Miss India runner up Manya Singh's ride to fame in an auto

The daughter of an autorickshaw driver, Manya rode an autorickshaw driven by her father to her alma mater on Tuesday
Manya Singh with her parents
Manya Singh with her parentsYogen Shah

Nineteen year old Manya Singh’s success story is an inspiration to many. According to Manya, her childhood was riddled with hardship. She had to face prejudice for being an auto driver’s daughter and was often ostracised by her classmates.

The Miss India runner up, who ran away at the age of 14 from her village in Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai, says she left the village to pursue her dreams. The youngster on her Instagram account wrote: “At 14, I boarded the train from my village & left for Mumbai to pursue my dreams, all by myself. I didn’t know where it would lead me, but I knew I was meant to achieve great things. When I walked out of the station, Pizza Hut was the first place I saw–I somehow got myself a part-time job there & temporary accommodation. 2 days later, when I called Papa, he started crying. But I reassured him, ‘This is where I belong.’ So the next day, both my parents came to Mumbai Papa said, ‘We’ll support you’; he drove an auto to make a living. Still, they put me in a good school. Alongside, I also worked part-time–I earned Rs.15,000 a month. I was 15 when I watched the Miss India Pageant for the first time–I thought, ‘I’m going to win that crown someday and make Papa proud.”

Manya who was born in Kushinagar, said in a previous post that she spent nights without food or sleep and walking miles just to save a few rupees.

“I’ve spent numerous nights without food and sleep. I’ve spent many afternoons walking for miles on end. My blood, sweat, and tears have amalgamated into the courage to pursue my dreams. Being a rickshaw driver’s daughter, I never had the opportunity to attend school, as I had to start working in my teens. All the clothes I had were hand-me-downs. I yearned for books, but luck wasn’t in my favour.”

Yogen Shah

Meanwhile, the beauty queen rode an autorickshaw to her alma mater, Thakur College of Science and Commerce, on Tuesday, her father in the driver’s seat and her mother holding her hand sitting at the back. As they drove into the college, from where she graduated in Banking and Insurance, students, teachers and the management broke into spontaneous applause. Amid the chants of "we are proud of you Manya" from students and peers, Manya made her parents wear her Miss India crown as a symbolic acknowledgment of their hard work behind her win.

"There was a time when people told me I wasn't good-looking, or tried to shame me for my roots. I toiled hard to make every bit count, to dream big even when the circumstances didn't allow me. This is where I began my journey and here I am again. I feel incredibly nostalgic and extremely emotional that I'm sharing this platform with my family," she said.

Manya, was crowned this year’s Miss India runner up last week. Talking about her motivation behind participating in Miss India 2020, she said, “I am here today at the VLCC Femina Miss India 2020 stage to uplift my father, my mother, and my younger brother and to show the world that all is possible if you are committed to yourself and your dreams.”

The event, which was held in Mumbai, was judged by fashion designer Falguni Shane Peacock, actors Neha Dhupia, Chitrangada Singh and Pulkit Samrat. Popular television personality Aparshakti Khurana hosted the event. While Manasa Varanasi from Telangana won the title of VLCC Femina Miss India World, Chandigarh native Manika Sheokand was declared VLCC Femina Miss Grand India 2020.

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