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.
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.
Manoj Sharma entered into a relationship with Shraddha Joshi when he was in class 12. According to him, he initially hesitated to propose to her as he failed in the class; 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. Despite opposition from the Shraddha’s family, she supported him.
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 of which he failed in all the subjects except for Hindi. In an interview, Sharma said that he realised the power of a civil services officer 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 of which he started driving an auto rickshaw 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. In his first attempt, Manoj was able to clear the prelims but could not clear the mains. Manoj secured AIR 121 in his fourth attempt and opted for the Indian Police Service (IPS). 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 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, he 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- In October 2023, a biopic titled 12th Fail, directed by the popular director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, was released. Actor Vikrant Massey portrayed Manoj Kumar Sharma’s role in the film.