He was a kid when he watched Sunny Deol’s Indian, a 2001 Bollywood flick about the challenges faced by an honest police officer. The film made a huge impact on the impressionable mind of a teenager. The film had managed to inspire him to such an extent that a decade later, he became a constable with the Rajasthan Police.
However, this boy had other dreams and being a simple constable wasn’t enough to fulfill those. With the dream to be an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer like his favourite cine star and oodles of perseverance, the youngster has managed to secure an All India Rank of 824 in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Examination 2018 and looks all set to become an IPS officer.
Making Dreams Turn into Reality
Meet 29-year-old Manoj Kumar Rawat from Jaipur’s Shyampura village, who has scripted a history for the entire Dalit community of his village. Speaking to edInbox, he said, “My journey definitely has not been that easy. I come from a humble background. My father is a school teacher while my mother is a homemaker. I have two siblings and we have had to face many hardships. There was a time when people refused to have water from our household. But I guess, things might change now.”
Speaking about his success, Manoj said, “At present, I am not with my family to share this moment. I am in Delhi where had shifted in order to prepare well for the Civil Services Examination. Believe me, my journey to become an IPS officer hasn’t been a cakewalk.”
Sunny might have inspired Rawat, but the film didn’t really give him a road map to success. So, he tried almost everything in the book to make his dream become a reality. Hence, he did it all – right from working as constable to taking up a job as a lower divisional clerk at a lower court in Rajasthan. But despite both his jobs being government jobs, Rawat kept yearning to be an IPS officer. “I felt that something was missing in my life. So, I appeared for the Civil Services Prelims while was a clerk. After that attempt, I realized that I needed to give my full attention towards the examination preparation, if I wanted to be an IPS officer. That made me quit my job; pack my bags and move over to Delhi.”
Friends Turn Critics
Once the decision was taken, and he moved over to Delhi after putting in his papers, he had to face a lot of ridicule from his community and friends, who had otherwise looked up to him. “People couldn’t believe that I had quit not one but two government jobs. They thought that I had gone crazy and would end up being a loser. People ridiculed me but I kept going, for I very well knew what I was doing,” he revealed.
When Failure Paves the Way to Success
It was sheer grit and determination that helped Rawat realize his dream. After tasting failure four times, he got lucky in his fifth attempt. “This was my fifth attempt. Luckily, I cleared. I think my perseverance and dedication to achieve my childhood dream played a pivotal role. I come from a humble family.”
Speaking about his decision to make Delhi his base, he said, “While making attempts, I realized that a lot of preparation and motivation are needed to crack the examination. It’s not a child’s play. Self study is not very helpful. For serious preparations to crack this prestigious examination, not just me but thousands of aspirants travel to Delhi to get the best training for the Civil Services Examination. In Delhi you just don’t have the best tutorials but also easy access to reference books and learning resources.”
Explaining his ordeal, he said, “I had appeared for NET and cleared the test for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and was receiving a stipend for the same. It was this money that helped me not just fund my civil services coaching but also help me sustain myself in an expensive city like Delhi.”
Interestingly, for his PhD, he had chosen Ambedkar as his topic. Speaking on the same, he said, “The research topic for my PhD is ‘Ambedkar View: Dalit Empowerment and Social Justice’. It’s almost complete. I shall be submitting it for review next year. But I must add, I am extremely delighted that I have cleared the examination and am on the verge of realizing a dream that I saw as a teenager.”
The young lad maintains that the experience that he gained while working as a constable will definitely help in policing areas that falls under his jurisdiction. On being asked what made him so sure of the fact that he would be making it to the ranks of an IPS officer, he laughed and said, “The assumption is being made simply on the basis of the staff selection made last year. Hence with my ranking, I am quite sure of being selected for the IPS.”
He also maintained that he would particularly take care of issues related to atrocities committed on women and work towards empowering them.
Reporting by Shabina Akhtar Special Correspondent, Kolkata