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M. J. Akbar

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Mobashar Jawed "MJ" Akbar Bengali: মবাসের জাভেদ আকবর is an Indian politician who is the Minister of State MoS for External Affairs, and a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, from Madhya Pradesh He was inducted into the Union Council of Ministers by PM Narendra Modi on 5 July 2016 He is also a veteran Indian journalist and author of several books He first served as an elected Member of Parliament between 1989 and 1991, and returned to public life in March 2014, when he joined the BJP and was appointed national spokesperson during the 2014 general elections that brought the party back to office with a simple majority under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi In July, 2015 he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand During his long career in journalism, he launched, as editor, India’s first weekly political news magazine, Sunday, in 1976, and two daily newspapers, The Telegraph and The Asian Age in 1989 and 1994 He has also been editorial director of India Today and The Sunday Guardian He was the Editor-in-Chief and then Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian, a weekly newspaper that he founded, until he left to join politics full-time He has remained associated with leading media houses and periodicals in India including India Today, Headlines Today, The Telegraph, The Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle',' among others

He has written several non-fiction books, including a biography of Jawaharlal Nehru titled Nehru: The Making of India, a book on Kashmir titled Kashmir Behind the Vale, Riot After Riot and India: The Siege Within He also authored The Shade of Swords, a history of jihad Akbar has also authored fiction, such as Blood Brothers-A Family Saga Fratelli Di Sangue, Italian translated version Have Pen, Will Travel: Observations of a Globetrotter is a travelogue authored by him His book 'Byline' consists of write-ups of bylines picked from his writings His book Tinderbox: The past and future of Pakistan, in January 2012 discusses the themes of identity crisis and class struggles in Pakistan


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Politics
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 Books
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early lifeedit

He was born on 11 January 1951 in a Bihari family As per semi-fictional book written by Akbar, Blood Brothers - A Family Saga Akbar's paternal grandfather was a Hindu named Prayag who lived in the small jute-mill town of Telinipara near Chandannagar, just north of Kolkata, in the Hooghly District of West Bengal Prayag was raised by a Muslim couple after being orphaned in communal riots Later he converted to Islam and took the name Rehmatullah1

Akbar attended Calcutta Boys' School and later Presidency College, Calcutta 1967–70, where he attained a BA Hons in English2


Akbar joined The Times of India in 1971 as a trainee Subsequently, he moved to The Illustrated Weekly of India, then India's largest-selling magazine, working as a sub-editor as well as distinguishing himself as a feature writer capable of contributing a prolific number of stories He would remain with the weekly until 1973 when he was named editor of the news fortnightly, Onlooker, owned by The Free Press Journal Group in Mumbai In 1976, he moved to Calcutta to join the Ananda Bazar Patrika ABP Group as editor of Sunday, a political weekly3 Within just three years of its launch, the investigative reporting pioneered by the magazine established its national circulation and number one position The magazine took an uncompromising stand against the Emergency and fought press censorship and dictatorship Sunday not only established major trends in journalism but also spawned a new generation of journalists in the country

In 1982, after the success of The Sunday, Akbar launched what is considered by some to be India's first modern newspaper He conceived, designed and edited the daily newspaper, The Telegraph, which had a major impact on newspaper journalism in India

In 1989, he took a brief detour into politics with his election to the Indian Parliament in November 1989 from Kishanganj in Bihar on a CongressI ticket4 He lost the seat in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections56 He served as late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's official spokesman7

In 1991, Akbar joined the Government as an adviser in the Ministry of Human Resources, and helped policy planning in key areas of education, the National Literacy Mission and in the protection of heritage He resigned from the post and quit politics in December 1992, returning to journalism and full-time writing In 1993, Akbar started a new media company with the aim of creating India's first newspaper that would not only include an international focus within its editorial range, but also be the first Indian daily with an international edition This newspaper appeared in February 1994 The Asian Age was launched with initial editions in Delhi, Bombay, and London, and by 2008 had grown, in collaboration with the Deccan Chronicle, to eight editions, into a major media presence nationally and internationally In 2004, the group began publishing The International Herald Tribune in India, and became a publishing partner of The New York Times2 Akbar was also the editor-in-chief of The Deccan Chronicle, a Hyderabad-based news daily

In 2005, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia appointed him as a member of the committee to draft a ten-year charter for Muslim nations on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation8

