Ram Buxani came to Dubai with Rs5, but built Dh1 billion business empire

He was among the first few businessmen in the UAE who were granted Golden Visa in 2019

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Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 8 Jul 2024, 1:11 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Jul 2024, 8:31 PM

Dr Ram Buxani, chairman of ITL Cosmos Group, passed away in Dubai on Sunday. He was 83 years old.

Reaching the UAE shores by ship at the young age of 18 in November 1959, he only had five rupees in his pocket but he proceeded to successfully set up his empire into a billion-dirham company through sheer dedication and hard work.


Dr Buxani was not only a successful entrepreneur who established his business empire from scratch, but also a well-known philanthropist and a community leader who dedicated his time, efforts, and money to charitable works across the Emirates and abroad.

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He was among the first few businessmen in the UAE who were granted Golden Visa in 2019.

He was also part of the India Club, chairman of the Indian High School, and founder of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC).

Starting from a middle rank in ITL Cosmos Group, Dr Buxani grew up in the company and became chairman of the group. After taking the reins of the group, he expanded it aggressively in different sectors such as hospitality, IT, F&B and other emirates as well.

“As a young man with dreams, coming from India to this dynamic nation, it welcomed and bestowed upon me everything one could ever ask for. In a place like Dubai, opportunities abound for everyone, and with sincere dedication and hard work, success is attainable for all,” he told Khaleej Times in an earlier interview.

With a remarkable journey spanning over six decades, Dr. Buxani possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Dubai’s growth.

“These years have been quite a journey, witnessing Dubai’s fluctuations and transformations. The city, once defined by dunes, has now evolved into a technological hub and a melting pot of cultures. This country has been incredibly generous to me,” he said during the interview.

As a successful businessman, he was also instrumental in connecting, framing and boosting bilateral trade and economic ties between the UAE and India.

Some of his charity works and contributions

  • Rs6 million contribution to earthquake victims in Gujrat in 2011
  • Board member of Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities
  • President of Rotary Club of Jumeirah (Dubai)
  • Permanent Trustee of Indian Institute of Sindhology, Adipur
  • Director of Chinmaya International Residential School, Coimbatore
  • Founder chairman of the Overseas Indians Economic Forum (UAE)
  • Member of India Club
  • Founder of the Indian Business and Professional Council
  • Founder and chairman of Indian High School

A complete man

Suresh Kumar, Chairman Emeritus, IBPC Dubai, is a good friend of Dr Buxani for four decades. He said Buxani "was a complete person".

"He was very affectionate to his family members, business and professional community. He was a leader who established many institutions for the benefit of the community apart from managing his businesses," Kumar said.

Dr Buxani left behind three daughters and a wife. “He was a family man and embraced a wider family such as institutional friends, Emirati and Indian communities,” Kumar added.

Paras Shahadadpuri, chairman of Nikai Group, said Dr Ram Buxani’s most untimely demise is simply a shocking and irreparable loss to the entire community and diaspora.

“I arrived in Dubai in 1987 and had the fortune of meeting him soon after my arrival. We talked about creating a representative body of Indian businessmen and professionals. Thus the body Overseas Indians Economic Forum was born with him as chairman.

"After a few years, I succeeded him as chairman where we worked very closely for the economic growth of India and UAE. I found Ram full of ideas. He was a versatile human being, a leader and an astute businessman. He played a lead role in many dramas and plays. We lost a great personal friend and a pride of the community,” said Shahadadpuri.

‘Be a bird – soar and explore’

In his biography 'Taking the High Road', Dr Buxani honoured his heritage, acknowledging his mother’s struggle as a widow at the age of 36, and tried to inspire younger generations with his remarkable journey.

With extensive experience and leadership, he aimed to offer advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those striving to navigate the complexities of the modern business world.

In his biography, Dr Buxai said, "I often stress that it’s best not to aim to be an elephant. Rather, be like a bird — soar and explore. While we have aspirations and goals, destiny also plays a significant role. We can’t control everything. To summarise, I firmly believe that our fortunes are tied to luck, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t exert effort."

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