Shri M J Akbar was born on 11th January 1951 in Telinipara, West Bengal. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in English at the Presidency College in Kolkata. He is married to Smt. Mallika Akbar and has two children, a daughter, Mukulika and a son, Prayaag. Shri M J Akbar is a distinguished writer who has authored several internationally acclaimed books, mainly on the Indian subcontinent's complex history and the turbulent interaction between faith and definitions of nationalism. They include India: The Siege Within; Nehru: The Making of India; Kashmir: Behind the Vale; The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity; Tinderbox: the Past and Future of Pakistan; and Blood Brothers, a novel. In addition, there have been four collections of his columns, reportage and essays. His books have been translated into many languages. In 2004, he was named a member of the Forum of Islamic Scholars and Intellectuals set up by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to draft a ten-year charter for Muslim nations at a special conference in Mecca. In March 2006, he joined The Brookings Institution in Washington, as a Visiting Fellow in the Brookings Project on U.S. Policy towards the Islamic world. He also serves as Chairman of the trust for the Calcutta Muslim Orphanage. Shri M. J. Akbar was elected to the Lok Sabha for Kishanganj, Bihar in 1989 and in March 2014 he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and became the party’s national spokesperson. He was elected as MP to the Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand in July 2015. In July 2016, he was elected for another term as MP from Madhya Pradesh. He assumed charge as the Minister of State for External Affairs on July 6, 2016.