After a long career at the UN, and a parallel life as a novelist, Shashi Tharoor became a member of India's Parliament. He spent 10 months as India's Minister for External Affairs, building connections between India and the world.

Why you should listen

In May 2009, Shashi Tharoor was elected to Parliament, representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala. For 10 months, he also served as Minister for External Affairs, charged with helping India engage with the world. Follow him on Twitter, @shashitharoor, or his YouTube channel, to get a look in at his whirlwind life of service.

Before entering politics, Tharoor spent almost three decades with the UN as a refugee worker and peace-keeper, working as a senior adviser to the Secretary-General. Meanwhile, he maintained a parallel career as a writer, producing three novels, a biography of Nehru and several collections of essays on literature and global affairs (plus hundreds of articles for magazines and journals). He was the UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information under Kofi Annan, and was India's candidate in 2006 for the post of Secretary-General. He left the UN in 2007.

His latest book is Shadows Across the Playing Field: 60 Years of India-Pakistan Cricket, written with former Pakistan foreign secretary (and cricket legend) Shaharyar Khan.

What others say

“Mr. Tharoor has brought a breath of fresh air into the Indian political scene.” — goodnewz.in

Shashi Tharoor’s TED talk

Shashi Tharoor on the TED Blog

TEDIndia

TEDIndia Session 9: Within You, Without You

November 7, 2009

“Within You, Without You,” the final session of TEDIndia, rings in with a drumbeat — the rich, propulsive stylings of Sivamani. He combines the sounds of a variety of percussive instruments with a recurring motif: water. Dipping instruments in water as he plays them, the instruments take on the character of the life-giving substance that […]

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TEDIndia

The Buzz: Shashi Tharoor on India's soft power

November 7, 2009

Shashi Tharoor, India’s minister of state for external affairs, says India should influence the world through soft power — attracting other countries to India’s example. Here are some responses from Twitter: Tharoor: The penetration of mobile phones in India – testimony to development / empowerment / flattening of info hierarchies – infosys Engrossing talk by […]

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