TODAY -

Miss India from Manipur

Free Thinker *



It is great news that Manipur will host the grand female event of Miss India, 2023. This is going to be a mega event not only for the State but also for the entire Northeast. Perhaps this is the first time such a big event is being organized in the region.

Organizers must have something in their minds; let us hope for the best. Nationalization of beauty is also not a bad idea. When some mighty forces try to globalize the notion of beauty, I get confined - because Japanese beauty will certainly be different from Kenyan beauty. Sikh beauty will be distinct from Thai pageants.

The yardstick of aesthetics differs from place to place and from culture to culture. Let us come to our society; our ethnic beauty is certainly different from mainstream beauty. Even the criteria of South-Indian beauty may not be in conformity with North Indian beauty.

The concept of Miss India or Miss Universe or Miss World sounds capitalistic to me. The organizers must be having general criteria to decide on beauty; perhaps they may also fathom the intelligence or knowledge of the person. But the idea behind is intrinsically commercial. Physical appearance is exploited for trade and industry. Prove me, if I am wrong.

Big and Multinational companies are endlessly trying to globalize the concept of bodily beauty for business. Inner beauty is difficult to measure. In fact, companies don't take much interest in the brains or minds, they are more interested in the external parts. A multi-billion business is generated from this concept of beauty.

Once you globally standardize or popularize a particular concept of beauty, you can do any theme business relating to that- from face creams to shampoos, skin cleansing milk to moisturizers and whatnot. Beauty-based businesses are dependent on this popularized concept of beauty.

The colour of the skin, the thickness of hair ( long or straight); the size of your nose, the shape of your lips, the position of your eyebrows, the colour of your retina, the shape of your ears, the size of your chest, the length of your legs, whether you have body hairs or not, all are conceptualized, standardized and globalized.

My grandmother used to say that that 'girl is ugly because she has big eyelash., elongated eyelashes and also a long nose'. Some 50 years ago she used to say that. According to her, these features were alien to us. In fact in our ethnic society, before the advent of TV and the internet, the perception of beauty was highly localized.

Short nose, round faces, long hair, small eyes, big bumps, and rounded heels were considered accessories of female beauty. The concept of beauty is fast changing in this gjobalized world where the intemet connects all. The rich and dominant culture will certainly try dominating including 'beauty'. There is nothing wrong with doing so.

Every civilization and culture will compete among themselves. The most dominant and powerful will prevail over the weaker and smaller ones. This is the universal norm and quite natural. Stronger and more affluent cultures will prevail.

Miss Kut is organized every November by the Kut festival organising Committee. The competition is basically among and between the Kuki-Chin girls. The organizers allow other ethnic groups to take part in the competition even though they hope and long for the final winner to be theirs. They have their own understanding of beauty and their own yardstick for judgement. There is nothing wrong with that.

Nationally or internationally, why are people promoting this idea of beauty? Obviously, such conceptualization of beauty is good for doing business. It is not that easy to mould standard global criteria of beauty; as I said earlier the concept of beauty differs from culture to culture, from race to race, and from society to society.

However the power of money and the market is so overwhelming, the local beauties are being suppressed by the globalized beauties (man-made). Whether it is Femina or Tim., they all are trying to nationalize and familiarize the concept of beauty despite the fact that there can't be a universality of body aesthetics. Kashmiri beauty is certainly different from Bihari beauty. Naga's beauty is unique from others.

Universalization of beauty is an unending endeavour of the film industry not only in the country but the world over. However, actual benefits are being reaped by traders dealing with beauty products, including beauty parlours and fashion houses.

I am not against the swimsuit round; however, I am requesting the organizers, patrons and the host to take permission from the competent authorities for this; otherwise, this round may be converted into an ethnic dress round so that the contestants wear only ethnic attires.

Wishing you all the best and see you in April 2023, provided I am invited or made a jury member of the final round. Mind you, I am parochial and a strong believer in, "Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder" .


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on November 27 2022 .



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