Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2012: Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor (born 9 March 1956) is a member of the Indian Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala. A prolific author, columnist, journalist and human rights advocate, he has previously served as the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs. Career:

Shashi Tharoor career in the United Nations began in 1978 as a staff member of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. In January 2001, he was appointed as the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, and as the head of Department of Public Information. In 2006, Tharoor was nominated by the Government of India for the post of UN Secretary General. Tharoor came a close second (behind Ban Ki-moon) in each of the four straw polls conducted by the UN Security Council and won the online poll conducted by the BBC News website.

In March 2009, Shashi Tharoor contested the Indian General Elections in 2009 as Congress Party candidate from Thiruvananthapuram (Lok Sabha constituency) in Kerala. Despite being criticized as an “elite outsider” he went on to win defeating his nearest CPI rival P. Ramachandran Nair by a margin of approximately 100, 000 votes. Subsequently Shashi Tharoor was selected as Minister of State in the Council of Ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. On 28 May 2009 he was sworn in as the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs.

Literary career

Tharoor has written numerous books in English. Most of his literary creations are centred on Indian themes and they are markedly “Indo-nostalgic.” Perhaps his most famous work is The Great Indian Novel, published in 1989, in which he uses the narrative and theme of the famous Indian epic Mahabharata to weave a satirical story of Indian life in a non-linear mode with the characters drawn from the Indian Independence Movement.


Tharoor has often been under fire for being a perpetual victim of the foot-in-mouth syndrome. Mostly over his twitter posts (tweets), Tharoor has often faced the media's ire. A joke in which Tharoor, responding to the question as to whether he would travel in “Cattle Class” replied that he would do so. The media claimed that he equated the traveling public to cattle and also taunted his party, the Indian National Congress over their austerity drive. The latest controversy which lead to his resigning from the ministry has been regarding the IPL and Lalit Modi. Lalit Modi published the shareholders details of Kochi-IPL team's franchise owners, Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) group in his Twitter account and also mentioned that he was asked by an influential Union Minister to not get into details of Sunanda Pushkar who was given a sweat equity of approximately 4.5 per cent of total equity (estimated worth Rs. 70 crore) in Kochi IPL team. In an official statement, Tharoor denied having made any financial gains from the sale or having pressured Modi in any way. He further accused Modi of trying to delay and discredit the new owners so that the franchise can be re-awarded elsewhere. Under severe push from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee combine, the Congress core committee decided to ask for Tharoor's resignation. 18 April 2010 Shashi Tharoor resigned from the post of Minister of State in MEA after being instructed to do so by the Indian Prime Minister.


  • 1976, Aged 20, Wins the Rajika Kripalani Young Journalist Award for the Best Indian Journalist under 30.
  • 1990-Wins the Federation of Indian Publishers'Hindustan Times Literary Award for the Best Book of the Year for The Great Indian Novel.
  • 1991-His book The Great Indian Novel wins the Commonwealth Writers'Prize for the Best Book of the Year in the Eurasian Region.
  • 1998-Awarded the Excelsior Award for excellence in literature by the Association of Indians in America (AIA) and the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP).
  • May 2000-Conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in International Affairs by the University of Puget Sound
  • January, 1998-Named Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
  • 15 March 2009-Presented with the Hakim Khan Sur Award for National Integration by the Maharana of Udaipur.
  • 2004-Awarded the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, India's highest honor for non-resident Indians. But did not accept it at the time owing to UN rules prohibiting acceptance of governmental honors.
  • 2007-Went on to accept the award after having resigned from the position of Under Secretary General at the UN.
  • May 2008-Conferred a Doctorate Honoris Causa by the University of Bucharest, Romania.
  • January 2009-Awarded the Zakir Hussain Memorial “Pride of India” Award.
  • October 2009-Awarded GQ's Inspiration of the Year Award at its Man of the Year Awards.
  • February 2010-Awarded the Sarva Deshiya Prathibha award by the Pazhassiraja Charitable Trust, Kozhikode.
  • March 2010-Awarded “New Age Politican of the Year” Award by NDTV at its Indian of the Year awards.
  • 5 March 2010-Awarded the Fifth IILM Distinguished Global Thinker Award in New Delhi.
  • 11 March 2010-Awarded Digital person of the year at the first ever Indian Digital Media Awards (IDMA) for popularizing the digital medium in India.

Literary works


  • Riot (2001)
  • Show Business (1992)
  • The Five Dollar Smile and Other Stories (1990)
  • The Great Indian Novel (1989)


  • Shadows Across the Playing Field: Sixty Years of India-Pakistan Cricket [with Shaharyar Khan] (2009)
  • The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cell Phone: Reflections on India in the 21st Century (2007)
  • Bookless in Baghdad (2005)
  • Nehru: The Invention of India (2003)
  • India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997)
  • Reasons of State (1982)

Illustrated books

  • Kerala: God's own country (2002)
  • L'Inde (French) and India (English) (2008)