Shashi Tharoor (born 9 March 1956) is an Indian politician, writer and a former international diplomat who is currently serving as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, since 2009. He was formerly Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, ad contested for the post of Secretary-General in 2006. He also serves as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology and All India Professionals Congress. He formerly served as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs (2014 to 2019). In 2019, Shashi Tharoor received the Sahitya Academy Award for his book 'An Era of Darkness' in a non-fiction category in English language. Born in London, UK, and raised in India, Tharoor graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 1975 and culminated his studies in 1978 with a doctorate in International Relations and Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. At the age of 22, he was the youngest person at the time to receive such an honour from the Fletcher School. From 1978 to 2007, Tharoor 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. In 2009, Tharoor began his political career by joining the Indian National Congress and successfully represented the party from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala by winning in the Lok Sabha elections and becoming a Member of Parliament. During the Congress-led UPA Government rule (2004–2014), Tharoor served as Minister of State for External Affairs (2009–2010) and Minister of Human Resource Development (2012–2014). Tharoor is an acclaimed writer, having authored 18 bestselling works of fiction and non-fiction since 1981, which are centred on India and its history, culture, film, politics, society, foreign policy, and more related themes. 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). In 2019, Dr. Shashi Tharoor got a Sahitya Academy Award for his book 'An Era of Darkness' in a non-fiction category in English language.