TODAY -

Natwar Singh And Mani Shankar Aiyar – Above And Beyond Parties

Ningombam Bupenda Meitei *



A reply to my phone call came when I called up on his mobile, saying, "I am busy now in an election campaign in my constituency. Sonia Gandhi is coming. I will call you tomorrow.", after which the phone got disconnected. The next morning, around 10 am, a call on my mobile which turned out to be my alarm, came to wake me up while I was sleeping in Dehradun, I picked up the call and the conversation started for a while. Unfailingly, the caller was the same person who promised me to call me the next day, and the person was none other than Mani Shankar Aiyar.

I have met Mani a few times and invited him for a dinner too after which I had to give my handkerchief to wipe his hands. He told me that his wife was so concerned that he should have dinner on time, which was quite evident from the consistent calls made by his wife to him while I was strolling with him. Mani is such a rare and perhaps the only former Union Cabinet Minister of India and contemporary old dosco of Rajiv Gandhi, who can say all the nine districts of Manipur without handling a paper. Mani did it in St.Stephen's College's auditorium.

Mani told me his less liking for the present Manipur's Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who also confronted verbally with Mani in All India Congress meet in New Delhi by saying that Mani did not know anything about Manipur. Mani when he was the Union Cabinet Minister, had banged the table of the Chief Minister yelling "Mr.Ibobi, talk to me" when the Chief Minister was quiet inside the Chief Minister's Office in Imphal. Mani besides heading other ministries, served not merely as DONER (Development of North Eastern Region) Minister, but he remains even today as a proud Mani who says that Mani+pur is his own place, as Manipur is a land of Mani. Mani to me, is a gentleman with his esoteric philosophy and elitist egalitarianism.

Mani Shankar Aiyar with the writer
Mani Shankar Aiyar with the writer



His senior both in college days and Indian Foreign Service Natwar Singh shaab, is the person whom I have not met so far, yet, I was told that he was a good hockey player (the game that made me proud to hear as I played hockey since my childhood, school days and college days too) in his college days by an old stephanian the then Governor of Manipur S.S.Siddhu. Natwar shaab, the former Foreign Minister of India, perhaps, would have been more complacent if the palace of Patiala had matrilineage enthroning him as the Maharaja to his Maharani of Patiala. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh who would give his head but never his throne, would perhaps leave no stone unturned to incapacitate such royal ascendancy. Natwar's books and writings have made me a living proud Indian.

It was in the year of 2004 May-June, while I was residing in my uncle's official residence at R.K.Puram, New Delhi, I saw a group photo of Mani standing while Natwar seating on a chair, on Times of India ( if I am not mistaken, because ToI was the only paper taken during my short stay in my uncle's residence ) glorifying the rise of stephanians in the then 14th Lok Sabha. A decade later, I tried finding the same photo but remained all in vain. Yet, surprisingly, an article 'A Friend and a Gentleman' written by Mani on Natwar, came recently on Outlook India which has the photo that I have been searching for ( http://www.outlookindia.com/article/A-Friend-And-A-Gentleman-/291561 ). The photo still remains inspiring even today as it was in 2004, and very dominantly, my interest of joining St.Stephen's College, Delhi was much put in an accelerating pace by such graceful photo of the two former diplomats who had served in Indian Foreign Service and also had served the country under many distinguished Prime Ministers. I came to know about the college while I was studying in class 9 in Sainik School Imphal in the year 2000 when an old stephanian in physics got 11 rank in IAS, namely, Rajkumar Dinesh Singh, who was the first one to kick my interest of joining the college. But, later, the photo of the duo ( Mani and Natwar) was so strong enough that I decided to join only and only St.Stephen's and I got through in Physics in the summer of 2004 with RR (residence) in All Nutt North Block to become a member of ANGA ( All Nutt North Gentlemen’s Association) under the block tutorship of Dr.David Baker, when the highest number of stephanians and the highest number of alumnus from any college in India had gone to Lok Sabha - the House of the People, not only showcasing but also proving the world that the corridors of power in India begins from the stroll in the Main Corridor of the college. It often reminded me of a young resident boy studying in Westminster school unlike Harrow or Eton, peeping out through the window of his dorm to look at The Palace of Westminster. The aura of the college became like the winds over Westminster school.

Mani's impeccable and Greek like long sentences' speech and Natwar's witting and merry writing with historical anecdotes, yet dependent on the interpretations of some historical understanding of his, best known to him, have impacted me with a sense of pride and dignity to assert the role and contributions made by our former Prime Ministers namely Pandit Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi for our country.

May my alma mater produce many more such distinguished servants of mankind and twinkling stars of humanity.

