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Obituary | Rukma Shumsher Rana: A cosmopolitan businessman and diplomat

Kumudini Pant

Kumudini Pant

Obituary | Rukma Shumsher Rana: A cosmopolitan businessman and diplomat

To him, family’s happiness was the benchmark of success. That was the reason he considered his time away from home as a sacrifice

Birth: 12 March 1936, Kolkata
Death: 11 September 2021, Battisputali

Born to the late Nepali Congress founder, political leader, and former Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal Subarna Shumsher Rana during his exile in Kolkata, businessman Rukma Shumsher Rana got his school education at The Doon School, Prince of Wales, and North Point.

Rana’s father and his uncle were fairly successful businesspersons, despite living in exile. As a result, he and his brothers lived a comfortable life. But Subarna Shumsher was worried his sons would grow up spoilt, and this prompted him to send them to boarding schools at a young age.

Rana went to St. Xavier’s College in Darjeeling for his Bachelor’s degree. He then earned his Master’s degree in Modern History from Calcutta University.

Although Rana, the youngest son of the family, grew up in India, he always knew his roots, and the family returned to Kathmandu after the restoration of democracy in Nepal in 1950.

Upon returning, he, along with his brothers, started looking for business ventures in the country. Back then, there were only a few companies in Nepal and even fewer with factories of their own. Rana invested some money in the then Hetauda Leather Factory. The venture wasn’t successful but it gave him a taste of investing in Nepal.

When he approached the Indian health care company Dabur, the executives were hesitant to step in the Nepali market. However, Rana convinced them, saying that if they wish to expand into the international market, their neighboring country should be their first choice. A decade later, Dabur went on to become one of his most successful businesses in Nepal as he was named a partner in the company and Managing Director of Dabur, Nepal. Besides this, his family also invested in real estate in Kolkata.

A diligent and hardworking man until his last breath, Rana was also interested in sports. He served as National Sports Council (NSC) member-secretary twice between 1993 and 1999. In 2003, he went on to become the chairperson of the Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC), of which he was recently appointed honorary chair. Rana served as acting president of the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), the president of the Nepal Taekwondo Association as well as of the Nepal Athletics Association. His participation in sports often had him traveling to many countries—especially SAARC countries—and, despite the enjoyable experience, he had to spend considerable time away from his family, which he found challenging.

To him, his family’s happiness was the benchmark of success. That was the reason he considered his time away from home as a sacrifice. Nonetheless, his travels helped him establish personal networks around the world. Partly as a result, he served as Nepal’s ambassador to India from 2009 to 2011.

His father had once advised him that other’s opinions shouldn’t matter because you know what you are and no one can take that from you. Rana only took offense when people questioned his intelligence. He was an open-minded, communicative, and well-respected businessman who treated others well and expected to be treated the same way in return.

Rana was battling kidney-related ailments, diabetes, and hypertension for some years and had been undergoing dialysis after a kidney transplant when, on September 11, he suddenly suffered health complications at night. He passed away at his residence at Battisputali. He is survived by his wife and a daughter.