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Jaspal Singh - First Sikh Runner Up At Grasim Mr. India Contest 2002

Aug 28, 2012
Having triumphed at the Grasim Mr. India 2002 contest,
the Mumbai-born Jaspal Singh Sehgal is today a big inspiration for every Sikh youngster eager to enter the pageant world.

As a youngster Jaspals dream was to walk the ramp.
But being a Sikh boy to contest among all non-Sikhs only invited discouraging remarks from almost all near and dear ones.

But Jaspal decided not to get bogged down by cynical remarks. He became the first-runner up in Grasim Mr. India competition 2002. He became the first Sikh in decades to have come so far in such a competition.

Jaspal Singh Sehgal, the first-ever Sikh model, recalls:
In 2002, my father
I were going to Calcutta (Kolkata).

I watched a ramp show there
saw a huge crowd of youngsters participating in the Mr. India contest.
A majority of them were Punjabis (the Singhs) but no Sikh. Suddenly, I decided that a turban could make my presence felt in modelling.

I thought to myself in every field, one finds a Sikh then why not this.
It was the day when a thought process started in my mind.
I believe if a commitment is there, God helps you meet like-minded people and you start achieving that goal.
It works like a magnet.

In the grilling process I was asked
why I wish to be Mr. India?
What were my qualities to be chosen out of the non-Sikh boys?

What was that quality that made me exceptional?, said Jaspal.

Jaspal replied:
We are common in physique, height and looks.
I am as intellectual as you are.

But if you feel the turban is a barrier, then think of the Sikhs who, irrespective of the place, have represented India at the border, in business and the values.
As far as the international ramp is concerned, the organisers provide a tag to every participant to represent his country.
I said:

I don’t require that tag as my identification (the turban) will reveal that I am an Indian.

The judges liked that very much.

Out of 16,000 contestants I was first short-listed for the list of 500, and further, stood among the 32 finalists.

When I reached the final stage, 10 of the contestants were established models, who had already made a mark in advertisement and modelling.

They were good looking and had learnt from international institutes, he said.
But they began drop out, as the grilling process progressed.

It was all about destiny.
Honestly, the real happiness was that the dream which I saw at the airport bore fruit by the grace of God.

It was a beautiful experience....