Manoj Kumar Sharma is a 2005-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Maharashtra cadre. He hit the headlines in October 2023 after a biopic titled 12th Fail was released on his struggles to become an IPS officer.
Manoj Kumar Sharma was born on Thursday, 3 July 1975 (age 48 years; as of 2023) in Bilgaon Chaudhari village, Morena, Madhya Pradesh, India. His zodiac sign is Cancer. He did his schooling in Madhya Pradesh following which he enrolled at the Maharani Laxmi Bai Government College of Excellence in Gwalior, where he did his graduation. He then earned a master’s degree in arts in history. He also holds a PhD in Journalism. He did his PhD while preparing for UPSC exams. Government of India Zee Business – YouTube
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Manoj Kumar Sharma was born into a lower-middle-class Hindu family in Madhya Pradesh.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Ramveer Sharma, served in the Agriculture Department in the Government of Madhya Pradesh. He has a brother and a sister.
Wife & Children
His wife, Shraddha Joshi Sharma, is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. The couple tied the knot on 5 December 2005. They have two children, a son named Manas Sharma, and a daughter named Chia.
Manoj Sharma entered into a relationship with Shraddha Joshi when he was preparing for the UPSC. According to him, he initially hesitated to propose to her as he had failed in class 12th; however, he proposed to her and said that if she accepted his proposal, he would work hard to change their future. He also claimed that Shraddha always motivated him to prepare for the UPSC civil services examinations and supported him despite stiff opposition from her family.
Indian Police Service (IPS): A Success Story
According to sources, Manoj Sharma did not perform well academically. He secured a third division in classes 9 and 10 and managed to pass his class 11 examinations by cheating in the final exams. However, as he was preparing to take his class 12 board exams, a new Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) was assigned to Morena. This new SDM instructed the schools to prevent cheating during the exams. This led to him not being able to cheat as a result he failed in all the subjects except for Hindi. In an interview, Sharma said that he realised the power of a civil services officer after the incident and got motivated to become one by clearing the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (MPPSC) exams. After completing his schooling, he moved to Gwalior, where he started pursuing his graduation and began preparing for PCS exams. While preparing for the PCS exams, Manoj learned that there are positions higher than those obtained after clearing the PCS exams, specifically the ones individuals get after passing the UPSC exams. With a new focus, he began preparing for UPSC exams. Since he came from a poor family, his family could not support him financially as a result he started driving a tempo to sustain himself. After completing his graduation, he shifted to New Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar, where he started preparing for UPSC. While preparing for it, he used to earn extra income by taking dogs on walks for Rs. 400. He later got a job as a peon in a library, which helped in preparing for UPSC exams as the job gave him access to the books that he earlier could not afford. He earned Rs. 300 per month for working in the library. He also worked as a washroom cleaner while working as a peon. While living in Delhi, Manoj contacted Vikas Divyakirti, the founder of Drishti IAS, who offered to coach Manoj for free since he had no money to pay for the tuition fee. In his first CSE attempt, Manoj was able to clear the prelims but could not clear the mains. He was not able to clear the prelims on his second and third attempts. Manoj secured AIR 121 in his fourth attempt and opted for the Indian Police Service (IPS). In an interview, Manoj said that he was so confident in his fourth attempt that he did not even wait for the results and began preparing for the interview. As per him, during the interview after clearing the mains, a bench of four interviewers questioned him. One of the interviewers questioned him by saying that a person who failed in school and had a poor command of English might not be a suitable candidate for civil services. However, after he expressed his opinion about it, the interviewers seconded him. In 2005, he reported at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) in Hyderabad, Telangana, where he underwent a police training module. He completed his training on 22 August 2005.
Career After Becoming An IPS Officer
As an IPS officer, Sharma has served in various roles in various positions in Maharashtra. During his tenure as Superintendent of Police (SP) of Kolhapur, he played a vital role in maintaining the law and order situation by diligently handling the protests regarding the illegal collection of toll tax on the highways as well as sugarcane price hikes.
He has also participated in numerous counter-naxal operations undertaken in places like Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Gondiya, Yavatmal, Bhandara, and Nanded. In 2015, during the agitation in Maharashtra following the murder of Communist Party of India (CPI) member Govind Pansare, he played a vital role in defusing the situation and preventing it from getting out of control.
