|Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha||Shashi Tharoor|
|Place of Birth||9 March 1956 (age 62) London, England, United Kingdom|
|Residence||New Delhi/ Thiruvananthapuram|
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Preceded by||Anand Sharma|
|Preceded by||Daggubati Purandeswari|
|Succeeded by||Kiyotaka Akasaka|
|Preceded by||Pannyan Raveendran|
|Succeeded by||E. Ahamed|
|Alma mater||University of Delhi Tufts University|
|Occupation||Writer, Diplomat, former UN official, Historian|
Shashi Tharoor (born 9 March 1956) is an Indian politician and a former diplomat who is currently serving as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala since 2009. He also currently serves as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairsand All India Professionals Congressof the Indian National Congress.
He was previously Minister of State in the Government of India for External Affairs(2009–2010) and Human Resource Development (2012–2014).He 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. He announced his retirement after finishing second in the 2006 selection for U.N. Secretary-General to Ban Ki-moon.
Shashi Tharoor is also an acclaimed writer, having authored 16 bestselling works of fiction and non-fiction since 1981, all of which are centred on India and its history, culture, film, politics, society, foreign policy, and more. He is also the author of hundreds of columns and articles in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, Newsweek, and The Times of India. He was a contributing editor for Newsweek International for two years. From 2010 to 2012, he wrote a column in The Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle and, for most of 2012, until his appointment as Minister, a column in Mail Today; he also writes an internationally syndicated monthly column for Project Syndicate. He also wrote regular columns for The Indian Express (1991–93 and 1996–2001), The Hindu (2001–2008), and The Times of India (2007–2009).
Tharoor was born in London to a Malayali family of Lily and Chandran Tharoor of 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. His paternal uncle was Tharoor Parameshwaran, the founder of Readers Digest in India. After his parents returned to India, Tharoor boarded at Montfort School, Yercaud, in 1962, subsequently moving to Bombay (now Mumbai) and studying at the Campion School (1963–68).He spent his high school years at St. Xavier's Collegiate School in Calcutta (1969–71). He graduated with a bachelor of arts (honours) degree in history from St Stephen's College, 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 MA and MALD and was awarded the Robert B. Stewart Prize for Best Student and completed his PhD at the age of 22. At Fletcher, he also helped found and was the first editor of the Fletcher Forum of International Affairs.
He has also been awarded an honorary D.Litt by the University of Puget Sound and a doctorate honoris causa in history by the University of Bucharest.
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. His opponents included P. Ramachandran Nair of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Neelalohitadasan Nadar of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), MP Gangadharan of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and PK Krishna Das of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Despite criticism that he was an "elite outsider", 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. On 28 May 2009 he was sworn in as Minister of State for External Affairs, in charge of Africa, Latin America, and the Gulf, including the Haj pilgrimage, and the Consular, Passports and Visas services of the Ministry.
Tharoor was a pioneer in using social media as an instrument of political interaction. He was India's most-followed politician on Twitter until 2013, when he was overtaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Tharoor is especially notable for his extraordinary eloquence while speaking, as demonstrated by the immense popularity of his speeches on online platforms such as YouTube. For instance, his speech decrying British Colonialism, delivered at the Oxford Union in 2015 has amassed over 3.9 million views on one site alone, while simultaneously being praised as ground-breaking in various educational institutions in India. Further speeches such as those explaining the importance of "soft power" and analyzing the impacts of education in India have garnered over one million and two million views respectively.
Additionally, Tharoor is known for his views on a number of topics including economics, history, governance, and geopolitics due to both his well-regarded educational attainment and his broad experience while at the United Nations. He is an outspoken supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which campaigns for democratic reformation of the United Nations, arguing that "United Nations needs to open its doors to elected representatives"Many note that it is his combination of wit, charm, wry humor, and intelligence that make him accessible and held in high esteem, both in India and abroad.