The acclaimed Indian politician and former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) diplomat, Mani Shankar Aiyar celebrated his 79th birthday on April 10, 1941. He has represented Mayiladuthurai constituency of Tamil Nadu in the Parliament in the 10th Lok Sabha, 13th Lok Sabha, and 14th Lok Sabha. He was a nominated member of parliament from Rajya Sabha from 2010 to 2016.

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Mani Shankar Aiyar Biography

Mani Shankar Aiyar was born on April 10, 1941, at Laxmi Mansions in erstwhile Lahore in British India. His father is Vaidyanatha Shankar Aiyar, a chartered accountant, and mother Bhagyalakshmi Shankar Aiyar. He lost his father in an air crash at the age of 12. His elder brother is the well-known economist, journalist and columnist, Swaminathan Aiyar, who works as a consulting editor for the Economic Times and writes regularly for the Economic Times and The Times of India.

Mani Shankar attended Welham Boys’ School in Dehradun, Uttarakhand and later at The Doon School in Dehradun, where he was the editor of the Doon School Weekly. Due to the loss of his father, he was allowed to him to continue his studies at The Doon School with reduced fees and in return, his mother taught at the school. He graduated with a B.A. in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, University of Delhi and pursued an MA in Economics from Trinity Hall College of the University of Cambridge, England. He was also an active member of the Marxist Society in Cambridge. He tried a chance in the presidential election and was supported by Rajiv Gandhi, who was his junior both at Doon and Cambridge.

Mani Shankar joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1963 and served as the Joint Secretary to Government of India. He served as India’s first Consulate General in Karachi from 1978 to 1982. He resigned the post of Joint Secretary to the Government of India in 1989 and took up his career in politics by joining the Indian National Congress party. He had special interests in politics were grassroots democracy, Indian foreign policy particularly with India’s neighbouring countries, and West Asia and nuclear disarmament.

Mani Shankar was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2006 by the then President Pratibha Patil. He has written nine books, How To Be A Sycophant published by NBS in 1990, Rajiv Gandhi: The Great Computer Scientist of India published by Mughal Publishers in 1991, Remembering Rajiv published by Rupa & Co., in 1992, One Year in Parliament published by Konark in 1993, Pakistan Papers published by UBSPD in 1994, Knickerwallahs, Silly-Billies and Other Curious Creatures published by UBS Publishers in 1995, Rajiv Gandhi’s India, 4 vols. (General Editor) published by UBSPD in 1997, Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist published by Penguin in 2004 and A Time of Transition: Rajiv Gandhi to the 21st Century published by Penguin in 2009.

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Mani Shankar Aiyar Political Career

Mani Shankar Aiyar was first elected as a Member of Parliament to the tenth Lok Sabha from Mayiladuturai constituency in 1991 and completed a five-year tenure in 1996. He served as a Member of Parliament in the thirteenth Lok Sabha from 1999 to 2004. He was re-elected as the Member of Parliament to fourteenth Lok Sabha in 2004 and also served as the Union Minister of Panchayati Raj from 2004 to 2009. He also served as the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas from May 2004 to Jan 2006 and as the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports from Jan 2006 to April 2008 and as the Union Minister for the Development of North-Eastern region from April 2008 to 2009. On March 2010, he was nominated as a Member of Parliament of the Rajya Sabha which he served till 2016. On April 2010 he was appointed as a Member of the Committee on Rural Development. On November 2010 he was appointed as the member of the National Social Security Board for Unorganised Workers as well as the member of the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of External Affairs. On September 2011, he was appointed as a member of the Central Advisory Committee for the pilot scheme “Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana” and on December 2011 he was appointed as a member of the Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management. On May 2012 he was appointed as the Member of the Central Silk Board.

Mani Shankar Aiyar Personal Life

Mani Shankar Aiyar is married to Suneet Vir Singh since January 14, 1973. They have three daughters, Suranya Aiyar, who is a lawyer, Yamini Aiyar who is a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of the Accountability Initiative and Sana Aiyar who is an Associate Professor at MIT. While the Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power in 2004, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted to give Mani Shankar a portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, but he refused it. His favourite hobbies are reading, writing and listening to music.

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Mani Shankar Aiyar Images on India Content Website

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