Tunku Varadarajan

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Tunku Varadarajan
Born Patanjali Varadarajan
Delhi India
Ethnicity Indian
Citizenship British
Alma mater The Town School, Mayo College, Dulwich College, London, Trinity College
Occupation Writer, journalist, teacher
Religion Hindu
Spouse(s) Amy Finnerty
Parent(s) Muthusamy Varadarajan, Usha [1]

Tunku Varadarajan /ˈtʊŋk ˌvɑrədəˈrɑːən/ (born Patanjali Varadarajan[citation needed] in 1962) is a Brooklyn-based writer and journalist, formerly editor of Newsweek Global and Newsweek International.[2] He is currently the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Research Fellow in Journalism at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a and a contributing editor at POLITICO Europe. He is also a weekly op-ed columnist for the Indian Express and a regular contributor to OPEN magazine in New Delhi.

Early life and education[edit]

Tunku Varadarajan was born in Delhi, India. His earliest years were spent in New York, where he attended The Town School.[3] He later attended Mayo College in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India with his brother Siddharth Varadarajan, as well as Dulwich College, London. After high school, he attended Trinity College, Oxford University from which he was graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in law in 1984.[4]


After six years as a lecturer in law, Tunku Varadarajan left Oxford in 1993 to join The Times as a leader (editorial) writer under the editor, Peter Stothard. He specialized in international affairs, law, society, and culture. In 1996, he moved to Spain as the newspaper's Madrid bureau chief. In 1997, he was named the newspaper's New York City bureau chief.

In 2000, Varadarajan joined the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, under its editor, Robert L. Bartley. He worked there as a senior editorial writer, deputy editorial features editor, chief television and media critics, and, for five years, as the paper's editorial features ("op-ed") editor (a post to which he was appointed by the paper's editorial page editor, Paul A. Gigot.) In 2007, he served briefly as assistant managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, before joining New York University's Stern School of Business as a clinical professor. He was, concurrently, executive editor for opinions at Forbes Magazine, where he radically revamped the opinion section of Forbes.com.

In 2009, Varadarajan left Forbes for The Daily Beast, where he was appointed writer-at-large, tasked with writing opinion columns on politics, foreign affairs, and American culture. When Newsweek merged with The Daily Beast in December 2010, Varadarajan was named editor of Newsweek International by editor-in-chief Tina Brown. In December 2012, he became the first editor of Newsweek Global, the all-digital publication that took the place of the magazine's print edition. He resigned from that job in late April 2013.

Varadarajan has been associated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University for several years, most recently as the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Research Fellow in Journalism. He is the editor of Defining Ideas, a Hoover Institution publication.[5] He has also been an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism; the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism; and the Department of Journalism at New York University, where he is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar.


In November 2009, subsequent to the Fort Hood shooting, Vardarajan posted an article in the opinion section of Forbes called "Going Muslim," suggesting that saying that Americans should retire the colloquial phrase “Going Postal” and instead call any workplace shooting or mass-murder “going Muslim.” He submitted the article using his title as a NYU professor, prompting intense criticism on campus and in the media.[6][7] NYU President John Sexton condemned the remarks as offensive.[8]

Personal life[edit]

A British citizen, Varadarajan lives in Brooklyn with his wife Amy Finnerty and their three children.[9] He is a member of the Century Association in New York, and is on the Media Advisory Committee of AmeriCares.[10] Varadarajan is a passionate cricket fan, and his writing has appeared in The Picador Book of Cricket (edited by Ramachandra Guha). A fluent speaker of Spanish, he supports the Real Madrid football club.