Download Pageant begins amid tight security From Gautaman Bhaskaran

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Pageant begins amid tight security
From Gautaman Bhaskaran
The Miss World pageant got off to a rather nervous start here today with hundreds of policemen lining the
3 km route from the official hotel to the Air Force Parade Grounds, where a Deepawali carnival was
organised. The 89 contestants. including one from India (Rani Jeyaraj), must have been overwhelmed by
the sheer strength of the security, which was suffocatingly tight most of the time.
However, there were exceptions. The girls, who would vie for the Miss World title on November 23, were
allowed to mingle with a select crowd on the grounds, and this correspondent saw a number of
awe-struck men and women posing with them for photographs or getting them to scribble their signatures
on pieces of paper.
The participants were taken round a variety of stalls displaying interesting Indian arts and carfts. Most of
these were decorated with imagination. A pavilion offering the choicest of fare from south Indian cuisine
found itself without any takers, in a sense, because the contestants were not allowed to taste the food.
Earlier, the Air Force and the Army bands played some wonderful music, but the one tune that caught the
people’s fancy was the popular Indian score, Sare Jahan Se Achcha, Hindustan Hamara” The girls could
be seen tapping their feet and clapping to what some of them said later was invigorating.
A dare-devil display of acrobatics on motorcyles by the military police could have ended in tragedy, but
for luck. One of the riders trying to lump over 25 men lying on the ground one after the other went
crashing, but escaped with bruises. And as the inaugural lamp was being lit and the auspicious coconut
was being broken, one heard the wail of an ambulance. It seemed pretty ominious in the given scenario.
The folk dances from Rajasthan and Karnataka among others, and the intricate fireworks in the darkening
sky somehow failed to cheer up the atmosphere, charged as it is here with threats from the BJP arid a
few others, who have vowed to disrupt the contest. Although, the police appear to be confident of
ensuring peace, it still remains to be seen in the days to come whether the anti-pageant activists could be
prevented from sullying the image of the country.
It’s exploitation of women: RSS
From Our Staff Reporter
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is dead opposed’ to the Miss World contest slated to be held
at Bangalore on November 23 as it considers the pageant an exploitation of women for commercial
Explaining the organisations views on the event at a press conference here on Tuesday, the RSS general
secretary. Mr. II. V Seshadri. said the concept itself had originated from a multinational company to
promote its garments. He said women in India were looked upon with respect as mothers and sisters and
such commercialisation was alien to the nations culture.
Mr. Seshadri said it was high time we realised that slavish aping of the western model of economic
planning was invariably accompanied by permissiveness, laxity in sexual mores and degrading cultural
norms. lie said women were the main sufferers of such permissive values which led to break up of
Stating that the RSS had no specific plan of action to prevent the beauty contest, he pointed Out that
swayamsevaks were already members of the broad-based platform in Bangalore opposing the event. He
flayed the Karnataka Government for unleashing a war’ against anti-pageant demonstrators. He,
however, was glad some sponsors of the contest had since pulled out.
The RSS leader was also critical of the Michael Jackson show held at Mumbai and the moral and
physical support provided to it by the Maharashtra Government. Such concerts, he said, were bound to
adversely affect the minds and bodies of the youth.