M. J. Akbar is an Indian politician. M. J. Akbar started his career as a journalist. However, he eventually turned into a politician. Apart from the Indian National Congress, he has also been a key figure in the Bharatiya Janata Party. Not only in India, but he has served in abroad as well as an important bureaucrat.
M. J. Akbar or Mobashar Jawed Akbar was born in a Bihari family on 11 January 1951. According to his book, Blood Brothers – A Family Saga, Akbar’s grandfather was Hindu, named Prayag. who lived in a small town, Telinipara near Chandannagar in West Bengal. His grandfather, Prayag became an orphan in a communal riot and was raised by a Muslim couple. Later, he converted to Islam and got the name Rehmatullah.
M. J. Akbar was born to Shri Sheikh Akbar Ali and Shrimati Imtiaz Akbar in a Muslim family in Telinipara, West Bengal. He has only one sibling, his sister, Gazala Akbar Sharma.
In 1975, he married to Mallika Joseph Akbar, who was his fellow journalist at Times of India. The couple has one son, Prayaag Jawad Akbar and one daughter, Mukulika who has studied law from Jesus College, Cambridge University, England.
Akbar attended Calcutta Boys’ School and later, he joined Presidency College, Calcutta in 1967 where he studied BA (Hons.) in English. In 1971, he joined “The Times of India” as an Intern. After sometimes, he moved to The Illustrated Weekly of India and remained there until 1973. In 1976, he joined the Ananda Bazar Patrika (ABP) Group as an editor of The Sunday weekly. After the success of The Sunday, he launched India’s first modern newspaper, The Telegraph.
In 1989, he tried his hand into politics for the first time and successfully contested the Indian General Election from Kishanganj constituency in Bihar on the Indian National Congress’ ticket. However, he lost his seat in the 1991 Indian General Election. In 1991, he joined the Government of India as an advisor in the Ministry of Human Resources. In 1992, he resigned the post, left the politics and returned to full-time journalism. In 1994, he launched another Newspaper, The Asian Age. In 2005, he was appointed by the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as a member of the committee to draft a ten-year charter for Muslim nations on the behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
In 2006, he joined the Brookings Institution in Washington, as a visiting fellow in the Brookings Project on the United States’ Policy Towards the Islamic World. In 2014, Akbar joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a national spokesperson of the party. In July 2015, he was elected to Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand. On 5 July 2016, he was sworn in as Minister of State for External Affairs.
- In October 2018, several women accused Akbar of sexual harassment, a journalist named Priya Ramani alleged that when he was editor of a newspaper, The Asian Age, she was harassed by him in a hotel room. In her allegation, she said that she was made to feel uncomfortable.
- Another journalist Ghazala Wahab has also accused him of sexual assault. According to Ghazala Wahab, “He called me in his cabin. I knocked and entered. He was standing next to the door and before I could react, he shut the door, trapping me between his body and the door. I instinctively flinched and he held me and bent to kiss me. With my mouth clamped shut and I struggled to turn my face to one side.”
He receives ₹50,000/month as a salary and ₹45,000/month as constituency allowances. He has jewelry assets worth more than ₹38 lakh. As in 2016, his net worth is more than ₹36 crore.
- In 1990, he published his first book, Nehru: The Making of India.
- Akbar was the spokesperson of late former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi.
- He has also worked as an editor-in-chief of “The Deccan Chronicle” a Hyderabad based newspaper.
- He has penned down as many as 10 books by now.