Thereafter, Manoj Kumar Sharma was posted to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) as a Deputy Inspector General (DIG). Later, he was posted to Mumbai as an Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP).
- Manoj Kumar Sharma has earned the names Simba and Singham for his service as a police officer in Maharashtra.
- Before getting motivated to become an IPS officer, Manoj wanted to become a clerk in the Madhya Pradesh government after completing his schooling. He had also planned on learning typewriting to do so.
- After completing his schooling, Manoj came to Gwalior with just Rs. 500 and a bag of clothes.
- Manoj started learning typing in Hindi when he was in school so that he could get a good job in the village and contribute at home.
- He and his cousins also worked on the farmland owned by his father (3 bighas) and his uncles (9 bighas.)
- During his childhood, he used to love history books. It also made him popular among his elders as a “studious” boy. As a consequence of his reading habits, he became a good storyteller and started making commentary in the local cricket tournaments which were often spun with stories.
- To earn money, Manoj started tutoring kids too but it did not work out much as he was not good at either Math or English. He used to go door-to-door and ask for tutoring services.
- Then got a menial job at Madhya Bharat Hindi Sahitya Sabha in Gwalior. He also started reading poems and books there as he was very inspired by the gatherings of poets in the library. After library hours, he used to practice public speaking for 2-3 hours every other day. This helped him gain confidence and improve his speaking skills.
- Another of his jobs was walking the pet dogs of rich people where he used to get 400 Rs per dog. Later, Shraddha also joined him in his walks after catching him accidentally. Before this Manoj used to hide this job from her thinking that it would create a bad impression.
- After leaving his job at the library, (due to allegations of stealing Rs 1200 after disposing of old paper), he joined a flour mill where he used to work and sleep in one single room.
- He started writing diaries when he was in grade 10. He has still kept this habit as he thinks that it is the best way to vent his feelings. During his student days, he found it so motivating that he also made Shraddha practice with him.
- In an Interview, Manoj said that he tried to impress his wife in their bachelorhood days by making tea and learning how to cook for her. He used to bring her roti and pickles for her after her classes. After marriage, he still makes it a point to cook for her whenever she has achieved something in her career. His fixed menu includes dishes like paneer, roti, raita, and pulao.
- While he was good at cramming and learning things, Manoj claims that he has always been bad at expressing his mind in the UPSC exams. To improve this, he used to write at least 40-50 pages a day.
- In 2021, author Anurag Pathak wrote a biography titled Twelfth Fail: Hara Vahi Jo Lada Nahi, which is based on Manoj Kumar Sharma’s life struggles.
- In an interview, Manoj revealed that he used to sleep on the footpath as his parents were very poor and had no roof in their house.
- According to Manoj, he gained the motivation to endure hardships in life after reading the biographies of Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (also known as Maxim Gorky) and Abraham Lincoln. He also read several books written by Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh while preparing for UPSC.
- While giving an interview, Manoj revealed that when he used to drive a tempo in Gwalior, police confiscated his vehicle. Thereafter, he went to the SDM of Gwalior to request him to ask the police to release his vehicle.
- According to Manoj Kumar Sharma, he was very poor in English and lacked a basic understanding of the language. He once revealed that while appearing for the UPSC mains exam, he wrote a hundred-mark essay on “Terrorism in India,” whereas the question in the English paper asked the candidates to write an essay on “Tourism in India.” He said that he was not able to understand the question properly due to poor knowledge of English, and he had memorized the essay on “Terrorism in India” before the exam.
- According to Shraddha, her parents were hesitant to marry her to Manoj, even when he had become a police officer because he had been assigned to the Maharashtra cadre. At that time, Shraddha was in Nainital, Uttarakhand, serving as a PCS officer. To convince her parents, Manoj lied to them, stating that if they got married and he presented their marriage certificate to the government, the government would allow him to shift his cadre from Maharashtra to Uttarakhand on compassionate grounds.
- In October 2023, a biopic titled 12th Fail, directed by the popular director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, was released. Actor Vikrant Massey portrayed IPS Manoj Kumar Sharma’s role in the film.
- One of Manoj’s passions is kitchen gardening. He loves to grow vegetables and fruits at his house and describes it as one of his greatest pleasures.