Government & Politics

Manoj Kumar Sharma, a Former IAS Officer Writing Books, Motivating the Youth, and Coloring Canvases, Advising Goal-Setting & Hard Work for Success


Every setback is a path to greater success.
Every setback is a path to greater success.

From a 13-year-old village boy dreaming of becoming an officer to acing both RPSC and the UPSC, Manoj's journey is a tale of determination, achievements, and surprises. Embracing every challenge that came his way, he has also authored several books and received many awards.

Manoj Kumar Sharma, a former IAS Officer, author, and motivational speaker has been an achiever throughout his life. As an IAS officer he served as a District Collector in various locations.

Manoj says he firmly believes in the vastness of knowledge, likening it to an ocean, and advocates for continuous learning. He finds value in reading Chanakya’s 'Niti Shastra' and encourages everyone to explore life extensively.

He comes from a small town called Begun in Chittorgarh, which was his maternal grandparent's home. He studied there until he was 10 years old and at that time, he spoke only Mewari and didn't know how to speak Hindi. He found it strange when English classes started in the sixth grade because he didn't even know how to speak Hindi, let alone English!

Manoj fondly recalls a humorous incident from his 6th-grade English class when the teacher posed a question, and he couldn't provide the correct answer as had been lost in his thoughts and was not listening to the teacher. This experience made him realize the importance of concentration in life, prompting him to start focusing more diligently on things.

After that, he, along with his parents, moved to Jaipur. Manoj says that both his paternal and maternal families were well-to-do families, but his father's strong sense of self-respect led them to start anew in a rented home. This transition brought financial challenges too, and they often found themselves worrying about their next day's meal. To make ends meet, he and his mother made carry bags out of newspapers, which taught him the value of self-respect in life.

He further adds that when the paper bag work became unprofitable, he and his mother began making coal balls from ash and selling them. As they were going through such hardship, to improve their condition, his father encouraged him to prepare for government exams.

He shares an incident that ignited a fire within him when, at the age of 13, he witnessed a street brawl. Observing an administrative officer stepping out of a white ambassador car with a red light, he marveled at his power to resolve conflicts. This moment fueled his determination to become an IAS officer, a dream he silently pursued.

Despite being among the toppers in his class when he was in 10th, his father used to tell him that he could not do anything. Manoj thinks that his father used to tell him this because he wanted him to do better and strive for excellence.

When he was in class 11, his father insisted that he fill out forms for various government exams, but deep down, he was clear about his aspirations. He dedicated his five senses to his goal, transforming into a curious individual who delved deeply into every subject, thoroughly exploring each topic.

Manoj mentions that he attempted the LDC exam but could not pass, which disheartened his family. He then tried to become an inspector but faced failure again. However, despite his parents' disappointment, he felt unperturbed because he knew he was meant for something else. He recalls attempting about 15 exams and failing in all of them. This experience taught him that if success eludes you in one endeavor, it may be because another success is waiting for you elsewhere.

Life took a turn, and when Manoj secured the top position in his university in BA and earned a gold medal, he again gained confidence that he could become an officer. However, he acknowledged three of his weaknesses: flying kites, keeping pigeons, and watching movies. To address this, he rented a room half a kilometer away from his place to study in peace. This allowed him to avoid distractions like kites and pigeons. However, to maintain a balance in his life, he still indulged in watching movies once a week for enjoyment.

Living in the rented room with his friend, he immersed himself in studies. Sleeping only six hours a day, he utilized the remaining 18 hours for studying. Determined to make the most of his time, he even studied while bathing, wrapping his books in polythene. This rigorous routine persisted for an entire year, shares Manoj.

When the results were out, he had successfully cleared the RPSC examination. Though the news left his father in awe, he still vowed that he would step into Manoj’s office only when Manoj would become a collector.

Subsequently, he appeared for the UPSC examination and aced it on his first attempt. True to his words, his father visited his office only after he attained the position of a collector, says Manoj.

For those aspiring to clear RPSC or UPSC exams, Manoj advises starting preparing for interviews early as it nurtures leadership qualities. Reflecting on his experience, he suggests embracing oneself, emphasizing that confidence matters more than physical attributes, and advocating self-acceptance for effective leadership.

He also emphasizes the importance of maintaining fluency in language, whether Hindi or English, and speaking eloquently without mixing two languages. Additionally, he stresses the significance of getting rid of the desi accent while speaking.

As he had a secured job under his belt, he indulged in all the fun he had ever desired, particularly his fascination with airplanes. He saved a good amount during his training, enabling him to join a flying club. He also secured a DGCA scholarship for flying training as a pilot.

Talking about his struggles, Manoj says he perceives them as a journey to be enjoyed. He believes that the joy of accomplishment lasts only 10 minutes, after which the pursuit of another goal begins.

Remembering the time when he had been awarded with the Sahitya Akademi Award, he says he felt happy and emotional. However, immediately after receiving it, his thoughts shifted to achieving another award, says.

He finds it ironic that, in his school days, he used to dislike doing homework and writing, yet later in life, he authored eight books.

When asked how he took to writing, Manoj recalls that in 2003, he was asked by the Chief Minister to assist literary figures who were traveling to the USA for the 'Vishwa Hindi Sammelan' with their passport and visa processes. During the seven days he spent with them to facilitate the visa process, the litterateurs encouraged Manoj to start writing and suggested that he might also be invited to the 'Vishwa Hindi Sammelan' someday. This inspired him to make the decision to start writing.

Manoj shares that in a span of three months, he compiled all his writings and approached a major publication house in Delhi for publishing them. Initially, they turned him away, stating they only published renowned authors and advised him to try a publisher in Jaipur. This rejection wounded his self-esteem and respect, leading him to return to Jaipur.

Surprisingly, after 15 days, the same publisher approached him, seeking permission to publish his book. He granted consent, and the book was published, earning him the Sahitya Akademi Award. This accolade led to his participation as a litterateur in the 2008 Vishwa Hindi Sammelan at the UNO, where he engaged in poetry recitation.

A year later, Manoj ventured into storytelling, and once more, his book earned recognition. He was selected to represent the country  in an event in Johannesburg, South Africa. The accolades continued, and presently, he boasts eight published books, some of which have been translated in other languages.

Manoj mentions that although he was never interested in writing ghazals, attending an all-India ‘mushaira’ inspired him to write some. He recalls being praised for one of his ghazals by Santoshanand, a renowned Indian lyricist, who even hugged him in appreciation.

He recounts an incident where, during an interview on Akashvani, the interviewer suggested that he should sing and connected him with a famous Rajasthani singer. Despite having no prior experience in singing, they collaborated on a song, which was sent to Mumbai and subsequently made into a music album by T-Series.

Discussing his role models, Manoj mentions having various people as inspirations for different aspects of life. He identifies 8-10 individuals who have imparted diverse lessons in his life and says also draws knowledge from scriptures and the ‘Niti Shastra’ too.

IAS Manoj Kumar Sharma's message encourages contributing to nation-building, striving for excellence and knowledge in your profession, aiming for the ‘numero-uno’ position in your field, staying unique amidst the crowd, and embracing failure as a stepping stone to another success.

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Watch the Motivational Story of Manoj Kumar Sharma | Retired IAS Officer | Award-Winning Author

Get to know Manoj Kumar Sharma, a former IAS officer, author, and motivational speaker. Coming from a village with a dream to become an officer, he rose to become a collector. Watch the video to learn about his life.