Subhash Chandra Goel, From a Penniless Migrant to Delhi to Media Mogul of India


With a wealth of $3 billion, through Indian television channel Zee TV, Subhash Chandra Goel is a media king with a vast industrial empire.  Zee TV has around 600 million viewers. Chandra is very much fond of meditation and believes that his entrepreneurial success comes from meditation practices. 

Early Life and how he dropped out of school Chandra was born in 1950 in Hissar near national capital Delhi.  He has an inspiring “rags to riches” story.  He has experienced extremely painful financial problems in his early life.  He comes from a trader’s family and belongs to a backward small town in India.  He had a large family with an approximate number of members equaling 86.  Somehow, the family went deep into debt and split.

He was dropped out of school to earn a livelihood and repay the family debts.  So, he moved to Delhi, the national capital.  He had less than hundred rupees in his pocket at the time.  But, he was hard-working and was blessed with business genes.  He started rice trading in Delhi and earned a sizable chunk of money before relocating to Mumbai.  In Mumbai, he started a packaging company, which is known as Essel Propack and has now become the largest producer of laminated tubes globally.

The industrial empire of Chandra Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.:   At present, Chandra is the CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.  The leading industrialist of India also promotes the Essel Group.  Not only is he a self-made entrepreneur, he is an innovative businessman, who continues to look for new opportunities and horizons for business.

He is called as “the media mogul of India” in the industry circles.  He is the owner of Zee TV, the first Hindi satellite channel.  He launched Zee TV, way back in 1992, along with Zee News, the first news channel (that was privately owned,) when India’s television industry was completely monopolized by the government and all national channels were run by the government.  At present, the Zee network is accessible in more than 165 countries around the world and its viewership is more than 600 million.

Other businesses: Chandra is the owner of many businesses, such as a newspaper chain called DNA (daily news and analysis) India, Zee Television Network, Dish TV, Agrani and Procall (satellite communications), cable systems, online lottery (, Zee Learn (educational enterprise), theme parks in Mumbai, Essel Propack (a packaging company), Essel Infra-Projects Ltd (builders), and Fun Cinemas (the family entertainment cine-complexes).  Therefore, we can say that his business skills and instincts match with the likes of Mr. Dhirubhai  Ambani, the founder of Reliance Industries.  His businesses are not ordinary businesses, but superlatives in their respective fields.  For example, Essel amusement parks in Mumbai are largest in Asia, the pagoda Buddhist Vapassana Temple has the largest dome in the world, the Essel Propack is the biggest specialty packaging company globally and Zee satellite TV is the first private satellite television in India.

The theme parks at Gorai, Mumbai

The Essel Group is known for two popular theme parks built in the suburban area of Mumbai oceanfront, which are major tourist hotspot in Western India.  These Gorai theme parks are known as Esselworld and Water Kingdom and the billionaire behind their development is Subhash Chandra Goel.  

The Buddhist pagoda to promote Vipassana, an ancient meditation practice

There is an unexpected growth in the tourist traffic to the Essel parks after 2008.  More than 10,000 tourists visited this place not because of any waterslide or ride, but to see the giant golden pagoda situated inside the complex.  It is visible from far off places in this area and its spire is incredibly high.  This pagoda is known for Vipassana training sessions, a meditation and healing practice discovered by Lord Buddha.  Though, the modest billionaire does not have his name inscribed anywhere on the pagoda, Chandra is the owner and organizer of this place. 

The renowned veteran Vipassana guru, Satya Narayan Goenka has been running the Buddhist meditation movement here for the past several decades.  The pagoda temple is built on a land spread over 13 acres.  The cost of the land is estimated to be around US$10 million, which was entirely gifted by Chandra to the temple.

The pagoda is 330 feet high and resembles Shwedagon Pagoda located in Yangon, which is around two millenniums old.  The temple was completed after a decade long construction activity, to function as the Global Vipassana Pagoda.  It has a big hollow dome, which is considered to be the biggest dome in the world.

He is also the inspiration behind the global Vipassana Foundation, an organization and a trust to encourage, spirituality and meditation using and sharing Buddhist practices, which are experiencing a revival across the world.  He himself associates his business success to these meditation practices, which bring spiritual peace, calmness and stability to an individual’s personality, especially in tough times.  Or, when he is under pressure from different corners and lacks inner strength to face the ups and downs of life.  

Awards and honors Chandra is the recipient of the Hall of Fame Award for his continued contribution to business.  He is also the recipient of the International Emmy Directorate Award 2011, held in New York.  In the list of richest Indians issued by Forbes, he ranks at 22nd spot.

A philanthropist

Chandra is also known for his philanthropy and generosity.  He has started a venture named as TALEEM, which is aimed to provide quality education in the remote areas of the country, using online learning tools.  He is also running a movement called the Ekall Vidyalaya Foundation of India (EVFI) to promote literacy in the remote areas of the country.  It is also known to spread education in the tribal population and imparts education to these neglected and downtrodden communities, absolutely free.  Around 28,000 tribal villages and 10 lakh children are getting benefited through this project.

Personality and faith system

Chandra firmly believes in the doctrine of Karma, the ancient Hindu faith system, in which our destiny or the courses of the future events are directly linked to our actions.  He does not have selfish motives, and that is the reason all his businesses seems to have a divine support.  

According to him, to live a happy and successful life, you need to take success in your stride and shrug off failures as just the passing events.  He says that failures are not permanent and we should not be complacent by success.  We should keep on doing our karma and leave the rest to God.  There is no doubt that his karma is evident in his worldly success and spiritual calm.

Salary of Subhash Chandra Goel

We have not found salary data of CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited Subhash Chandra Goel from any reliable sources like ToI, Forbes, ET and other reputed news papers and Media houses, even we have not found salary detail of Subhash Chandra Goel in BusinessWeek magazine too, but as per the Forbes Subhash Chandra Goel is 25th richest personality of India in 2013, he was at 23rd position in 2012, his total wealth is 2,350 Million USD.

Last Updated: June 7, 2013

Tags : media mogul of India, Vipassana, pagoda, Essel Group, Zee Entertainment, Zee TV, Essel World, Essel Propack

About Nashaat Quadri

Freelance Content Writer (Compare Infobase, New Delhi.) Ex Sr Content Writer, Western Software, New Delhi. Ex Relationship Manager, Mashreq Bank, Dubai.