The Man Who Took the Road Less Travelled

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It is with a deep sense of grief that Telangana Chamber of Event Industry (TCEI) joins
others in paying homage to its stalwart Founder Secretary, Shri Neeraj Singh Thakur, who
passed away untimely on 5th June 2021 following a massive heart attack triggered by
diabetic complications. It is unbelievable that the bubbly, enthusiastic and cherubic Neeraj
Bhai is no more.

Neeraj Singh Thakur, fondly addressed as Neeraj Bhai was a friend, philosopher and guide in true respect. A man of dignified word and deed, demeanour and disposition, Neeraj Bhai endeared himself to everyone he met. A distinguished professional, peer, and colleague, he was an outstanding philanthropist too. A highly respected leader, his contributions to the Events Industry and indeed scores of young entrepreneurs is immense. His philanthropic acts, mentoring skills were legendary as he believed in making active contributions in all the fields he delved in. Neeraj Singh Thakur was a pioneer of sorts, for he always took the road unknown, the road less travelled as it was his nature to challenge the conventional ideas, ways of thinking, and actions. His extraordinary approach to life, people and things made him definitely not an iconoclast but an icon in his professional and personal life.

Born in the year 1976 to a doctor couple, Dr. Ghanshyam Singh Thakur & Dr. (Mrs.) Swarnalatha Singh Thakur in Hyderabad, Neeraj Bhai lived life to its fullest, giving his generosity and benevolence to all the needy while carving an impeccable niche for the Telangana Chamber of Event Industry which he helped establishing in 2014 along with key members, Venkateshwar Akulapally, Balram Babu Alla, and M.K. Sudhakar. His yeoman efforts and key initiatives as Founder Secretary in the years that followed after TCEI’s formation were strategic. His efforts at uniting the industry are legendary and they paid – off. TCEI became a recognized industry body. Never before were the various personnel in Event Industry or the different verticals of the business united under one umbrella. The membership has grown to 300 plus under his leadership. The Chamber has 7 sub associations under the aegis of TCEI representing Event Managers, Artists, Venues, Facilitators, Caterers, Sound & Light and LED suppliers.

TCEI took up several industry issues and challenges and created platforms for education, health, wellness and skill development. TCEI was in the forefront of fighting the music rights piracy menace. The TCEI management also initiated the Event Industry Excellence Awards which has emerged as one of the biggest Industry Award events of India. An articulate and persuasive person, Neeraj bhai was a doctorate holder in Event Management, in addition to being a graduate in Law too. His contribution to the formation of TCEI was significant and is a celebrated milestone in the annals of Event Management history of Telangana. It was his knowledge and distinction of subject command that he could take the Event Management industry in Telangana to hitherto unreached heights accomplishing recognition, relevance and importance.

Effervescent and full of enthusiasm, grounded and plain speaking, his life was worthy of praise and even before he could achieve bigger things he had to bid adieu to the world. No doubt, Neeraj Bhai was an institution in his own right having achieved so much and given back so much to society. As the office bearers of TCEI sum up, his unassuming, warm and earthy style belied the powerful drive which propelled success towards him in all the fields he ventured into.

The Neeraj a very few knew… A Man for All Seasons

A precocious child and of inquisitive nature, Neeraj had the quality in him to do things unconventional right from his childhood. When boys of his age pursued science to become doctors or engineers, he took to arts and management. Being studious, articulate, balanced thinker and also of a creative bent, these subjects appealed to him quite naturally. His parents who were doctors wanted him to become a doctor but Neeraj had his way and went to do his Masters in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations. Eventually he did become a doctor in later life achieving a doctorate degree in the field of Event Management from Gwalior University and in a sense fulfilling his parents’ desire. Neeraj’s younger sibling, Prashant Singh Thakur carried on the family’s legacy by becoming a paediatric doctor. Thus, Neeraj’s Eventful Journey began.

Neeraj Bhai was apolitical but was attracted to the RSS Ideology since his youth. His chance meeting with Mr. Varanasi Ram Madhav, Former National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Governing Board member of India Foundation changed his life. It was in the 1980’s, Mr. Ram Madhav’s organisation was publishing articles on National Issues in magazines in Hyderabad. Enamoured of RSS ideology, Neeraj’s insisted on an opportunity to organize an event. Mr. Ram Madhav relented and helped the youngsters organise a program and also source speakers from Delhi. The program was a hit and young Neeraj savoured the first success in event management. Way back then he did not realize that he would in future be stepping into the world he desired so in a position of influence and authority.

He continued his relationship with Mr Ram Madhav and played a key role in taking care of the events and conferences organised by India Foundation. He also actively contributed to several non-profit organisations, Think Tanks like Pragya Bharathi to spread the Indian culture and values. Prior to his Masters in PM & IR, Neeraj completed graduation from the AV College of Arts, Domalguda, Hyderabad and set out to land a job for himself. Unlike contemporary graduates he chose Event Management and joined the Namdhari Group, an Event Management company. The field was in its nascent stage and prospects were literally unknown and uncertain. Being the explorer he was Neeraj stuck here proving his mettle to his employers and in later days he would recall how he progressed in his profession earning him accolades as well as promotions.

The quest for the unknown, taking the road less travelled were traits that Neeraj was endowed with and he made the best out of them, a career, a mentor, and an inspiration for others. Fame follows success and Neeraj was an authoritative name in the Events Industry circuit. In the early 2000s he started his own Event Management firm and very soon became a reputed name in the Event Management dossier of Hyderabad, India and the world across for the superb events he organized. He was also a much sought after professional speaker and a master for his keen mentoring and skill endowment. He is credited as a thought leader and visionary who navigated the Event Management Industry of Hyderabad to lofty heights of international recognition and relevance with his uncanny sense of purpose and business.

Success never went to his head and he was as grounded as ever. He was passionate about learning and advocated reading and assimilating new knowledge throughout life. He shared his passion, experience and insights, shaping the lives of many budding entrepreneurs. Simple at heart and warm in interaction, Neeraj was the cynosure of all eyes. His peers, friends, employers, business associates and all whom he came in contact with doted on him for his prudence, wisdom, and camaraderie. He was a man’s man and a human being for all seasons.

When the pandemic Covid-19 was ravaging the hapless people in 2020, Neeraj Bhai was in the forefront as always organizing relief, medicines, food, and monetary help to the needy and poor. This year, 2021, when the toll was heavy with scarcity of oxygen cylinders, Neeraj Bhai pitched in his support to organize the supply of oxygen with his own means. Never to cow down, he always created the path for all to follow. Little did anyone know that he would have to cut short his fight with the pandemic when he left for his heavenly abode on 5-6-21. TCEI bemoans the loss of Neeraj Singh Thakur, a great friend, mentor and leader of men. TCEI pledges itself to the personal values, the deep sense of commitment to social justice that could also be seen in the different social and business aspects of his life.

MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE