Shashi Tharoor Biography
Shashi Tharoor (IPA: I tur]; SHUH-shee th-ROOR; born March 9, 1956) is an Indian former international civil servant, diplomat, politician, writer, and public intellectual who has been serving as a Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala since 2009. He was born on March 9, 1956. Shashi Tharoor was born in India. His last position at the United Nations was that of Undersecretary General, and he made a bid for the position of Secretary-General in 2006.
In addition to that, he is the current Chairman of both the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology and the All India Professionals Congress. Formerly, he was the head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, where he served as Chairman (2014 to 2019).
Tharoor was born in London, United Kingdom, but he spent his childhood in India. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi in 1975 and his doctorate in International Relations and Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1978. Tharoor worked all over the world after completing his education. He received this honor from the Fletcher School when he was only 22 years old, making him the youngest person to ever do so at the time. Tharoor worked as an official with the United Nations from 1978 until 2007, during which time he rose through the ranks to become the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information in 2001. After coming in second place in the election for U.N. Secretary-General in 2006 to Ban Ki-moon, he made the decision to retire and announced his decision.
In 2009, Tharoor launched his political career by becoming a member of the Indian National Congress. He went on to successfully represent the party in the Lok Sabha elections and become a member of parliament from the constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, which is located in the state of Kerala. Tharoor held the positions of Minister of State for External Affairs (2009–2010) and Minister of Human Resource Development during the administration of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government (2004–2014). (2012–2014).
Since 1981, Tharoor has penned a total of 23 publications, including works of fiction and works of non-fiction, that are focused on India and its history, culture, film, politics, society, and foreign policy, as well as other topics that are relevant to India. In 2019, Shashi Tharoor was presented with the Sahitya Academy Award in the non-fiction category in the English language for his work titled “An Era of Darkness.” This book is about the British Raj. In addition, he has written hundreds of essays and stories that have been published in newspapers and magazines all over the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, Newsweek, and The Times of India. He spent a total of two years working as a contributing editor for Newsweek International. In the years 2010 to 2012, he contributed columns to The Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle. Then, beginning in the middle of 2012 and continuing until his appointment as Minister, he contributed columns to Mail Today. In addition, he writes a monthly column that is internationally syndicated for Project Syndicate. In addition to that, he authored frequent pieces for publications such as The Indian Express (1991–93 and 1996–2001), The Hindu (2001–2008), and The Times of India (2007–2009).
Early life and Education
On March 9, 1956, Shashi Tharoor was born in London, the United Kingdom to Malayali parents Chandran Tharoor and Sulekha Menon. Both of his parents were originally from Palakkad, Kerala. Shobha and Smitha are the names of Tharoor’s two younger sisters. His father was born in Kerala and spent his working life in several cities across India, including London, Bombay, Calcutta, and Delhi. He spent 25 of those years working for The Statesman, ultimately rising to the post of group advertising manager. His great-uncle on his father’s side, Parameshwaran Tharoor, was the one who established Reader’s Digest in India. Tharoor’s parents moved the family back to India when he was just two years old. He began his formal education in 1962 at the Montfort School in Yercaud. Later, he relocated to Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and attended the Campion School there (1963–68). He attended St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in Kolkata during his senior year of high school (1969–71). The name Chippukutty Nair belonged to Shashi’s maternal grandparents.
In 1975, Tharoor received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from St. Stephen’s College, which is a part of the University of Delhi. During his time at St. Stephen’s College, he served as president of the student union and also established the St. Stephen’s Quiz Club. In the same year, Tharoor traveled to the United States to attend the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, in order to earn his Master of Arts degree in International Relations. Tharoor first earned his Master of Arts degree in 1976, then went on to earn his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy in 1977, and finally earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in International Relations and Affairs in 1978. During the time that Tharoor was working toward his Ph.D., he was recognized as the finest student by being given the Robert B. Stewart Prize and he also served as the founding editor of the Fletcher Forum of International Affairs. He received his doctorate from the Fletcher School at the age of 22, making him the youngest individual in the institution’s entire history to do so.
Tilottama Mukherji was Tharoor’s first wife. She was a scholar and the granddaughter of the politician Kailash Nath Katju. Tilottama was half Bengali and half Kashmiri. After meeting each other in college and falling in love, Tharoor and Mukherji got married in 1981. After getting married, Tilottama adopted her new husband’s surname and started working as a teacher of English at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic university in addition to continuing her career as a freelance writer. At the KK Hospital in Singapore in 1984, the couple welcomed their prematurely born sons, Kanishk and Ishaan, who were twins. Ishaan was a senior editor at Time magazine in the past, and he currently contributes articles on international issues to The Washington Post. Kanishk served as an editor for Open Democracy in the past, and he is also the author of the short story collection Swimmer Among the Stars, which has received numerous accolades. The present institution where Tilottama teaches is New York University’s Department of Humanities.
