Padma Bhushan recipient (2010), Sant Singh Chatwal, an invincible Indian-American hotelier, has donned many hats. From flying jets to one of the biggest hoteliers of the world, he has been there and done it all. The world knows he realizes what ‘efforts’, ‘consistency’, ‘determination’ mean having climbed up from the bottom to the top. What the world doesn’t know, however, is that he values ‘values’ all the more. And hopes for the younger generation too to know learn the values.
The hotel tycoon has pledged to support the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee for the development of International Center for Sikh Studies at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib (New Delhi). The project was estimated to be around US$ 6-7 million of which Chatwal alone has contributed $1 million. The idea behind is to spread the enlightenment of the Holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib and the message of peace and harmony that it contains. With fully digital and hi-tech auditorium, research library, exhibition centers, museum, it displays Sikh history and values as well in story form.
At 74, he is dapper despite being all tied up with work. Yes, he was born just a year before his country’s independence and partition. Not the partition but he has faced the wrath of its after-effects – displacement.
Whatever he faced, Chatwal always dreamt big and high and never succumbed to failures. His dreams of flying high took him to Ethiopia for a job where he was asked to cut his hair, beard and moustache. Of course, he declined the offer and became a teacher and also started managing a restaurant for an American friend. That was his first stint with food business, and today he has established Dream Group across the most preferred tourist destinations.
However, his first step in food business, his own dhaba, came to an abrupt end when Ethiopia nationalized all businesses and he was displaced once again. What would you expect now? Losing heart? Not him! He went on to open his restaurant in Montreal, Canada, spreading his wings to New York with Bombay Palace, and gradually throughout the world… to spread Indian cuisine throughout the world, to rule the world.
Yet… he doesn’t let a chance go to visit India, especially Punjab and is still unable to resist Indian food, especially zeera aloo and khichri!
An Indian at heart and a hardcore Punjabi, he turned the tables upside down to help India and USA sign a nuclear deal. This and a lot more of philanthropy that he doesn’t stop with brought him the coveted Padma Bhushan in 2010. His proximity to the Clintons has often earned him US irk, but like said… This man is invincible, unstoppable and raring to go!