Mani Shankar Aiyar Age, Caste, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More
Bio/Wiki ProfessionPolitician, Diplomat, Journalist/Writer and Social Worker Physical Stats & More Eye ColourBrown Hair ColourSalt and Pepper Politics Political PartyIndian National Congress (INC)
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
Laxmi Mansion, Mani Shankar Aiyar and, Saadat Hassan Manto
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.
Rajiv Gandhi with Mani Shankar Aiyar
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,”.
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1. ↑ Live Mint 2, 4. ↑ The Telegraph 3. ↑ Wikipedia 5. ↑ India Today