At some point, Tharoor and Tilottama decided to end their marriage and get a divorce. Tharoor tied the knot with Christa Giles, a Canadian diplomat who worked at the United Nations, in the year 2007. This union did not last long and did not produce any children. Next, on August 22, 2010, Tharoor wed a businesswoman from Dubai named Sunanda Pushkar at his ancestral home in Elavanchery village in Kerala’s Palakkad district. The ceremony took place in Kerala. As her third husband, he also took on the role of stepfather to her son Shiv Menon, who was the product of her first marriage. Pushkar, who was 51 years old, passed away on January 17, 2014, at The Leela Hotel in Chanakyapuri, which is located in New Delhi. The circumstances surrounding his death are unknown. Under the provisions of sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, Tharoor was charged in May 2018 with both instigating the suicide of his wife and committing acts of marital abuse. On the 18th of August 2021, a court in Delhi acquitted Tharoor of all of the accusations against him.
Tharoor is a vegetarian and has stated that he “abhors the thought of devouring the carcasses of animals,” despite the fact that he has asserted that he does not have an issue with people who do consume meat. He has declared that he is “extremely proud of being a Hindu” and that he is a “worshipping” and “believing Hindu.” He has stated that he is “quite proud of being a Hindu.” In addition to this, Tharoor asserts that he has read “a decent portion” of the Upanishads.
During the month of April 2019, Tharoor was at a temple in Thiruvananthapuram participating in the Thulabharam ceremony when he was involved in an accident. After being released from the military, he requested that the government conduct an investigation into the occurrence.
Malayalam is his first language and maternal tongue. In addition, he is completely proficient in the languages of French, Bengali, and English. He has a passable knowledge of the Hindi language.
Service and philanthropy
Shashi Tharoor was one of the first nine celebrities to be nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 to help create awareness about the need of cleanliness, hygiene, and proper sanitation, and to help turn the Swachh Bharat Mission into a movement led by the people. As a form of retaliation, he cleaned up the Vizhinjam port, which is located on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.
At the moment, he is also serving as a member of the Board of Advisors for India’s International Movement to Unite Nations (I.I.M.U.N.)India’s International Movement to Unite Nations (I.I.M.U.N.).
Honours and awards
- 1990 – Federation of Indian Publishers’ Hindustan Times Literary Award for the Best Book of the Year for The Great Indian Novel.
- 1991 – Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best Book of the Year in the Eurasian Region, for The Great Indian Novel
- 1998 – Excelsior Award for excellence in literature, Association of Indians in America (AIA) , and the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP).
- 1998 – Global Leader of Tomorrow, World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
- 2004 – Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, India’s highest honour for non-resident Indians (accepted 2007 )
- 2009 – Zakir Hussain Memorial “Pride of India” Award.
- 2009 – Inspiration of the Year Award at GQ’s Man of the Year Awards.
- 2009 – Hakim Khan Sur Award for National Integration, Maharana of Udaipur.
- 2010 – Sarva Deshiya Prathibha Award, Pazhassiraja Charitable Trust, Kozhikode.
- 2010 – “New Age Politician of the Year” Award, at NDTV’s Indian of the Year awards.
- 2010 – Fifth IILM Distinguished Global Thinker Award, New Delhi.
- 2010 – Digital person of the year, Indian Digital Media Awards (IDMA), for popularising the digital medium in India.
- 2012 – Spain: Commander of the Order of Charles III by King of Spain
- 2013 – First Sree Narayan Guru Global Secular and Peace Award at Thiruvananthapuram.
- 2013 – PETA’s “Person of the Year”.
- 2019 – Sahitya Akademi Award for his book, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India.
- 2022 – Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, for his writings and speeches
- Honorary Doctor of Letters in International Affairs from the University of Puget Sound
- Doctor Honoris Causa in history from the University of Bucharest.
- The Great Indian Novel (1989)
- The Five Dollar Smile and Other Stories (1990)
- Show Business (1992)
- Riot (2001)
- Reasons of State (1985)
- India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997)
- Nehru: The Invention of India. Arcade Publishing (2003). New York. First edition. ISBN 9781559706971
- Bookless in Baghdad (2005)
- The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cell Phone: Reflections on India – The Emerging 21st-Century Power (2007)
- Shadows Across the Playing Field: Sixty Years of India-Pakistan Cricket (2009) (with Shaharyar Khan)
- Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century (2012)
- India: the Future is Now (Editor)(2013)
- India Shastra: Reflections on the Nation in our Time (2015)
- Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India (2017), first published in India as An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India (2016).
- Why I Am A Hindu (2018)
- The Paradoxical Prime Minister (2018)
- The Hindu Way (2019)
- The New World Disorder and the Indian Imperative (2020), co-authored with Samir Saran.
- The Battle of Belonging (2020)
- Tharoorosaurus (2020)
- Pride, Prejudice and Punditry: The Essential Shashi Tharoor (2021)
- The Struggle for India’s Soul: Nationalism and the Fate of Democracy (2021)
- Kerala: God’s Own Country (2002) (along with artist M.F. Husain).
- Inde (in French) or India (in English) (2008) along with photographer Ferrante Ferranti.
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Tharoor was an early adopter and innovator in the use of social media as a platform for political discourse. Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi surpassed him as India’s most followed politician on Twitter in 2013, he held the title of most followed Indian politician on Twitter.