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What happened the last time India hosted Miss World in 1996?

Boosted by the growing prominence of India in the area of glamour, actor Amitabh Bachchan’s ABCL held the Miss World pageant in India in 1996
Last Updated : 12 June 2023, 10:49 IST
Last Updated : 12 June 2023, 10:49 IST

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After 27 years, India is all set to host the Miss World pageant in the country. The announcement came on June 8, where the Miss World organization said that the most looked after pageant will be held in India. It has not announced the exact dates yet.

The announcement has brought attention to the last time this competition was held in India in 1996 in Bengaluru.

The pageant, which is one of the oldest competitions, started in 1951. It is a month-long event and witnesses contestants from more than 130 countries who participate in a series of competitions.

Why is there a gap of over three decades between the pageant being hosted in India?

During 1991, India has opened its market for the world, marking an era of liberalisation. This allowed international clothing and cosmetic brands to enter the Indian markets and create an impact. Further, India got attention in the beauty pageant competition in 1994 when Miss Universe and Miss World titles were won by two Indian women and now prominent bollywood actors Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen respectively.

Boosted by the growing prominence of India in the area of glamour, actor Amitabh Bachchan’s ABCL held the Miss World pageant in India in 1996. But it faced major backlash and also the company incurred financial loss.

According to The Indian Express report, right-wing groups felt the competition was against Indian culture and imposition of westernised ideas of beauty. The Leftist groups were against the competition because it represented globalisation of the Indian market and its impact on the Indian workforce. Even the women were against the competition for its representation of women.

The protests against this competition escalated with people even trying to immolate themselves and one person dying in the process. This forced the swimsuit competition to be moved to Seychelles Islands.

In an article written by Jahnavi R for Deccan Herald in 2021, she wrote how that one event had a role in polarising the city of Bengaluru.

“Why should our women be judged by all these dignitaries? Some women might be doing it as a source of livelihood, or some for other reasons. It is unfair to use them for entertainment,” Vital Nagaraj, an activist who had organised protests in 1996 said.

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Published 12 June 2023, 10:35 IST

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