Ad dei gloriam.
( To the glory of God )

Natwar Singh And Mani Shankar Aiyar
Natwar Singh And Mani Shankar Aiyar :: Photograph by : T.Narayan






* Ningombam Bupenda Meitei wrote this article for e-pao.net
Ningombam Bupenda Meitei, an author of two books is a writer and poet based in New Delhi.
The article has been published on The North East Today Magazine.
This article was posted on August 22, 2014.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Id Festival- 'Id-Ul-Azha' :: Book
  • World Day to Combat Desertification 2024
  • NDPP did not lose LS due to local problem
  • RSS chief says, priority Manipur
  • What if not IIT ?
  • Waiting for a response from the PM
  • The test of leadership failed
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #35: Download
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Triathlon : Manipur bag 6 medals (3 gold)
  • Illegal immigrants/fugitives from Myanmar
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • A solution to Meitei-Kuki-Zo conflict
  • The Power of Poppy - 35 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: R K Brojen Singh
  • Brief sketch on General Balaram Sougaijamba
  • Non-violent for peaceful, mutual co-existence
  • Homeless person ..alcoholism & defeated TB
  • Cancer on rise among young adults
  • Defending, fighting for Idea of Manipur
  • From partiality to complicity
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • 'Modi must announce finality of Naga pacts'
  • Gliding over Brahmaputra
  • Question leaks cause stress among student
  • Home remedies for prickly heat
  • After IIT, AIIMS it is now IIM
  • Stealing spotlight from Manipur crisis
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • Strongly condemns violence in Jiribam
  • Lessons from outcome of LS election
  • Tumcho releases "Goodness of God"
  • Right diagnostic for antimicrobial resistance
  • 12th June is World Day against Child Labour
  • Hands of geo-politics ?
  • The row over NEET-2014
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Chilli Chicken: Film Spotlighting NE in B'lore
  • Committee of Narcotics Anonymous - Imphal
  • The Power of Meditation
  • Oceans as a career choice
  • Getting more and more audacious
  • A test of leadership
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Gifting two seats to Cong
  • Voters empowered democracy
  • Postcards from Meghalaya premieres
  • Milk : Essential nutrient for a healthy body
  • Failing in competitive exam not end of world
  • Delhi : A mere spectator
  • Abandoning Jiribam
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #5
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Mainstream in Shoes of Alternative
  • Protect the medicines that protect us
  • Lets take action for our land & our future
  • Democracy and independent media
  • Agenda at work to shut Western Gate
  • Keeping Manipur on the boil
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #34: Download
  • The Enigmatic Journey of 'Laikhutshangbi'
  • Individual and the Social
  • An Ardent Appeal to All Concerns
  • Condemnation of Attack & Govt Inaction
  • The Power of Poppy - 34 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Alien fishes spotted in Manipur's rivers
  • Training on mushroom at Langthabal
  • Digital avatars or deepfakes ?
  • 7th June is the World Food Safety Day
  • How to prepare for UPSC after 10th ?
  • The Jiri violence
  • Beginning of a new vote culture ?
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • BJP, NPF & other NDA pay heavy price
  • Nature is one of greatest blessings of God
  • Plantation drive in Tripura, Assam & Manipur
  • Summer beauty
  • Environment conservation & over-exploitation
  • Is Modi cut out for leading a coalition ?
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Scholarship for Johnstone Hr Sec students
  • 1st foundation day of Interfaith Forum
  • World Environment Day: Our land, our future
  • Indonesia stronger anti-tobacco measures
  • Navigating a fragile Myanmar: India's policy
  • New breed entering electoral politics
  • The road to formation of new govt
  • International Dance Day #1 : Gallery
  • Matchbox marketing mantra
  • Stop harming nature :: Poem
  • Saving for oneself & the Nation
  • Model United Nations (MUN) conducted
  • Tobacco: Threat to health & environment
  • Candidate from ruling party biting the dust
  • The verdict
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #4
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Navigating Remal amidst Manipur conflict
  • We are #GenerationRestoration
  • Intl Day of Innocent Children Victims
  • Apparel Industry Skills & Innovation CoE
  • What's in a cyclone's name ?
  • Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses
  • Exit poll predictions
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #33: Download
  • Evading flood & rethinking urbanization
  • Manipur Flood: Health Advisory
  • Onus on civil bodies to ensure NNPG unity
  • Rats also cause flood
  • Benefits of JEE Main mock tests
  • People have spoken, now the results
  • The fury of Remal
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • The flood in our Stars
  • The Power of Poppy - 33 :: Poem
  • 'Group of people misrepresented themselves'
  • EV industry and career options
  • Scientist of Manipur: Chandrakant Aribam
  • Candy flavoured traps to hook next Gen
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #2
  • Tobacco affects health & environment too
  • Jio extend validity for Customer in Manipur
  • Students must learn about AI irrespective
  • As vote count day approaches : Floods
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Flooded : Sacrifice of Yairipok's Maiden
  • World No Tobacco Day 2024
  • Chandam Rishikanta wins NPC Nat'l C'ship
  • Flood: Helpline numbers for emergency
  • Battling body odour ?
  • Floods : Not entirely natural phenomena
  • PM Modi's purpose
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Flood: Control Rooms & Helpline numbers
  • Economic impact of ongoing conflict
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Cut deficit, boom likely
  • Are Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
  • Beating of the Retreat #2 : Gallery
  • We did Overcome: Mayhem of Month of May
  • Training on mushroom at Potshagbam
  • Famous female Mathematicians in India
  • Disinformation campaign thengnare
  • Human trafficking puts humanity to shame
  • Sky opens up in all its fury
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Combined Defence Services Exam 2024
  • Good show in Class X exams
  • Downplaying the crisis
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD