India Abroad October 3, 2014 Response Feature A71
HR Shah has endeared himself as a close friend of the Indian community throughout the United States, by serving it for over 30 years.
As a well-known entrepreneur, media magnate and a philanthropist, he has generously donated his time, energy and
resources to serve the Indian American community. H.R. Shah
is among the first NRIs to run a 24-hour, coast-to-coast TV station, TV Asia, in North America on satellite and cable.
Legendary Indian filmstar Amitabh Bachchan founded TV
Asia in 1993 with its slogan “Home Away from Home.” Shah,
after becoming chairman, reorganized the network into a
dynamic channel and TV ASIA was launched in North America
on April 2, 1993. At TVAsia’s sprawling headquarters in
Edison, NJ, Shah has named each studio after an outstanding
personality of India (for example, Mahatma Gandhi Studio,
Sardar Patel Studio and so forth).
“I decided to do it this way because of my immense pride
for my motherland, India,” he says.
Shah has also launched a 24/7 free broadcast ethnic radio
station, Radio Asia, in the US, making it an additional strong
media vehicle for Indian Americans and Indian culture.
Shah’s newest offering comes in the form of South Asian
Family Entertainment (SAFE), which brings more than 40
channels and other programming in various languages, from
India into homes across North America. The channels are
available via a variety of platforms, including cable, satellite
Shah is also among the first NRIs to own a chain store
business anywhere in the world. A turnaround expert, he
became prominent for rescuing Krauszer’s Food Stores, New
Jersey’s largest chain with over 400 convenience stores. He
took over the firm in 1991, and through his keen entrepreneurial skills, gave the stores renewed statewide recognition. That
acquisition saved over a thousand jobs. He also put hundreds
of people from ethnic communities in the convenience store
business, making them owners. The result was that those who
came to the US seeking job opportunities not only secured
jobs, but also became entrepreneurs themselves.
Shah’s vision is to make Indian Americans economically
strong, so they can serve their community well in the US as
well as India. He was the first chairman of the board of trustees
for the Asian American Retailers Association, (AARA), representing more than 60,000 retailers in the United States.
He is the chairman and trustee of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
(USA), the world famous institute of Indian culture, education,
music and the arts. In his leading role with the Bhavan, his
work for the upliftment in lifestyle of Indians through educa-
tion is remarkable. He is a major supporter and sponsor of all
donation activities related to Indian culture and education for
over 20 years. The new proposed sprawling building of the
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is the result of his dedication. The
Bhavan has dedicated “Romanti Auditorium,” in memory of
H.R. Shah’s late daughter.
Shah is the recipient of the prestigious 2005 Ellis Island
Medal of Honor. The honor is bestowed only on those who
display significant contributions to their own communities and
to the United States at large.
The US House of Representatives and the Senate, both
unanimously passed resolutions sanctioning the Ellis Island
Medals of Honor. Each honoree is listed in the Congressional
Shah is a director of the Indian American Center for
Political Awareness (USA). The organization sponsors an
internship program, where young Indian Americans work for
Congressmen and Senators on Capitol Hill, also serving with
the White House and various state governors.
Shah has participated in the US political process at many
levels and has made outstanding contributions to Indo-US
relations. He accompanied President Clinton on his visit to
India in the year 2000 and was with him again in the year 2001
in Gujarat, to help India in managing the Gujarat earthquake
As an eminent NRI businessman, Shah is known to take
the lead in building a bridge between Indo-US relations, generously supporting meetings of all major Indian politicians visiting the US. They include former Indian President K.R.
Narayanan, Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, former
Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh, Atal Behari Vajpayee, I.K.
Gujaral and late Prime Minister P. V. Narsimha Rao.
Shah has been associated with Share and Care Foundation,
one of the oldest not-for-profit charity organizations, as board
of advisors, since its inception decades ago.
He also actively supports Queens Child Guidance Center of
New York, a group that has helped numerous children of all
ethnic groups receive better healthcare and lead a better quality of life in the US. Shah is a director and supporter of Gift of
Life, a U.S.-based international humanitarian group dedicated
to top quality healthcare and the general well-being of children
everywhere. He firmly believes in the development of premium healthcare and health insurance in India. In the health
insurance industry, he is a promoter and former chairman of
Paramount Health Care in Mumbai. He is also a founding
director of the Krishna Heart Institute, a private and charitable
institute, in Ahmedabad.
Shah is the founding sponsor of what is now known as the
Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), supporting the community engaged in hospitality by granting educational scholarships in hotel management.
He is also the chairman and trustee for many religious
organizations. As a founding-secretary and trustee of Vraj
Bhumi in Pennsylvania, he has helped create a unique, well-maintained land of more than 300 acres, which has been used
by other associations to organize cultural and social events and
festivals. Several associations and institutions have appreciated Shah’s tremendous support.
Prominent among them is the Federation of Indian
Associations in the New York Tri-State Region, which he has
backed and been an integral part for more than two decades. It
was the FIA that began the first-ever parade on India’s
Independence Day outside India. H.R. Shah was the president
of the FIA during the Millennium year, 2000, and remains its
grand sponsor to date.
Shah has even extended his support to the world of sports.
The game of cricket has taken root in the United States, thanks
to his backing.
In 2002, he received the Cricket Hall of Fame 2002 Honor
from legendary cricketer, Sunil Gavaskar at a glittering ceremony in New York, for his efforts to promote cricket in the US.
He is on the board of advisors for American College Cricket,
founded in 2008, with a mission to promote the game of cricket in North America.
Shah lives with his wife, Rosemarie and their children,
Kristina and Daniel in Colonia, N.J.
Above, H.R. Shah. Below, Shah with then Gujarat chief Minister
Narendra Modi, at an event Shah hosted in Ahmedabad to celebrate
Modi’s first-term election as chief minister. Shah presented Modi a
replica of the Statue of Liberty to mark the occasion.
Entrepreneurship compliments philanthropy
H R Shah is an intuitive
visionary, who supports
many worthy causes. He
has been inspired by the
achievements of successful
individuals. His philosophy
is, “If they can achieve,
why can’t I?”