This post was originally published on 2 April 2016.
Meenakshi Jayakumar, an Indian girl who stole the hearts of thousands by singing hit songs such as Maher Zain’s Insha Allah, was on Thursday crowned the winner of Sharjah TV’s Arabic reality show.
At a ceremony hosted by the Sharjah Media Corporation, His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, honoured Meenakshi, a Grade 7 student of GEMS Millennium School – Sharjah, and runners-up Shahad Saeed Abdullah of Altalaa School and Nahyan Ali Mohammed of Abdul Rahman Al Nasser Model School in Kalba.
The girl, who hails from Angamali in Kerala, was the only non-Arab among the eight finalists who clashed for the title, Munshid Sharjah (Singer of Sharjah).
Being a non-Arab who can only read and write the language, Meenakshi never expected to be a winner. But her teachers went out of their way to perfect her diction.
Talking to Khaleej Times, Meenakshi said she is happy and thrilled to come out with flying colours at the end of the four-month-long mission.
She was ultimately crowned with the help of 114,251 votes polled from 91 countries across the globe.
The girl, whose father Jayakumar is an engineer with the Dubai-based firm Dutco, inherited her talent from her mother Rekha, an Ayurvedic doctor who hails from a family of musicians.
The 13-year-old travels to Abu Dhabi every weekend to learn music under guru Divya Vimal. Meenakshi, who has many awards to her credit, is one of a few who can sing Ashtapadi in the classical Sopana Sangeetham. Her little sister Kalyani is also a music student.