She was given the kiss of life seven years ago by Indian ayurvedic giant Dabur. But now Miss Nepal, the Himalayan republic’s oldest and most prestigious beauty pageant, has run into fresh trouble with the Maoists.
The former guerrillas have trained their sights on this year’s pageant and warned that they would not allow it to be held.
Though the beauty contest had been generating protests on a small scale for several years, they snowballed last year under the leadership of the Maoist women’s organisation.
Protests started last month when the Hidden Treasure, the event management company organising the show, announced that it was accepting applications.
A total of 26 organisations affiliated to the Maoists and communists have held public meetings, accusing the Indian company of exploiting women to expand its business. They have also petitioned the chairperson of the constituent assembly Subhash Nembang and lawmakers, urging them to prevent the pageant.
In addition to the protests, the organisers of the pageant are now plagued by a new problem: lack of venue.
Since the last seven years the event was held at the Birendra International Convention Centre (BICC), which has also served as the venue of SAARC summits and other regional meets. However, the BICC has been converted into Nepal’s caretaker parliament.
Meanwhile, a public debate on the pageant is growing as well with critics calling it an elitist show intended only for people from the upper classes, like daughters of political leaders.