'Nehru: A Biography' NPR's Michele Kelemen talks with Shashi Tharoor, the Undersecretary-General for Communications and Public Information of the United Nations. Tharoor has written Nehru, a biography of India's first prime minister.
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'Nehru: A Biography'

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'Nehru: A Biography'

'Nehru: A Biography'

U.N. Official's Book Profiles India's First Prime Minister

'Nehru: A Biography'

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Extended Interview with Shashi Tharoor

Only Available in Archive Formats.

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Shashi Tharoor's day job is Undersecretary-General for Communications and Public Information of the United Nations.

But he's also written eight books about India -- fiction and non-fiction -- "carving out the time" on "Sunday, midnights, weekends, holidays... whenever I can."

Available Online

His latest is a biography that re-examines Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, key lieutenant to Gandhi, and towering Indian nationalist.

"He's in danger of being repudiated in India and almost forgotten everywhere else," Tharoor tells NPR's Michele Kelemen. "I thought it was time for somebody to take a... reflective look at this life now gone four decades ago and see what lessons it points to for today."

The book is also timely in light of new hope for peace between India and Pakistan. The nuclear neighbors have fought three wars since 1949 and remain divided by ethnic and religious tensions.

Publisher's Weekly says Tharoor writes "with shrewd wit and cautious ambivalence about Nehru, whom he admires as the Thomas Jefferson of India -- a foe of colonialism, a statesman of grace and style and a master of uplifiting words... (yet) whose leadership failed in forcefulness and whose political heirs without charm."