Sunanda Pushkar – the wife of Indian Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shahsi Tharoor who was found dead yesterday in a Delhi hotel – was an Indo-Canadian entrepreneur and businesswoman.
She was a sales manager in the Dubai-based TECOM Investments and co-owner of the India-based Rendezvous Sports World.
Sunanda Pushkar was born on January 1st, 1962, in a Kashmiri family of landlords and Indian Army officers native to Bomai. She was the only daughter of Lt. Col. Poshkar Nath Dass and Jaya Dass. Her father PN Dass retired from the army in 1983.
A born rebel, Sunanda Pushkar broke the age-old tradition of Kashmiri Pandits when she attained the first name of her father as her surname albeit with some modification. Poshkar became Pushkar and Sunanda Dass became Sunanda Pushkar.
Sunanda Pushkar graduated from the Government College for Women in Srinagar, where she studied between 1986 and 1988.
Before marrying Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar had been married twice. Her first marriage to fellow Kashmir Pandit and hotel management graduate Sanjay Raina of Srinagar ended in a divorce in 1988. Sanjay Raina’s website describes him as “one of India’s leading stage performers and pop” and who spearheads an entertainment management company.
Later Sunanda Pushkar married a Kerala businessman, Sujith Menon, who was dealing with firefighting equipment. Sujith Menon later went to Dubai where he organized some events of south Indian film stars which however flopped. He returned and later died in an accident in Delhi. Their son Shiv was born in November 1992.
Sunanda Pushkar married Shashi Tharoor in 2010, after he was elected to the Indian Parliament. The couple had a Malayali wedding ceremony in Shashi Tharoor’s ancestral home at Elavanchery in Kerala. This was the third marriage for both of them.
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