Age: 78 Years
Caste: Tamil Brahmin
Wife: Suneet Vir Singh
|Profession||Politician, Diplomat, Journalist/Writer and Social Worker|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Hair Colour||Salt and Pepper|
|Political Party||Indian National Congress (INC)
|Political Journey||• 1991-1996: Member, Tenth Lok Sabha
• 1999-2004: Member, Thirteenth Lok Sabha
• 2004-2009: Member, Fourteenth Lok Sabha
• 23 May 2004-2009: Union Minister of Panchayati Raj
• 23 May 2004-28 Jan. 2006: Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas
• 29 Jan. 2006-2008: Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
• 6 April 2008-2009: Union Minister of the Development of North-Eastern Region
• March 2010-2016: Nominated to Rajya Sabha
• April 2010: Member, Committee on Rural Development
• Nov. 2010: Member, National Social Security Board for Unorganised Workers Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of External Affairs
• Sept. 2011: Member, Central Advisory Committee for a pilot scheme called 'Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana'
• Dec. 2011: Member, Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management
• May 2012: Member, Central Silk Board
|Awards||2006: 'Outstanding Parliamentarian Award', by the then President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil|
|Books Published||Aiyar has written 9 books:
• How To Be A Sycophant, NBS, New Delhi, 1990.
• Rajiv Gandhi: The Great Computer Scientist of India, Mughal Publishers, New Delhi, 1991.
• Remembering Rajiv, Rupa & Co., New Delhi, 1992.
• One Year in Parliament, Konark, New Delhi, 1993.
• Pakistan Papers, UBSPD, New Delhi, 1994.
• Knickerwallahs, Silly-Billies and Other Curious Creatures, UBS Publishers, 1995.
• Rajiv Gandhi's India, 4 vols. (General Editor), UBSPD New Delhi, 1997.
• Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist, Penguin, 2004.
• A Time of Transition: Rajiv Gandhi to the 21st Century, Penguin, 2009.
|Date of Birth||10 April 1941|
|Age (as in 2019)||78 Years|
|Birthplace||Lahore, Punjab, British India (now Punjab, Pakistan)|
|School||• Welham Boys' School
• The Doon School
|College/University||• St. Stephen's College, Delhi
• Trinity Hall, Cambridge, London
|Educational Qualification||• BA (Economics)
• MA (Economics)
|Caste||Hindu Brahmin of Tamil origin|
|Address||Permanent: 12, Avaiyambalpuram, Mayiladuturai-709001
Present: 12, Safdarjung Lane (Opposite the Exit Gate of Delhi Gymkhana Club), New Delhi-110011
|Hobbies||Reading, Writing and Listening to music|
|Controversies||• In 2000, he got in a public brawl with politician Amar Singh. He insulted Mulayam Singh Yadav and remarked: "Oh that bloody Mulayam, he looks just like me. It could be because my father visited Uttar Pradesh at some point. Why don't you check with Mulayam's mother?"
• In 2014 while on a tour to Cellular Jail, Andamans as the Cabinet Minister, he said that there was no difference between the revolutionary Veer Savarkar and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, as they shared a 'divisive' philosophy.
• In September 2011, he visited his alma matter—St. Stephen's College—to speak about 'Governance and Corruption: Is Panchayati Raj A Solution?'. However, he mocked Hansraj College and it's former student Ajay Maken. This left students agitated but he refused to apologise. However, students of Stephen's College went on to apologise to Hansraj College and extended a hand of friendship.
• In August 2013, he tried to assault Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal in the Rajya Sabha, when he alleged that Mani was a Pakistani Spy when Mani refused to discuss the murder of 5 Indian soldiers by the Pakistani Army and instead suggested discussing rising gas prices.
• In 2015 in an interview with Dawn News when he visited Pakistan, Aiyar is said to have suggested that Pakistan should remove Narendra Modi from power, to be able to continue peace talks between India and Pakistan.
• In an interview before the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, he said that a tea seller (The then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of the BJP) can never become the Prime Minister of India, but can sell tea in AICC meetings. His comment was disowned by the Congress saying it's his personal view and not the party's view. Rahul Gandhi asked him not to make personal attacks.
• Mani Shankar Aiyar justified November 2015 Paris attacks as a response to France banning Hijab. He also justified Charlie Hebdo shooting as a backlash for the death of Muslims. His comments were disapproved by his own party members.
• In 2017, he got involved in another controversy when he termed Narendra Modi a "Neech Aadmi", a casteist slur meaning "sub-human" or "lowly person". Following his remark, Mr Aiyar was suspended from the party's primary membership. However, on 18 August 2018, his suspension was revoked by Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi.
