Monday, November 21, 2011

Dr. Shashi Tharoor, a charismatic and renowned personality who has achieved so much in life and is still at the achieving end honoured the public with his presence at the Sharjah International Book Fair on Sunday, 20th November 2011. 

The “Meet the Author” programme, part of the India Focus allowed audiences to view, interact and engage in conversation with prolific author and politician Dr. Tharoor.

He spoke about how his passion for writing and literature shaped his upbringing, “When I was a child there was no computer or PSP’s; I read many books and after I finished reading every book in the house, I had to find something to do, so I started writing to amuse myself,”

I began writing as a way to escape from my physical sufferings, which I overtook when I realised the absolute power and impact of words.” said Dr. Tharoor who got his first work published at the age of ten.

Dr. Shashi Tharoor addressing visitors at the 30th edition
of  the Sharjah International Book Fair
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Tharoor has four fiction, six non-fiction and two illustrated books to his name. With his last book being “Shadows across the Playing Field” published in 2009, Dr. Tharoor is back to writing a book about India’s place in the new balanced world of the 21st century. 

“It’s a foreign policy book for lay people rather than scholars. It’s not just in terms of foreign policy, but how India would function in the future. I have been writing the book in bits and pieces in the last one-and-a-half years. All my deadlines have slipped. I hope it’ll be done by next year,” he said. 

When questioned why he doesn’t write fiction books anymore after ‘Riot’ (2001) he replied, “Politics doesn’t give me much time for fiction. For fiction one needs time, space to create a universe populated with people (your characters) and you have got to take time off the real world to enter this magical space of fiction.”

In addition to his novel ‘Riot’ he said, “this is a story that I have told from 13 different perspectives and it provokes questions in the readers mind.” 

Tharoor interacted with the Indian community and signed several copies of his autobiography for his fans at the book fair.  He commented that he is very glad to see the community flourish here and also lauded “India’s ability to manage its diversity in an age of globalisation and wield its ‘soft power’ internationally which could well make it into a world leader in the near future.”

Report by Qudsiya Siddiqui and Nazia Fatma
Photographs by Nazia Fatma