(Last Updated on : 21/08/2012)
Mani Shankar Aiyar is an Indian Politician who is a member of the Indian National Congress
Party. He had also served as the cabinet Minister in Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. In the 14th Lok Sabha
, he represented the Mayiladuthurai constituency of Tamil Nadu
. He served as the Union Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas from 2004 to 2006 under Cabinet of Dr Manmohan Singh
. Mani Shankar Aiyar was an Indian diplomat, but resigned from service and worked for Rajiv Gandhi
during 1989-1991. Until 2009 he also served the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Early Life of Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar was born on 10th April, 1941 to father Shri V. Sankar Aiyar and mother Smt. Bhagyalakshmi Sankar Aiyar at Lahore (now in Pakistan). His father was a chartered accountant who died in a plane crash when Aiyar was just 12 years old. He was educated at Welham Boys' School and The Doon School. Aiyar completed his B.A. from St. Stephen's College
and studied economics in University of Delhi
and then did a two-year B.A. course in Tripos in Economics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was a member of Trinity Hall and served as an active member of the Marxist Society in Cambridge. While in Cambridge, Aiyar joined students' politics and attempted to win a presidential campaign.
Political Career of Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar has a keen interest in grassroots democracy and Indian foreign policy, with India's neighbourhood countries and West Asia in particular and the nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament is the proposed dismantling of those nuclear weapons, particularly which are of the United States and the Soviet Union targeted on each other. For 26 years, Aiyar served in the Indian Foreign Service
Mani Shankar Aiyar resigned from the service in 1989 to start up a career in politics and media. In the year 1991 as a Congress MP from the state of Tamil Nadu
, his entry in the parliament took place. In 1996, Aiyar was disfigured, but again in 1999, he was re-elected. He is invited especially to the Congress Working Committee and became chairman of both the party's political training department and the department of policy planning and coordination.
Publications of Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar is also a well-known political columnist and has written several books on his credit, including Pakistan Papers, Remembering Rajiv, One Year in Parliament, Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist. He has also edited a four-volume publication, Rajiv Gandhi
Positions held by Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar has held several throughout his political life, which are,
* Elected to 10th Lok Sabha(1991),
* Member, Committee on Environment and Forests (1991-92),
* Elected to All India Congress Committee (AICC)(1992),
* Member, Committee on Human Resource Development (1992-96),
* Member, Committee on External Affairs, Secretary, All India Congress Committee (1998),
* Elected to 13th Lok Sabha (2nd term) (1999),
* Member, Committee on Urban and Rural Development (1999-2004),
* Member, Committee on Public Undertakings (2002-2004),
* Re-elected to 14th Lok Sabha
* Union Cabinet Minister, Petroleum and Natural Gas,
* Panchayati Raj (23 May 2004-onwards).
Other Activities of Mani Shankar Aiyar
Apart from politics, Mani Shankar Aiyar has been involved in several organisations too. He has been the Founder President of Society for Secularism. He has been the Consul-General in Karachi from 1978 to 1982. From 1982 to 1983, he has been served as the Joint Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs. He was the Special Assistant to former Congress (I) President, Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi, 1989-1991 and still now serving as a Trustee of Rajiv Gandhi
Mani Shankar Aiyar has been serving as a Member in the Governing Council of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies and a Member in the Court of Visvabharati from 1991-1996. From 1991 to 1996, he has also been a Member in the Court of Aligarh Muslim University
and a Member in the Court of Pondicherry University during 1995-1996. Aiyar has been a Member in the Court of Jawaharlal Nehru
University, 1999-2000. He was also a member of Delhi Gymkhana Club, India International Centre and India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
Personal Life of Mani Shankar Aiyar
On 4th January 1973, Mani Shankar Aiyar married Suneet Mani Aiyar and the couple has 3 daughters, among them the eldest is a lawyer, the second child is a development consultant, and the youngest daughter is an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison in Department of History.
Books Written by Mani Shankar Aiyar
* Remembering Rajiv", Rupa, 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