Once a small-town girl, Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu capturing hearts across globe
Born in Kohali village, around 60 kilometres from Batala in Gurdaspur district, Harnaaz Sandhu has come a long way from being a small-town girl to becoming the reigning Miss Universe.
As she brought home the crown after a gap of 21 years, her friends, family and teachers all joined in to celebrate the achievement. The 21-year-old had moved to the tricity in 2008, after spending two years in England.
Her father, Pritampal Singh Sandhu, 56, a realtor, says the family has always encouraged her to pursue her dreams.
“When she participated in her first pageant, her mother and brother hid it from me. It was only after she won that they told me of this interest of hers. I immediately told my daughter that there was no need to hide her interests. Times have changed and she must do what she is good at,” he said proudly while talking to reporters at the family’s residence in Shivalik City, Kharar.
He added that as he comes from a ‘simple’ Jatt family, he wasn’t sure people from his village may approve of his daughter’s career choices. But he is overwhelmed by the congratulatory messages pouring in ever since the 21-year-old won the crown.
Her mother Dr Rabinder Kaur Sandhu, a gynecologist and senior medical officer at Sohana Hospital, Mohali, reveals how her father dotingly calls Harnaaz “Sherni”.
“I never forced her to become a doctor or an engineer. I told her to follow her heart. Nobody in our immediate family or friends’ circle have any idea about this career. In fact, we used to watch YouTube videos to learn about ramp-walk etc.”
A devout woman, Dr Sandhu was at the Sohana gurdwara when she was informed of her daughter’s victory. “Harnaaz is also very religious. We will surely visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar to thank God for her success. After this, I will not force her to do anything but she loves working with underprivileged kids and I will encourage her to do this and speak out on women empowerment,” she said.
Harnaaz’s brother Harnoor Sandhu, who is seven years older than her and works as a musician and video editor, said he was too excited to sleep last night. “I was watching the show live online and could barely keep watching as she entered the final 3.”
The siblings share a good rapport and Harnoor said that Harnaaz wanted to become a judge before she got interested in beauty pageants.
Harnaaz is fond of cooking and as per her family, she loves eating jalebis and her favourite meal is makki di roti sarson da saag with loads of ghee.
She is a final year student of MA Public Administration at Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42. College principal Nisha Aggarwal was among those who came to congratulate the family. Harnaaz also studied BA (IT) from this college and one of her professors Mohit Verma spoke about how she had is great at mimicry. She studied in Shivalik Public School, Sector 41, for six years and had scored a CGPA of 8 in her Class-10 boards.
Professor Nilofar Khan, who has 30 years of teaching experience, has been appointed as the first woman vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir, officials said on Thursday. The order of appointment was issued by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha in his capacity of being the chancellor of the university. She will be replacing Professor Talat Ahmad, who completed his second tenure as the V-C of the university which began in August 2018.
Given the spike in terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and threats issued by various terror outfits, the upcoming annual Amarnath Yatra starting June 30 to the cave shrine at 13,000ft in south Kashmir is going to be a litmus test for the government. One of the most revered Hindu pilgrimages in India, the yatra is resuming after two years.
Jammu divisional commissioner Ramesh Kumar along with additional director general of police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh, handed over an appointment letter and ex gratia to the family of Rahul Bhat, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit government employee who was gunned down in the Valley recently. A financial assistance of ₹5 lakh was also handed over to the family. Jammu deputy commissioner Avny Lavasa had also accompanied Kumar.
Following the conviction of banned JKLF chief Yasin Malik by a Delhi court in a terror funding case on Thursday, wife of late Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Shalini Khanna, said she was confident of getting justice for Yasin Malik. “Bad deeds lead to bad outcomes,” said the 70-year-old, while demanding Malik be sent to the gallows. Squadron leader Khanna was shot 27 times with an AK assault rifle.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday claimed to have solved the Baramulla grenade attack case on a liquor shop with the arrest of four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and a terror associate. The police identified the four militants as Shahid Showkat Bala, Safeer Ahmad Mir, Moh Maroof Saleh and Faisal Shaban Gojri, all residents of Baramulla while their associate Hatif Ahmad Sofi was from Arampora.