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“I spent nights without food, sleep,” Daughter of Auto driver, Miss India Runner-Up shares her life story

The entire nation is proud of 19-year-old Manya Singh. Her story is one that needs to be told to inspire girls across the nation. What she has accomplished in her life is really commendable.

Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, the 19-year-old girl was crowned Miss India 2020 runner-up and in fact, made the nation proud by winning this prestigious title. Let’s take a moment to congratulate her.

Manya is the daughter of an autorickshaw driver Omprakash Singh, and following the win, her struggles and inspiring story won praise all over the country.

Manya revealed she had to spend many nights without food and sleep. She could not attend school as she had to start working in her teenage. “All the clothes I had were hand-me-downs. I yearned for books, but luck wasn’t in my favour. Eventually, my parents mortgaged whatever little jewellery my mother had to ensure that I paid my exam fees in order to earn a degree,” she shared with Miss India in December 2020, adding how her mother suffered a lot to provide for her.

Talking about her dream of winning the Miss India pageant, she said, “I was 15 when I watched the Miss India Pageant for the first time I thought, ‘I’m going to win that crown someday & make Papa proud.’ But coming from a patriarchal family, I was told that women are lesser than men. Tauji would say, ‘Ladkiyon ko padhai karke bhi shaadi hi karni padti hai.’ But when I told Papa, ‘I want to compete for a beauty pageant’, he said, ‘Keep working hard & you’ll get there!’ (sic).”

She revealed that in the beginning she had to face rejection because of her looks or her English. She was once told that she does not have a nice face. “I auditioned for over 10 pageants, but they’d say, ‘Shakal achi nahi hai’ (you don’t have a nice face) or ‘You don’t even know English!’ Things weren’t easy at home either Papa had mortgaged our jewellery to pay my fees. So if I’d need money to buy clothes, I’d mop the floor at the pizza place. There, I observed how people carried themselves & in college, I’d observe how my friends spoke English (sic),” Manya said.

Manya also said the win will help her in fulfilling her dreams and provide for her family. “Now, I finally have the chance to give my parents everything; I’m going to start by buying them a home.”

She added, “He believed in me& that’s why, today, a rickshaw driver’s daughter is standing with a crown on her head (sic).” As the famous English proverb clearly says “all’s well that ends well”.

May what be the situation, if you follow your dream with the passion, grit and determination, you can surely achieve it. Manya Singh’s inspirational story is one that needs to be circulated to other youths of the nation.

Written by Dharam Sikarwar

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.

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