Beyond Beautiful

As part of the culmination programme in commemorating the Year of Youth Empowerment, a string of beauty pageants are being held district wise for the final showdown at Kohima for the Miss Nagaland title to be held on December 13. The purpose of having a Miss Nagaland title will be truly served this time round as three district winners will contest with their counterparts from other districts for the finale. In terms of participation, the Miss Nagaland contests over the past years had become rather a tame affair and the very title itself may have lost its shine because of the very nature of docile participation. Rest assured this years contest is bound to generate more media interest as also the prestige of finally having a Miss Nagaland that is truly representative. From the point of view of the competition itself, it should throw up a keen battle among the bevy of young Naga damsels.  

While it is fun to gloss over beauty and its pageantry, such events should also be used to address important issues where the younger generations have a stake in it. Even the young girls who participate in such events should come in with an inner conviction that she is there participating less for the glamour but more importantly to play a meaningful role as a role model of positive influence. Most girls it would seem participate merely to become popular or just out of curiosity and fun. There is nothing wrong in wanting to have fun or becoming popular. But every girl should realize that once she is participating in such pageants, they are expected to take on a social mantle that goes much beyond the beautiful.   

At the end it would depend on the wisdom of the judges to select the winners. But even they have a due responsibility to choose what would best be the embodiment of the Naga women today. Such beauty pageants should be a reflection of the image demanded of Naga women and one should not be overly carried away by the norms of popular culture. Certain criteria can be drawn up before the final contest. While the coming Miss Nagaland contest may have girls drawn in from different tribes and districts, at the end, the best amongst them should be selected without any consideration for tribal or regional affiliation. Beauty pageants are not democratic elections and the very notion of giving representation to this or that tribe/backward region should not arise. At the end only merit should count. 

It has to be said that more than anything else we should seek a Miss Nagaland who is a concerned woman, accepting the challenges for today and possessing a conscientious mind to work for transformation of our society and one who would be able to take on the mantle of leadership. This is what Naga women should be and the opportunity is now there to pick one from the teeming thousands.