Born in pre-partition Pakistan as one of 11 siblings, Sant Singh Chatwal defied the odds to become one of the most successful hoteliers in the United States. As Chairman of the highly successful Dream Hotel Group, and owner several restaurants, Chatwal climbed his way to the top to become the multi-millionaire he is today. But his journey to success was not always an easy one, as viewers learned on Saturday’s episode of ZEE TV’s new show, Those Who Made It.

During a time of political uncertainty, Chatwal vividly remembers spending six months in a refugee camp as a child. In the years that followed, Chatwal,  the son of a small tea stall owner,  recognized that his parents struggled to provide for 11 children. They often stressed the value of a good education, paving the way for Chatwal’s drive for success.

At the age of 21, Chatwal’s hard work would seemingly pay off when he was offered a high paying job with Ethiopian Airlines – a position that millions had applied for. In a devastating turn of events, the position came with one major caveat – Chatwal would have to shave his beard and remove his turban. As a devout Sikh, Chatwal refused to compromise his religious beliefs and turned down the job.

Chatwal would eventually be thrusted down an entirely new career path. From being an Air Force pilot to a teacher, fate had many twists and turns in store for Chatwal. In an exclusive interview with ZEE TV, Chatwal’s colleagues recounted their experiences working side-by-side with him as an instructor. He is praised for his hands-on teaching methods and his commitment to educate students. His former colleagues remember Chatwal as a devoted teacher, who had relationships with students that extended outside of the classroom.

While teaching, Chatwal would become friendly with a restaurant owner, who enlisted his help in marketing, and he would not disappoint. Chatwal was extremely successful in bringing in new business and ultimately, would he be offered a 50 percent partnership. This was a major turning point for Chatwal, who once again would be steered in a new direction with his career.

As fate would have it, Chatwal would need to re-locate to the United States, where he opened the Bombay Palace in New York in 1977 – the first Indian restaurant in the fine dining space. Less than a decade later, in 1986, Chatwal was already operating 76 restaurants in various parts of the country, sharing the love of Indian cuisine with the world.

It was with this continued drive for success that led Chatwal to pursue yet another new endeavor – the hotel industry. As a prominent and established business man, he recognized the need to revamp the hotel industry sought out to fill the void. Chatwal is credited with opening the first open air roof hotel in New York City. His hotels boast an impressive guest list of A listers, including Bill Clinton, Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

On this week’s episode of Those Who Made It, viewers learned that Chatwal always strived to achieve more. As a former refugee, he wanted to use his success to act as a voice for positive political change in the United States. He is credited with orchestrating the signing of the nuclear deal – a landmark deal in the history of Indo-American relations in 2005. As a close personal friend of President Bill Clinton, Chatwal also used his voice to help relations in his home country – India.

Today, Chatwal has 12 hotels with 3,000 rooms in Manhattan alone, along with 20 hotels around the globe. He is an influential political advocate and a generous donor to various causes, including education in India. As ZEE TV looks back on Chatwal’s many legacies on Those Who Made It, viewers will be inspired by his true “rags to riches” story, which is symbolic of the American Dream.

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