Sanjaya Baru is the Indian Political Commentator, Policy Analyst, Writer, and Journalist. He served as the Media Advisor and Official Spokesman to the former Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. Let us find out some more interesting details about Sanjaya Baru’s life, his family, biography and other facts.
Sanjaya Baru was born in 1954 (age 65; as in 2019) in Hyderabad, India. He was educated at St. George’s Grammar School and The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet in Hyderabad. He did his Masters and PhD in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Further, he did his MPhil from the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram.
Baru started his career as a professor of Economics; wherein he taught at the University of Hyderabad, the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi, and at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He was a professor for around 10 years before he took a leap into Journalism.
In 1990, he was called by the ‘Doordarshan,’ to interview the then Finance Minister, Madhu Dandavate. It is then that Baru found Journalism an exciting career and soon joined the Economic Times. As a Journalist, Baru served as an Editor of the Business Standard, Chief Editor of Financial Express, and Associate Editor of Economic Times and Times of India. He was the personal friend to Dr Manmohan Singh.
Family, Wife & Caste
Sanjaya was born into a Hindu Family. His father, B. P. R. Vithal, was the Finance and Planning Secretary during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as the Finance Minister of India under P.V. Narasimha Rao’s Government. Mother’s name is not known.
Sanjaya married Rama V. Baru. The couple is blessed with a daughter, Tanvika Baru.
After eight years in Journalism, Baru left Times of India to spend some time at a research institute in Delhi. He took time off in between 1998 and 2000 to read and write. In 2000, he came back to Journalism and has worked as an editor for India’s major financial newspapers. He became the most respected and influential commentators on political and economic issues. Between 1999-2001, he was a member of National Security Advisory Board of India, a member of the Expert Group on Indian National Defence University and also for the India-ASEAN Eminent Persons Group. He has been a Consultant with the Human Development Report Office, UNDP, and the Asian Development Bank. He has also lectured at Chatham House in London, National Defence College in Delhi and Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.
From 2004 to 2008, Baru was appointed as the Chief Spokesperson and the Media Advisor for the ex-Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh; during his first term in the office. Since 2008, he served as a Senior Official in International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). In 2011, Baru took over as the Director of the Geo-economics and Strategy program of the Insitute. He also served as the Non-Executive Independent Director of Wockhardt Limited. Further, on 1 September 2017, Baru was appointed as the Secretary General of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He was also the Additional Independent Director at Artemis Global Life Sciences Limited.
As an author, Baru’s publications include books; The Political Economy of Indian Sugar: State Intervention and Structural Change, Strategic consequences of India’s economic performance, The Accidental Prime Minister, 1991: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Made History and India, The Bombay Plan: Blueprint for Economic Resurgence and the World: Essays on Geoeconomics and Foreign Policy.
- In 2014, Sanjay Baru hit the headlines when he published his book titled ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ where he stated that Dr Manmohan Singh was hardly in control of his cabinet and was totally subservient to Congress Party and the Party Chief Sonia Gandhi during his tenure as Prime Minister. He stated that Dr Singh’s vital power was erased by the party president Sonia Gandhi over his two terms. However, a Congress representative called Baru’s book “a work of fiction written by a disgruntled turncoat.”
- When Dr Singh declared his retirement before the elections in 2014, Baru was left with no option other than publishing the book with the pressure of the publishers; although it was earlier decided that the book would release after the elections. It was alleged by the Congress leaders that the book was released at the time when the heat of the 2014 elections was at its peak and opposition posed questions to Dr Singh, based on the claims made by the book.
- Sanjay Baru’s book “The Accidental Prime Minister” raised many controversies and the PMO released an official statement stating, “It is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gain.”
- In his book “The Accidental Prime Minister,” Baru disclosed many confidential conversations between the PM and Ministers. He also stated that Prime Minister’s choice was often overruled by Mrs Gandhi, during his tenure.
- Baru claims that he wrote the book “The Accidental Prime Minister” because Dr Singh was not getting credit for all the work he has done and that 90% of his writings were in favourable to Dr Singh.
- Baru referred Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, as “Damadji” in his book “The Accidental Prime Minister.”
- He made a bold statement in his book, “The Accidental Prime Minister” about Rajiv Gandhi being a weak Prime Minister.
- Dr Manmohan Singh’s daughter, Upinder Singh, commented on Baru’s book “The Accidental Prime Minister” as a ‘huge violation of trust.’
- In 2019, a Bollywood movie titled, The Accidental Prime Minister is made which depicts the life of Dr Manmohan Singh during his tenure as Prime Minister. The role of Dr Singh is played by Anupam Kher and Sanjaya Baru is played by Akshay Khanna.
- However, the movie “The Accidental Prime Minister” is opposed by the Congress Party while BJP is in support of the film.
- In 2010, Baru was bestowed with the GITAM Foundation Annual Award.
- His hobbies include Reading, Writing and Listening To Music.