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Politics & War

Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor
  • Shashi Tharoor (born 9 March 1956) is an Indian politician, writer and a former career international diplomat who is serving as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, since 2009.
  • He was previously Minister of State in the Government of India for External Affairs (2009–2010) and Human Resource Development (2012–2014). Tharoor is a member of the Indian National Congress and served as an official spokesperson for the party from January to October 2014.
  • Until 2007, he was a career official at the United Nations, rising to the rank of Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information in 2001.
  • Tharoor was born in London, United Kingdom on 9 march 1956 to a Malayali family of Lily and Chandran Tharoor from Palakkad, Kerala.
  • His father worked in various positions in London, Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi, including a 25-year career (culminating as group advertising manager) for The Statesman.
  • After his parents returned to India, He spent his high school years at St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in Calcutta (1969–71). He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi.
  • In 1975, he moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he obtained his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy and completed his Ph.D. in International Relations and Affairs at the age of 22.
  • At Fletcher, he was awarded the Robert B. Stewart Prize for Best Student and also helped found and was the first editor of the Fletcher Forum of International Affairs.
  • Tharoor’s career in the United Nations began in 1978 as a staff member of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva.
  • In 1989 he was appointed special assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, the unit that later became the Peacekeeping Operations Department in New York.
  • In 1996, Tharoor was appointed Director of Communications and Special Projects and Executive Assistant to Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
  • In 9 February 2007, Tharoor resigned from the post of Under-Secretary-General and left the UN on 1 April 2007.
  • In 2006, the government of India nominated Tharoor for the post of UN Secretary-General. Had he won, the 50- year-old Shashi Tharoor would have become the second-youngest Secretary-General.
  • Tharoor finished second, behind Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, in each of the four straw polls conducted by the UN Security Council.
  • Tharoor once said that when he began his political career he was approached by the Congress, the Communists, and the BJP.
  • He chose Congress because he felt ideologically comfortable with it.In March 2009 Tharoor contested the Indian General Elections as a candidate for the Congress Party in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • Tharoor won the elections by a margin of about 100,000. He was then selected as a Minister of State in the Council of Ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  • In March 2017, Tharoor called for the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata to be converted into a museum on atrocities by the United Kingdom during its rule in India.
  • He wrote in an Al Jazeera column that British Empire “conquered one of the richest countries in the world (27 per cent of global gross domestic product in 1700) and reduced it to, after over two centuries of looting and exploitation, one of the poorest, most diseased and most illiterate countries on Earth by the time they left in 1947. …Nor is there any memorial to the massacres of the Raj, from Delhi in 1857 to Amritsar in 1919, the deaths of 35 million Indians in totally unnecessary famines caused by British policy.”