• In May 2019, justifying his "Nech Aadmi" comment, Mr. Aiyar said- “Modi will, in any case, be ousted by the people of India on 23 May. That would be a fitting end to the most foul-mouthed prime minister this country has seen or is likely to see. Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?”
|Relationships & More|
|Marriage Date||14 January 1973|
|Wife||Suneet Vir Singh (aka Suneet Mani Aiyar)
• Suranya Aiyar (Eldest, Lawyer)
• Yamini Aiyar (Senior Research Fellow; Director of the Accountability Initiative)
• Sana Aiyar (Youngest, Associate Professor, at MIT)
|Parents||Father- Late Vaidyanatha Shankar Aiyar (chartered accountant)
Mother- Bhagyalakshmi Shankar Aiyar
|Siblings||Brother- Swaminathan Aiyar (Indian journalist and columnist)
|Car Collection||• Maruti Suzuki SX4 2010 Model: 4 Lakhs INR (as in 2014)
• Tata Sumo 1999 Model: 30,000 INR (as in 2014)
|Assets||Movable: As in 2014
• Cash: 45,000 INR
• Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions and NBFC's: 1,36,72,600 INR
• Bonds, Debentures and Shares in companies: 50,000 INR
• Investments in NSS, Postal Savings and Insurance Policies: 8,03,584 INR
Immovable: As in 2014
1 Resedential Building in New Delhi worth 10 Crore INR
|Salary||88,91,683 INR (as in 2012-13)|
|Net Worth||8,43,19,020 INR (as in 2014)|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Mani Shankar Aiyar
- Mani Shankar Aiyar (Manishankar Iyer, Tamil: மணிசங்கர் அய்யர்) is a former Indian Foreign Service Diplomat and a leader of Indian National Congress Party.
- He is also a well-known political columnist and has written several books, including Pakistan Papers and Remembering Rajiv, and has edited a four-volume publication, Rajiv Gandhi’s India.
- He was born in Laxmi Mansions, Lahore in British India in which later on, after the partition, the family of Saadat Hassan Manto stayed. Live Mint
- His older brother Swaminathan Aiyar is a well-known journalist. He lost his father at age 12 in an air crash.
- He has attended Welham Boys’ School and The Doon School, both in Dehradun. After the death of his father, Aiyar’s mother negotiated with the Doon school to allow him to continue his studies with reduced fees and in return, she taught at the school.  The Telegraph
- Aiyar studied Economics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge at the University of Cambridge. He was a member of Trinity Hall and was an active member of the Marxist Society in Cambridge. At Cambridge, he contested presidential contest and Rajiv Gandhi, who was his junior both at Doon and Cambridge, supported him in his campaign.
- He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1963 and served as Joint Secretary to Government of India. He was posted as a diplomat, serving as India’s first consul-general in Karachi from 1978-1982. Wikipedia
- After he had been selected for the IFS, while still in England, he got a telegram saying that he had been rejected. The British Information Service, apparently, had sent a report to the Indian government about Aiyar’s radical days while at Cambridge.
- Aiyar rushed back to Delhi and did all he could do to get himself reinstated. He was reinstated on 23 October 1963 after Jawaharlal Nehru signed his file and said: ‘I have heard good reports of Mani Shankar Aiyar. He may be taken into the foreign service.’  The Telegraph . However, he was followed by Intelligence Officials for years even after his recommendation.
- He resigned from the post of Joint Secretary to Government of India in 1989 to take up a career in politics and media.
- He was elected to the 10th Lok Sabha, 13th Lok Sabha, and 14th Lok Sabha in 1991, 1999, 2004 respectively from the Mayiladuthurai constituency of Tamil Nadu. He was defeated in 1996, 1998, 2009 and 2014 from the same constituency.
- When the UPA Government came to power in 2004, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted to give him an economic portfolio but he was reluctant to take it.
- He talked to then Congress president, Sonia Gandhi and, a new ministry of Rural Development was carved out and he became the first ever minister for Panchayati Raj.
- He is often blamed for 2007 loss of hosting rights of Asian Games which were to be held in 2014 in Delhi.
- Before bidding for hosting rights, he argued that it was better if the money allocated by India’s government for organizing the sporting event was spent on building facilities for the poor. The then, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president revealed that Aiyar’s remarks against hosting the Games were the main reason for New Delhi’s loss. India Today
- He believes that the administrative service, once the true calling of all those who believed in nation building, has ceased being a “genuine” system for public service.
- His three daughters didn’t opt for civil services like his father. His eldest daughter, Suranya Aiyar, is a lawyer; the second, Yamini Aiyar, a development consultant, and the youngest, Sana Aiyar, is Associate Professor in history at MIT.
- In 2017, he remarked that Narendra Modi is a “neech aadmi”, a casteist slur meaning “sub-human” or “lowly person”. Subsequently, he was suspended from the party’s primary membership. Even after his suspension, he justified his derogatory remarks by saying, “My Hindi is not very good. Yes, I called Modi ‘neech’ but did not mean it as a low-born; I meant it as low,”.
References/Sources: [ + ]
|2, 4.||↑||The Telegraph|