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Meet ‘Karmayogi’ Dr Manoj Soni, the New UPSC Chairman

From selling incense sticks to becoming the country's youngest university vice-chancellor in 2005, Dr. Manoj Soni's story is full struggle and determination. No surprize that such person is going to head the UPSC, Meet the new UPSC chairman Manoj Soni.

Dr. Manoj Soni will be the next Union Public Service Commission Chairman. He will replace Pradeep Kumar Joshi. Dr. Soni has served as the Vice-Chancellor of two universities. He will be appointed after the completion of President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to the Netherlands, and will be the 31st Chairman of UPSC.

The story of Manoj Soni is one of struggle and determination. Born on 17 February, 1965 in Mumbai, Dr Manoj was in the 5th standard when he lost his father. After the untimely death of his father, the responsibility of the family fell on Manoj’s head. Their struggle started on the streets of Mumbai. He started selling incense sticks on the streets to raise money for his own education apart from the maintenance of the family.

In 1978, they moved from Mumbai to Anand in Gujarat. Here, Dr Manoj Soni failed in class 12 science examination. After this, he opted for Arts in Raj Ratna PT Patel College. He studied International Relations. A scholar of political science, he taught International Relations between 1991 and 2016 at Sardar Patel University (SPU), Vallabh Vidyanagar and served as vice-chancellor of two universities, MSU, Vadodara between 2005 and 2008, and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University (BAOU) in Ahmedabad between August 2009 and July 2015.

When he became the Vice-Chancellor of Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, he created a record. He became the youngest Vice Chancellor of the country at the age of 40.

He has also written a book called Understanding the Global Political Earthquake. Dr. Soni has also been associated with Swaminarayan Sampradaya Mission in Mogri of Anand district since childhood. On January 10, 2020, he started the Nishkam Karmayoga of the sect.

Soni’s wife, Prutha, teaches at J&J College in Nadiad while his son Aarsh is in college. Soni completed his doctoral studies in 1995 and did his research on “Post-Cold War International Systemic Transition and Indo-US Relations”. He has even authored a book, “Understanding the Global Political Earthquake”.

An interesting fact is that Dr. Soni has been associated with the Swaminarayan sect’s Anoopam Mission at Mogri in Anand district, since a young age and received diksha (initiation) as a nishkarma karmayogi (selfless worker) on January 10, 2020.

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