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Monday, January 17, 2022

‘Harnaaz means everyone’s pride, she proved that today’

Harnaaz did her schooling from Shivalik Public School before graduating from govt college Sector 42. She is now pursuing masters in public admin from PU

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
Updated: December 14, 2021 7:20:43 am
Family members of Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu celebrate her victory in Kharar on Monday. Photo: Jasbir Malhi

“We named her Harnaaz as she is the first and the last daughter in our extended Jat Sikh family. She has 17 brothers in the extended family. Today she has made the entire country proud,” said elated Dr Rabinder Kaur, mother of Harnaaz Sandhu who brought laurels by clinching the Miss Universe title after 21 years.

Sandhu on Monday won the Miss Universe 2021 pageant, beating contestants from 79 countries to bring the title back to India after 21 years. Only two Indians before Sandhu, just 21 and an actor as well as a model, have been crowned Miss Universe earlier — actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.
The 70th edition of the event was held in Israel’s resort town of Eilat. Sandhu will now move to New York City where she will live during her ‘reign’ and become a spokesperson for various causes alongside the Miss Universe Organisation.

During the final question and answer round, Sandhu was asked what advice she would give young women on how to deal with the pressure they face today.

“The biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves, to know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide. “This is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourselves because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that’s why I am standing here,” she said to thundering applause.

Sandhu’s family resides in Shivalik City at Kharar, Sector 125.

Candy to her mother and elder brother, Harnaaz is sherni to her father. “I got jittery when she made it to top 16 and then to top five. Candy has made us proud,” said brother Harnoor. “There is a gap of seven years between us.”

“Punjab di sherni has today become Bharat di sherni,” said proud father P S Sandhu, a realtor.

Dr Kaur, a gynaecologist at Sohana hospital, said: “Last evening, I had a very short conversation with her. She told me ‘Mamma Wahe Guru ji di ardaas karna’. This morning I was in the gurdwara praying for her.”

Harnaaz’s brother Harnoor, mother Ravinder Kaur and father Pritam Singh Sandhu photographed at their residence in Kharar. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

“We had named her Harnaaz which means everyone’s pride. Today she has proved that,” Dr Kaur said. “All her cousins from her father’s side are male.”

Now something special awaits Harnaaz back home. “It is such a proud moment. I can’t even express my feelings. She knew from her school days that she has to clinch this title. I would treat her to makki ki roti and sarson ka saag when she comes home. It doesn’t increase calories too,” said Dr Kaur as she got clicked with her daughter’s pictures.

Photos from Harnaaz’s childhood days. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

The family originally hails from Batala in Punjab.

“We never forced our children. We told her she can aim for whatever she feels she is best in. Rather we had initially not told her father and were apprehensive about his reaction when she went to participate in the first beauty pageant but he was very supportive. He had told her tu meri sherni aa, sherni waanghu gurrah de (your are my lioness, roar like a lioness),” said Dr Kaur.

The family said Harnaaz is an all-rounder as she is really good in cooking and mimicry. Harnaaz, who started modelling at a young age, gradually made her way to beauty pageants and won her first pageant — Miss Chandigarh 2017. “Candy always said that she wanted to do something different. She won Miss Chandigarh, Miss Punjab and then it went on,” Harnoor said.

D S Bedi, principal of Shivalik Public School, Mohali, said: “She was a simple and bright student. She always remained determined.”

The mood was cheerful in Harnaaz’s college as well. “It is indeed a proud moment for the institution. It is her relentless efforts, dedication, zeal, education and values she acquired over the years that saw her through the tough challenge and she has made the entire country proud,” said Principal Nisha Aggarwal.

Achievements

Harnaaz has done her graduation in IT and is pursuing MA in Public Administration.

Her achievements include Miss Fresh Face in 2017, Miss India World -2020 among top 20 finalists, Miss India Universe, Times Fresh Face 2017 Miss Chandigarh-winner and represented Chandigarh at national level in Mumbai, Miss Max Emerging Star 2018, finalist from Chandigarh in Miss Diva India 2018, lead heroine in Punjabi movie releasing this summer, Fabb Colours Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and bestowed Miss Diva title of her college in 2019.

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