NEW YORK – The Miss Tibet beauty pageant, which is usually held in Mcleodganj, in Himachal Pradesh, will be shifted to New York this year due to a controversy involving a ‘bikini round.’
The contest was begun in 2002 in efforts to empower Tibetan women in exile and was a much publicized event globally among the media in all of its 15 years. It was always held in the hill town, but it has now sparked a controversy among the elderly Tibetans, conservative community members and Tibetan feminists as they were upset about the bikini round that is featured in the contest, reported The Times of India.
“We are living in exile and the only identity we have is our religion and tradition. If we shift towards westernization, we will be finished,” an elderly Tibetan told Times of India, as the Tibetans living in Mcleodganj have said that “Buddhism is all about inner beauty and not superficial attraction.”
Lobsang Wangyal, the founder of the Miss Tibet pageant told Times of India that out of the 15 year, there were four years where the pageant only had one participant compared to last year when they had nine.
“We can mark our presence and raise our voice through the platform of beauty by crowning Miss Tibet. I was struggling alone, but now I have entered into a tie-up with an entertainment firm with the help of a few Tibetan friends,” he said adding that they are struggling to find sponsors in order to finance the event.
However Wangyal told the Times of India that he is looking forward to the pageant being held in New York.
“We have floated online applications and the last date is March 31. We are looking forward to a spectacular show as we move from the small Himalayan village in Mcleodganj to New Yorkm,” he said.