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From Belagavi to Capitol Hill: The Trailblazing Journey of Dr Shri Thanedar

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By uday

When Prime Minister Modi recently visited America to address the US Congress, we the citizens of Belagavi were beaming with pride. We had every reason to do so, for the gentleman who was escorting him on this important trip is from this very town. The distinguished US Congressman, Dr Shrinivas Thanedar (popularly known as Shri) grew from boyhood to youth in Mirapur Galli Shahapur. An eminent scientist, inspiring entrepreneur, successful businessman, renowned political leader and a benevolent philanthropist, the man who wears many hats is also credited for his humble demeanor, cheerful disposition and humanistic approach.

So, who is Shri and how did he rise to this eminence? By a stroke of luck? Absolutely not. Shri’s journey has been one of steep climbs and rough terrains, humble beginnings and phenomenal accomplishments. Growing up as the third of six siblings in a modest family, with his father working as a senior clerk in the civil court and his mother their primary caregiver, Shri was just like any other mischievous yet ambitious child of his age. At fourteen, after finishing SSLC at Chintamanrao High School, he found himself in a tough spot. With his father retired, he had to take on various odd jobs to help his family make ends meet. He obtained his B.Sc. from GSS College and M.Sc. in Chemistry from Mumbai University, juggling various responsibilities. During this time, he also gained valuable experience as a research scientist at the prestigious Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai. Despite facing numerous challenges, Shri refused to be defeated. Instead, he set his sights on pursuing a Ph.D in America.


Shri received an offer for doing Ph.D in the University of Akron – a world leader in polymer research. But the tuition fees were daunting. After considerable effort, he managed to secure a loan, but he was denied visa not just once, but an astonishing four times. Enough to dampen the spirit of even the most resolute optimist! However, Shri decided to make one last attempt. Fortunately, his persistence paid off, and his visa was finally approved. Thus in 1979, Shri landed in Akron, Ohio.

However, his life on the other side of the Atlantic was far from easy. His English proficiency was limited and his financial constraints made it difficult to rent a decent accommodation. There were occasions when he had to sleep in his car for days on end. Sometimes he would stealthily sleep in the university’s laboratory. Out of the $300 dollars he would earn every month through his teaching assistantships at the university, he would send $75 back home to support his parents and siblings. Despite these hurdles, he triumphed and received the ‘Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award’ ultimately earning his Ph.D in 1982.

In 1984, he landed his first job as a scientist at Petrolite, Missouri, specializing in synthesizing new molecules. While working there he felt the need to pursue an MBA and successfully completed it. As ever, Shri was driven by a desire for greater accomplishments and an appetite for starting his own business. In 1990, he boldly combined his modest savings with a substantial loan and bought a struggling chemical testing lab for $75000. This became his first independent business venture. It was essentially a one-man operation, with Shri handling everything from menial tasks to executive decisions. Due to budget constraints, he could hire just one research assistant and at the end of the year his revenue stood at a modest $150,000.

Undeterred, Shri persisted even harder. By 2005, his revenue rose to $16 million and he had 160 staff members including 40 Ph.D chemists. Soon he was awarded Govt. of India’s ‘Outstanding Entrepreneur Overseas Award’ at the hands of Prime Minister P V. Narasimha Rao. In 2008, Shri’s bold vision led him to secure a $24 million loan from Bank of America. With a strategic foresight, he acquired many distressed business units, spearheaded their radical transformations and reshaped their trajectory. In 2015 and 2016, Shri was recognized on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. His success grew phenomenally and so did the accolades bestowed upon him, with a rapidly expanding list of prestigious awards. All along Shri also remained steadfast in his commitment to philanthropy.

In 2018, Shri retired from the positions of business leader and scientist and dedicated himself to public service. In 2020, he contested the US Congressional Election (Michigan Legislature) and emerged triumphant. Today as the United States Congressman Dr Shri Thanedar holds the portfolio of the nation’s homeland security. Among Shri’s priorities, strengthening the India-US relationship holds paramount importance. He admires India’s youth and recognizes their pivotal role in propelling the country towards becoming an economic superpower.

His Marathi autobiography, ‘He ‘Shri’ chi Ichha’, has witnessed an astounding 45 reprints and surpassed a sale of 500,000 copies. Undoubtedly, the majority of his readers are ambitious youth inspired to follow in his footsteps. Upon the insistence of President Bill Clinton, Shri diligently translated the book into English, enabling English readers of America and around the globe to benefit from its profound insights.

Dr. Shri Thanedar now lives with his family in Detroit, Michigan. His remarkable journey is a testament to his progressive mindset, unwavering dedication, and undying belief in the power of perseverance. As he continues to trailblaze his way through the corridors of power, from the bustling streets of Shahapur to the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill, his story serves as an inspiration to all those who dare to dream and strive for greatness.

roopa samant

About the Author: Roopa Samant The writer is a free-lance lecturer in English (literature and language)

1 thought on “From Belagavi to Capitol Hill: The Trailblazing Journey of Dr Shri Thanedar”

  1. Please note Mr. Thanedar is NOT a U.S. Senator but a U.S. Congressman (one of the 435 Congress persons in the U.S.
    Very impressive career.



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