Miss Tibet pageant goes to Karnataka

The Miss Tibet pageant, an event that helps the exiled community draw the attention of the world to the cause of Tibet, has moved out of Dharamsala, the home of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, say organisers.

Miss Tibet 2013, the 11th in the series, will be held in Bylakuppe, the largest settlement of the exiles in Karnataka from 10 to 13 February next year, the pageant’s director-producer Lobsang Wangyal said.

“Since a large number of Tibetans are settled across India, and they are unable to see the event (in Dharamsala), we have decided to take the event to other towns too,” Wangyal said.

“If we get a good response in Bylakuppe, we will move to other places like Dehradun and Gangtok before returning to Dharamsala,” he said.

This year’s pageant was cancelled by the organisers following the continuing wave of self-immolations in Tibet over China’s harsh measures, and their demand for the Dalai Lama to return home from exile.

“Some 90 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese misrule in Tibet. We would like to dedicate the Miss Tibet pageant 2013 to those Tibetans,” he said.

Wangyal, 42, said the pageant, popular among Tibetan youth living in exile, was held in June each year, but this time it will be held in February. The forthcoming event will coincide with Losar, the first day of the Tibetan New Year, traditionally an event that sees massive celebration among Tibetans.

The Miss Tibet contest started in 2002, amid mixed responses from the exiles. Many, including the government-in-exile, opposed the pageant and held it to be against Tibetan tradition. The Miss Tibet pageant faces even China’s ire, as winners participate in international pageants. Despite that, the pageant has gained huge popularity among exiled Tibetans.

Wangyal said the winners of the contest have represented Tibet internationally — twice winning Miss Earth in the Philippines and Miss Asia Pacific World once.

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