From the yesteryears: Ram Buxani in his office located on the Cosmos Lane of Meena Bazaar. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Indian businessman Ram Buxani passed away in Dubai a little after midnight on Monday, his family has confirmed.

He is survived by his wife, three daughters and seven grandchildren.

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He was 83 years old, one of his daughters Chetna Shastri told Gulf News.

Chairman of the ITL Cosmos Group, a highly diversified business group which is into distribution, indenting, retail, and manufacturing, Buxani was one of the earliest Indians to have settled in Dubai.

A resident for over six decades, he played a key role in the ITL Cosmos Group. Rising from being an office assistant in 1959, he steered its growth into a highly diversified business conglomerate with an emphatic presence in distribution, indenting, retail and manufacturing.

A prominent community leader, he was the Founder-Chairman of the Overseas Indians Economic Forum, a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) organisation which subsequently merged with the Indian Business and Professional Council in 2003.

Ram Buxani's success journey

In 1983, he also received a shield from the President of India for his contributions to the NRI community.

He was very closely associated with India Club Dubai, where he served as chairman from 2012 – 2015 and from 1990-1994.

Buxani also served as chairman of the Indian High School Dubai from 2000 to 2004.

A man of delightful anecdotes

Buxani was a man of delightful anecdotes which he was always ready to share.

Sailing on a boat from Mumbai, he first came to Dubai in 1959, at a time when the city was still part of the Trucial States.

“It was drizzling when I stepped out of the boat. Dubai was a small place and I saw the entire city in half an hour. Everyone knew everyone here. In fact, the moment I stepped out of my boat, people already had a whiff that someone called Ram Buxani had arrived from Bombay,” he had told Gulf News in an earlier interview.

He talked about the times when there was limited electricity and people made do with kerosene lamps and hand fans. “Nobody complained of heat, it was just a way of life.”

“At 6pm, a policeman would come knocking on the doors of establishments to ensure everyone had left the premises. The city would sleep by 6.30pm Something unimaginable now,” he had recalled.

He also spoke of how Bur Dubai’s Meena Bazaar, where the landmark ITL Cosmos office is located, got its name.

"I was the first to move to this lane from the abra side because of high rents and many traders followed suit. We were selling textiles and electronics. The place had a great vibe. As families strolled around the bustling market, looking at the glistening lights and dressed up mannequins displayed at the shops, they were reminded of Delhi Red Fort's Meena Bazaar during the Mughal era when a special closed market would be held for women of royalty," he had said, adding that the signboard on one of the shops - Sarda Trading - with the same name gave it an official ring.

A genial personality and a Sindhi by birth, Buxani did much to promote the Indian community’s culture and heritage.

He once said, “Sindhis have a variable personality. We melt into a culture just like sugar dissolves in milk.”

In fact, Buxani has authored a popular book on the Sindhi community. Titled Sindhis--God’s Gift to Global Economy, it dwells on the success of the Sindhis over the ages despite the odds. As it highlights, “Success is not built on success, it is built on failure, it is built on frustration, sometimes it is built on catastrophe.

In another book,  his autobiography Taking the High Road, Buxani retraces his own successful journey through the story of Dubai’s transformation from a small trading post to a global business hub.

First released in 2003, it covers 50 years of Buxani’s career and resonates with the lives of several successful expatriate Indians in the UAE.

Indian Ambassador pays tribute

Paying a rich tribute to Buxani, Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India, said, "The passing of Ram Buxani is a sad moment. In his passing, the community has lost a guide, a role model and a mentor. Buxani has done the Indian community in the UAE proud. He will remain an inspiration for generations of Indians who call the UAE home. He was one of the most prominent Indians in the UAE whose hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and service to the Indian community will always be remembered."