Veteran Congress leader & Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist Mani Shankar Aiyar Tuesday is back in the news.
First, he justified the neech aadmi (lowly man) casteist slur he had directed at PM Modi in 2017. In an article he wrote for The Print, Aiyar wrote “Remember how I described him on 7 December 2017? Was I not prophetic?”
Then when TV reporters met him at the Punjab government guest house in Shimla and questioned him over the article, he made fists and threatened to hit a News 18 reporter before telling him to “f*** off”. He also warned the reporter not to ask any more questions.
In a video of the incident which has gone viral, the reporter can be seen retreating hastily saying “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry” while Aiyar advances menacingly pushing the reporter’s microphone away.
Q: Neech Kaun Hai?
Watch it till the end. pic.twitter.com/jOafpghM7J
— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 14, 2019
Aiyar also called the Prime Minister a coward for ‘not talking to the media’ and called him the most “foul-mouthed” prime minister the country has seen.
Following his “neech aadmi” slur in 2017, Aiyar was suspended from the Congress party, before being quietly reinstated after the initial furore had died down. This time too, the party has issued a cursory condemnation of Aiyar’s article but blamed the PM for lowering the discourse!
However, Congress has yet to react on Mani Shankar’s Aiyar deplorable behavior towards the News 18 journalist. There has also been no official word as yet from News18 management or News Broadcasters Association (NBA), the group representing TV news broadcasters in Bharat.
This is not the first instance of Aiyar using abusive language or being involved in an unsavoury incident. However, being an archetypal Lutyens’ insider means Mani Shankar Aiyar gets a free pass from national media and intelligentsia, who otherwise go ballistic over the slightest utterance of public figures from more commonplace backgrounds.
Mani Shankar Aiyar is a former career civil servant diplomat, who served as Joint Secretary to Government of Bharat from 1982 to 1983 in Ministry of External Affairs under PM Indira Gandhi. He has attended the Welham Boys’ School, The Doon School, St. Stephen’s College and University of Cambridge. Rajiv Gandhi was his junior both at Doon and Cambridge.
So it was no surprise when Aiyar resigned from service in 1989 to take up a career in politics with Congress. He has been a parliamentarian in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and served as a Union Minister holding various portfolios in UPA 1 & 2.
Aiyar’s love for Pakistan and the Nehru-Gandhi family is well know. He was posted as a diplomat in Pakistan, serving as Bharat’s first consul-general in Karachi from 1978 to 1982. He has written books like Pakistan Papers and Remembering Rajiv, and has also edited a four-volume publication, Rajiv Gandhi’s India. In 2018, Aiyar bemoaned during a visit to Pakistan that he gets more love in Pakistan and hatred in Bharat.
Aiyar’s elitist attitude was amply demonstrated when he visited his alma mater – St. Stephen’s College – for an address as Union Minister, but instead started mocking the more ‘down market’ Hansraj College, Kirori Mal College and his own party colleague Ajay Maken.
If there is one thing Lutyens’ does well, it is to look after its own.
Mani Shankar Aiyar’s older brother Swaminathan Aiyar is a senior journalist who routinely pontificates on good governance for MSM outlets like Times of India, and is more careful about masking his dislike of ‘crass’ Hindutvawadis like Modi. His daughter, Yamini Aiyar, is part of the think-tank circuit who has worked at CIA-linked Ford Foundation and is currently president and chief executive of the left-liberal think tank Centre for Policy Research (CPR).
So while a Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti will be hauled over the coals for inappropriate rustic remarks as a Union Minister, don’t hold your breath expecting Lutyen’s to take umbrage over Mani Shankar Aiyar. As long as you abuse in good English and not Hindi, prefer fresh lime water over shikanji, and continue singing paeans to Nehru, all will be forgotten by our elite self-appointed guardians of public morality.
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