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 really enjoyed meeting him and he was a great man."
~ Shadab Shazad Ali, via email


"I was fortunate to have worked with Sir during 1995-96 when he was ED-NR of IndianOil. His creative and innovative approach has had a lasting impact on me. I have been his ardent fan and his style and approach continues to inspire me. People like Mr Subir Raha actually don't die... they live on among their children, mentees and fans."
~ A Sajid Husain, via Facebook


"Your Baba was a wonderful man. Honest to the core. Bluntly so, which made me like him all the more. Hated hangers on and fawning. Spoke the truth. And had great values. I have enjoyed many addas with him, on the sidelines of conferences, on planes, and in airports. I pray that he went with as little pain as possible. And that your mother, you and your brother remember him for all that was good, honest, funny, quirky and occasionally opinionated.

Subir-da was a very good man. The Big Guy above don’t seem to make too many like him. And even if He does, most such people change to becoming survivors – accommodating and malleable to faults. Subir-da never did. And he just couldn’t be bullied. May he be arguing right now with the Powers that Be about the absurdity of Rites of Passage up in Heaven. And having fun doing it. With a vodka and a fag!!!"
~ Omkar Goswami, Chairman, CERG Advisory Private Limited, via email


"He commanded a great respect and his dynamism has been well recognised."
~ Dr. J S Juneja, Global Projects & Services Pvt. Ltd., via email


"I consider myself privileged to have known Mr Subir Raha in the capacity of a shining example of leadership which will be truly difficult to emulate. Under his capable command AIMA has performed with consistent excellence. His innovative syle of directorship marked him out to be one of the most dynamic management professionals that is has been my good fortune to meet. AIMA has lost a great man and a wonderful human being."
~ Sanjiv Goenka, President, All India Management Association, via email


"Your father's accomplishments and contribution to India will always be etched not just in business history but in all future endeavors of ONGC, IOC and Indian industry. I have never met him, but did read about his ideas, and putting them to action with determination and empathy. I truly missed the opportunity of meeting this great man."
~ Srinivas Duvvuri, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Rolls-Royce India, via email


"Your father's accomplishments and contribution to India will always be etched not just in business history but in all future endeavors of ONGC, IOC and Indian industry. I have never met him, but did read about his ideas, and putting them to action with determination and empathy. I truly missed the opportunity of meeting this great man."
~ Srinivas Duvvuri, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Rolls-Royce India, via email


"I had the privilege of knowing him and working with him closely. We were also hoping that he would eventually take over as the Chair of Transparency International India. He was such a dynamic person and I personally admired is grit and courage."
~ Anupama Jha, Executive Director, Transparency International, India, via email


"I have had the good fortune of knowing personally Shri Raha Sahib for the last 13 years. I first worked with him as a petroleum exploration consultant in the IOC while he was the Director (HR & BD). Thenceforth, we developed mutual appreciation and professional respect for each other and that relationship has remained for ever. I have the highest regards for him both as a human being and as an oil industry's topmost management leader. His contributions to the Indian oil industry have been many and matchless. He set an example for the country how an ideal leader should be. Shri Raha's premature demise is a great loss to the country and the fraternity of the Indian petroleum industry."
~ R C Fuloria, Petroleum Consultant, via email


"When Subir was the Director(HR) in IOC, I was his counterpart in Bharat Petroleum.We used to meet often on official matters and I always found him to be very sharp and intelligent.He was a person of great courage in the face of many odds and fiercely independent. His subsequent elevation as Chairman ONGC took him to great heights and also to turbulent times, much of which was in the public domain. As a colleague in the public sector I would admire his integrity and gumption to take on the high and mighty and despaired at his discomfiture. He was certainly an inspiration to many youngsters though it would be long before a tall man of his stature comes along in the entire public sector!"
~ S A Narayan, Retd. Director(HR), BPCL, via email


"He was a man of action."
~ J S Sodhi, Director, Shri Ram Centre for IR & HR, New Delhi, via email


"i have seen and heard his working as i work with m/s indianoil. i have heard a story about him , well i don't know how much it was true , but i find it worthwhile to share with you.

he was in best post of ioc and was most likely and eligible to be chairman of indianoil but reliance got feared of him and was shunted to m/s ongc. ongc tht was sick unit and was most likely to go to BFR but during his tenure whole game plan of ongc changed and we all know whts ongc is today. during his period ongc got bidding of many oil block. india got first mega public issue. i have no business association nor i have meet him. i am just a admirer of him.

i heard him only once when he came to my city in kanpur, i usually do not go these function but i want to hear him so i went during tht meeting i saw lot of people demanding lot many things and mr raha turn was last in speech the way he replied every one was stunning. his example was more practical and logical tht any body could no counter him.

there are few ppl i really appreciated in my life and undoubtedly he is among one of them. i personally feel he should have done more and government should have take more service of him rather then fighting with him."
~ Dr. Vikash Kanodia, via email


"He was a very dedicated rotarian of my club the RC Mid West... Your father showed great courage and a stoic acceptance of his long ailment."
~ Avtar Pennathur, Rotarian, via email


"Your father was a remarkable man and I consider myself fortunate to have known him for many years in my capacity as a journalist. I remember him as one of the most dynamic men I have met who had an incredible gift when it came to connecting with people."
~ Murali Gopalan, The Hindu, via email


"I knew he was not well, but did not realise that the end was so near and therefore it was even more shocking to be jolted in to this reality that the dynamic leader Subir Raha is no more. I have had the opportunity to know your father for sometime as CMD ONGC & later during the period he was President, AIMA. He made ONGC into a dynamic, global force that it is today and his contribution shall always be remembered."
~ K L Chugh, Former Chairman, ITC & Former President, AIMA, via email

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