After king, Maoists take on Miss Nepal
Nepal's best-known and oldest beauty pageant, the Miss Nepal contest, is under siege from the Maoists' women's organisation.Updated: Apr 06, 2007, 13:12 IST
After waging a battle to abolish the throne, Nepal's Maoists are now fighting to scrap the crown as well. Only this crown is not hereditary and belongs to the commoner, earned after gruelling competition.
Nepal's best-known and oldest beauty pageant, the Miss Nepal contest, is under siege from the Maoists' women's organisation that is seeking to have the programme axed on grounds that it treats women as sex objects.
Scheduled to be held Saturday, the Miss Nepal contest's main sponsor is Dabur India's wholly-owned subsidiary Dabur Nepal.
The pageant has run into fresh offensive from the rebels who this week approached the deputy speaker in parliament, Chitralekha Yadav, asking her to table a motion in the house to stop the show.
However, Yadav reportedly told them the motion could be tabled in the house only after an agreement between the eight-party ruling coalition.
The Miss Nepal pageant, started in 1994, is organised by the Kathmandu-based Hidden Treasure event management group.
The event has seen an astonishing rise in the number of contestants each year and has sparked a series of other beauty contests.
Like the Miss World and the Miss Universe pageants, it too had its detractors in women's groups and party organisations that held half-hearted protests outside the venue, the prestigious Birendra International Convention Centre, asking for a ban on the pageant.
However, this is the first time the Maoists have taken up cudgels against the show. Considered an outlawed organisation till last year, the Maoists became a recognised parliamentary party after they signed a peace pact in 2006 and were inducted into the government on April 1.
After the formation of the new government, Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara has been appointed information and communications minister.
With the state-run Nepal Television channel scheduled to broadcast the Miss Nepal pageant live Saturday, the rebel women's group approached the minister and asked him to stop the state television from broadcasting it.
Hidden Treasure has warned Nepal Television that if the state agency agreed, it would be a breach of contract and they would take the agency to court for stiff damages.
"Bravo, it shows the (Mao) Badis have their priorities right," the Nepali Times weekly wrote Friday, commenting on the imbroglio.
"Of all the problems that beset this country that needed urgent attention, of course it was Miss Nepal. That was what was holding us back from ensuring peace, development and democracy.
"And now that we've banned it, everything will be hunky-dory."
The weekly is also suggesting tongue-in-cheek options that will be palatable to the communist guerrillas.
"The interview round will be replaced by a revolutionary speech round; the swimsuit round with submachinegun round and the Miss Photogenic Smile with the Miss Red Salute."