Mani Shankar Aiyar

Card image cap

Mani Shankar Aiyar

NameMani Shankar Aiyar
DOB10 April 1941
(Age 82 Yr. )

Personal Life

Education MA (Economics)
Caste Brahmin of Tamil origin
Religion Hinduism
Nationality Indian
Profession Politician, Diplomat, Journalist/Writer and Social Worker
Birth Place Lahore, Punjab, British India,

Physical Appearance

Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Salt & Pepper



Father- Late Vaidyanatha Shankar Aiyar
Mother- Bhagyalakshmi Shankar Aiyar

Marital Status Married

Suneet Vir Singh


Daughters-  Suranya Aiyar, Yamini Aiyar, Sana Aiyar 


Brother- Swaminathan Aiyar

Mani Shankar Aiyar is an Indian politician and former career civil servant diplomat. He is a member of the Indian National Congress Party.

He represented the Mayiladuthurai constituency of Tamil Nadu in the 10th Lok Sabha, 13th Lok Sabha, and 14th Lok Sabha. He was a nominated member of parliament from Rajya Sabha.

Early life and education

Mani Shankar Aiyar is the son of Vaidyanatha Shankar Aiyar, a chartered accountant, and Bhagyalakshmi Shankar Aiyar. He was born in Laxmi Mansions, Lahore in British India, which as post-Partition refugee property, became house for the family of Saadat Hassan Manto. His older brother is the journalist, Swaminathan Aiyar. He lost his father at age 12 in an air crash.

He attended Welham Boys' School, The Doon School and obtained B.A. in economics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi, University of Delhi. While at Doon, he was an editor of The Doon School Weekly. After the loss of his father, Aiyar's mother had to negotiate with Doon to allow him to continue his studies with reduced fees and in return he taught at the school.

He graduated in economics from Delhi University, and then did a two-year B.A. in Tripos in economics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge at the University of Cambridge which, in the Oxbridge tradition, became an M.A. with the passage of time. He was a member of Trinity Hall. He was also an active member of the Marxist Society in Cambridge. At Cambridge, Aiyar joined student politics and once even tried to win a presidential contest. 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 from 1982 to 1983 in Ministry of External Affairs and later as Joint Secretary at Prime Minister's Office from 1985 to 1989. He resigned from service in 1989 to take up a career in politics and media, entering the Parliament as a Congress MP from Mayiladuthurai in 1991, 1999 and 2004 but was defeated in 1996, 1998, 2009 and 2014. He spent some time in Pakistan posted as a diplomat, serving as India's first consul-general in Karachi from 1978 to 1982.

He is a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee and was a chairman of both the party's political training department and the department of policy planning and coordination. 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.

His special interests include grassroots democracy, Indian foreign policy particularly with India's neighbouring countries, and West Asia and nuclear disarmament.

Personal life

He was married on 4 January 1973 to Suneet Vir Singh, a Sikh woman. They have 3 daughters – the eldest, Suranya Aiyar is a lawyer; the second, Yamini Aiyar is a senior research fellow and director of the Accountability Initiative;

Aiyar is the uncle of Vidya Shankar Aiyar, former anchor on Channelnews asia and CNN- IBN.


Aiyar has written seven 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.