs. His intelligence, analytical ability, deep knowledge of a plethora of subjects from literature to science and capacity to lead with courage and by setting example has been without any parallel.

Similar to the remarks made about Gandhi, I feel - "Generations to come will not believe that - within the all pervasive pettiness of Indian PSU panoply, there was a person like Subir Raha, who always stood straight and made an everlasting contribution to culture, ethos and professional-morality while charting a new path of record output and efficiency for the organization he represented."
~ B B Choudhary, GM (Bio Fuels) IOC Ltd. & Chairman, IndianOil-CREDA Biofuels Ltd., via email


"I am the Legal Counsel of Geo Global Resources and in that capacity, I had the privilege of interacting with Mr. Raha five six times. During the brief interaction, I found him extremely sound, cool and level headed person. We sought his advice on some very ticklish issues. His response to them was almost immediate and very practical. He was blessed with vast experience in the Oil & Gas, had tremendous farsightness and what was most admirable quality of him, according to me is, he had simple solution to big problems. Though his tenure with GGR could be brief, I am sure the management of GGR will miss him for long.

Personally, I found him very loving and affectionate person. What I remember, I met him last on 16th December. He was jovial and positive as usual. He wrote to me very endearing mail on new year and he wished me to live a full life. Like they say, all great men know, when it comes. As a great man that he is, he probably knew the truth."
~ Avijeet Bhujabal, Geo Global Resources, via email


"I had the privilege of reporting to your father in the brief 3 months I was working in IOC. I was a trainee at Siliguri where he was the Terminal Manager. Even now I remember his penchant for perfection and rectitude. His devotion to duty was total. Unable to pronounce my name, he used to call me Shiv. Time has proved that he was a rare person. I have not come across a person with a combination of similar desirable traits since then (1976)."
~ K R Srivarahan, via email


"His enormous contributions for the country's progress will continue to ensure his presence in our hearts for ever. He will remain as an inspiration for many. Both of us were fortunate to be associated with him and learnt a lot from him."
~ Dr. V. Narendran, ISTD Fellow & NC Member & Dr. Rajeshwari Narendran, NC Member, via email


"As a bengali I am proud of your father the ex. chairman of ONGC. I went through the memorium of R.S.Sharma in the hindustan times today. Being such an important man how simple he was, Dr. Sandipan Banerjee, the famous eye surgeon of Siliguri, who operated your grandmother told us."
~ P K Chattaraj, via email


"I had the privilege of my association with Mr. Raha in the past seven years thro’ my connections in the ISTD. I had a few occasions to work with him closely on ISTD conferences and I also had an opportunity to be together in 2 conferences outside India. He was always kind and nice to me. As a non-ONGC person, I always felt I enjoyed his confidence. I had always admired and respected him as a great professional and a perfectionalist. Of course his contribution to ONGC and to India is legendary."
~ Dr. S. Venkataraman, Vice President – HR, DELPHI-TVS, Past President – ISTD, via email


"Management fraternity has lost a great visionary and thought leader."
~ Jagdish Ahuja, Executive Director, Delhi Management Association, via email


"Shri Subir Raha’s contribution to the Indian Industry is highly remarkable. During his tenure he transformed many organisations to achieve stupendous milestones. Seldom one may come across an excellence like Shri Raha who has played a crucial role in OIL PSUs like Indian Oil, ONGC and its subsidiaries, Petronet LNG as well as many Academia, Trusts and govt. organisations. Even post his tenure as the Chairman and Managing Director at ONGC, Shri Raha continued to contribute his expertise to many organisations. Indeed, the growth of Indian Industry is highly synonymous with the journey of Shri Raha."
~ V Vaidhyanathan, HT Media Limited, via email


"Your father was a legend who provided unparalled leadership in steering an organization of the dimensions of ONGC and gave it the true Global recognition transcending all geographical and mental barriers. Blessed are those who gave birth to such a worthy son. No less blessed are those who came to this life through him, and those who got to work and live with him for all these years. I hope you would continue to get his heavenly blessings and move ahead in life with steadfastness and unstinted purpose.

I am personally more proud of him because he is from Sylhet, the place where I do also belong to. Our second common root is in the North East India. The third common connector is being an ongcian. Above everything, we are connected by intellect. I hope he must have ignited the spark in you as well as your lovely sister. I believe you both must continue to keep the spark glowing for ever and protect it against getting extinguished. Take full care of your mother as worthy son and daughter of a worthy father.

View 'Tribute To A Departed Soul' - penned by Mr. Arjun, for Subir Raha"
~ N K Arjun, CG(S), ONGC, via email


"Shri Subir Raha would always be remembered, with gratitude, for his outstanding contribution for the growth of ISTD and his invaluable services rendered to all organisations, he was associated with."
~ Col (Dr) D P Dimri, ED, ISTD, via email


"He was a very dynamic person with strong principles and during his tenure as Chairman of ONGC his accomplishments were really unparalleled. I always remember him as a friendly and kind person who achieved a great deal with his sincere dedication and hardwork."
~ Surajit Chaliha, Former C&MD, Oil India Ltd., Group Advisor & Mentor, Jubilant Enpro, via email


"He was a constant source of inspiration for all of us at IndianOil all these years."
~ Kali Krishna, IOC Marketing HO, Mumbai, via email


"My name is Alan Sedghi and I was the Managing Director of SAP for many years, 6 of them in India. During that time, I had the honour to get to know your father and work with him towards the IT enablement of ONGC. I always found Mr. Raha to be a visionary and a statesman. I learned a lot from his excellent leadership qualities and people management skills. Indeed my best memories of India and corporate India are the privilege I had to know and work with a man of his caliber."
~ Alan Sedghi, via email


"It is a great loss not only to us but also to the nation as a whole for his dedicated service to the people. His service to the nation through ONGC, Various Social Service Organisations and above all the Alumni Association of Jadavpur University will be remembered for ever."
~ Partha Sarathi Mandal, Alumni Association National Council of Education, Bengal & Jadavpur University Delhi Chapter, via email


"Subir was a very old friend. We were at Eden Hindu Hostel (of Presidency College) in 1963-64. Subir did a year of Mathematics (Honours) at Presidency and I graduated with Physics."
~ Siddhartha Chaudhuri, via Facebook

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