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Shashi Tharoor

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The Unlikely Politico

Shashi Tharoor is everything you expect a politician not to be: erudite, articulate, informed and attractive. He’s also social-media savvy, although the frequency with which his twitter feed gets him into political hot water could make the word ‘savvy’ seem ill-advised.

But Sharoor is both consummate politician and anti-politico at once: author of 12 books, a PhD from Tufts University, columnist and writer for, at different times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, TIME and Newsweek, among others. Yet, he’s clear that public life is the way forward for him. “I make no bones about the fact that India matters to me and that I would like to matter to India.”

Formerly Under-Secretary General at the United Nations, activism lies at the heart of Tharoor’s politics; he describes himself as ‘an author, peace-keeper, refugee-worker, human rights activist.’

He is also, arguably, far clearer about the idea of India than many, even if his beliefs don’t always make him popular, such as his assertion that “India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay.”

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