In March 2006, Akbar joined the Brookings Institution, Washington, as a Visiting Fellow in the Brookings Project on US Policy Towards the Islamic World During the late 90s, he diluted his stake in the Asian Age, eventually selling of a major part of it to the Reddys, the owners of the Deccan Chronicle Group

In March 2008, Akbar was removed from The Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle due to differences with the owners over editorial policy, as some newspapers have reported it

Akbar launched the fortnightly political magazine Covert on 13 May 2008 in Delhi with the first issue on stands on 14 May Simultaneously, the Covert website9 was launched two days later though it was ultimately discontinued

Akbar launched a new Sunday newspaper from 31 January 2010, The Sunday Guardian, published from New Delhi and Chandigarh besides an edition called India on Sunday from London10 He remained the Editor-in-Chief and then Editorial Director there until May 2014, when he resigned to join politics full-time

In the meanwhile, in September 2010, he joined the Living Media as Editorial Director of the leading weekly English news magazine India Today and the English news channel Headlines Today He left in October 2012


Akbar was a Congress MP from Kishanganj in Bihar between 1989 and 1991, he was also a Congress party spokesperson in 198911

M J Akbar joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in March 2014 as the national spokesperson of the party111213

He was elected to Rajya Shabha from Jharkhand in July 2015111415

He took oath as Minister of State for External Affairs in Rashtrapati Bhavan on 5 July 20161116

Personal lifeedit

Akbar is married to Mallika Joseph, his contemporary at The Times of India They have two children, Prayaag an alumnus of Dartmouth College17 and Mukulika a Law graduate from Jesus College, Cambridge1819


  • Nehru: the Making of India 199011
  • Riot After Riot 1991
  • Kashmir: Behind the Vale 1991
  • India: The Siege within - Challenges to a Nation's Unity 1996
  • The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity 2003
  • Byline 2004
  • Blood Brothers - A Family Saga 2006
  • Have Pen, Will Travel 2010
  • Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan 2012
  • A Mirror to Power: The Politics of a Fractured Decade, HarperCollins India, 2015


  1. ^ M J Akbar "BLOOD BROTHERS BY M J AKBAR Last Published 2006 | M J AKBAR" mjakbarorg Retrieved 2016-01-12 
  2. ^ a b "Biography" M J Akbar 2015-12-18 Retrieved 2016-01-12 
  3. ^ Bhandare, Namita 21 May 2011 "70's: The decade of innocence" Hindustan Times Archived from the original on 26 May 2011 Retrieved 2 June 2011 
  4. ^ "Dial-a-divorce against spirit of Islam: M J Akbar" 
  5. ^ "KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF GENERAL ELECTIONS, 1989 TO THE NINTH LOK SABHA - Vol I LS 89" PDF ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA, NEW DELHI 1989 Archived from the original PDF on 30 September 2007 Retrieved 2016-01-12 
  6. ^ "Election 1991 results for Kishanganj" ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA, NEW DELHI 1991 Archived from the original on 2007-09-30 Retrieved 2016-01-12 
  7. ^ "Another shade of Akbar" The Times of India 
  8. ^ "Profile of M J AKbar" Storylogy Archived from the original on 20 May 2014 Retrieved 25 April 2014 
  9. ^ "COVERT Fortnightly Magazine" M J Akbar 2009-05-17 Archived from the original on 2009-05-17 Retrieved 2016-01-12 
  10. ^ "Latest News and In-depth Analysis, Opinion from India & world - SundayGuardianLive" Sunday Guardian 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Portfolio of Modi government ministers: MJ Akbar appointed MoS External Affairs", The Financial Express, 5 July 2016 
  12. ^ "Journalist MJ Akbar joins BJP and praises Modi" Hindustan Times 2014-03-22 
  13. ^ "BJP appoints MJ Akbar as national spokesperson - The Economic Times on Mobile" Meconomictimescom 2014-03-25 
  14. ^ "MJ Akbar Wins Rajya Sabha By-Poll from Jharkhand" NDTVcom 2 July 2015 
  15. ^ http://indianexpresscom/article/india/politics/rajya-sabha-madhya-pradesh-m-j-akbar-anil-dave-bjp-congress-tankha-2848045
  16. ^ http://mndtvcom/people/mj-akbar-from-congress-mp-to-pm-modis-minister-1428124
  17. ^ "Alumni 2000" 
  18. ^ Sen, Rehana "Green is the valley" The Hindu 
  19. ^ 1 Archived 6 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • M J Akbar - Profile

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M. J. Akbar

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