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Sana Dua: The discipline of Army schools prepares you for any competition in the world
timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 10 Jul, 2017

Sana Dua was born in Assam, but her family has roots in Jammu and Kashmir. Being an Army kid, she has lived and studied in cities all over India, including Noida. She studied for five years at the Army Public School in Noida. After graduating in law from Panjab University, Sana started interning under a senior advocate at the J&K High Court. A year later, she decided to leave her job and focus on her modelling career. She groomed herself for more than a year, dedicating all her time to prepare for the Miss India pageant. Now, after being crowned fbb Colors Femina Miss India 2017 first runner-up, Sana feels that her hard work has paid off.

"This is what I wanted for myself and I am so thrilled that I finally have a platform to achieve my dream. This is just the beginning. I always wanted to participate in a beauty pageant, but before going for it, I wanted to complete my education. So once I had a law degree and some work experience, I devoted all my time to grooming myself," says an elated Sana.

Sana has studied at the Army Public School in Noida and says that the discipline with which she was raised at Army schools helped her a lot. "I think the discipline which is taught at Army schools can prepare you for any competition in the world. The other thing which I learnt while studying in different schools is how to interact with people. I was exposed to so many different cultures that I can adjust to any environment. All these things really helped me when I moved to Mumbai to prepare for the final rounds," says Sana, who still keeps coming to Delhi to meet her school friends.

Being from Jammu and Kashmir, Sana says she feels proud that she is one of the few girls from the region to have got the opportunity to represent J&K at the fbb Colors Femina Miss India 2017 co-powered by Rajnigandha Pearls. "I know that there are many girls from J&K who aspire to become a part of the modelling world; who want to participate in beauty pageants. But there have been few examples to follow and many never get the right kind of training and platform. I want to set up a grooming school in Jammu to provide this platform to girls who want to make their career in the modelling world," says Sana.

She adds, "Jammu and Kashmir is mostly in the news for all the wrong reasons, but thankfully this time, people are talking about it for the right reason... for a very good reason. I hope to make the people of J&K very proud... And I think only some parts of the state are dealing with disturbance, rest of it is doing well."

Felicitation lunch for Sana in Jammu's Army regiment
Sana arrived at the Jammu airport on Saturday where she was greeted with garlands and hugs by her friends and family. Sana says she feels happy and proud about emerging as the first runner-up in the pageant. "Representing one's state at a national beauty pageant and winning it provides a sense of fulfilment," she said, while talking to everyone who had gathered at the airport to welcome her.

Sana had a message for the youngsters in the state. "Young aspirants looking for a career in the glamorous world of fashion should not hold back their dreams. They need to be passionate enough to pursue it. Dedication and commitment towards one's goal is the key to success," she said.

The next stop was the cantonment where she grew up seeing projectiles, propellants, guns and yokes with her father, Col (retd) Amrik Singh Dua. She attended the felicitation lunch, which was also joined by the regiment brigade, where she made it a point to spell out her secular beliefs. "I have a Muslim name Sana. And at the pageant, when my friends and colleagues would ask me which religion I belonged to, I told them I am Pa'aji - Pa'aji because I am born to Sikh parents. So my friends began to address me as bhai jaan. I felt proud that modern India is secular."

--with inputs from Sanjay Khajuria and Rohan.Dua@timesgroup.com