Ever since Rita Faria won the Miss World title in 1964, Indian girls have made it to the top of the beauty contests any number of times. Thus Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra and a host of other girls have won titles that should do India proud.
Unfortunately, these girls wining the beauty titles may convey a picture of a liberated society, but behind the mask of these beauty contests lurks a picture of malnutrition, honor killings and a social divide that put the man before the woman .These cannot be wished away and one is left wondering as to what use these beauty titles have when the mass of the sisters of these beauty contest winners are struggling in the villages and hamlets of India , in particular the states of Bihar, MP, Up and Haryana. Yet, we have a Malika Sherawat from Haryana doing the rounds as a liberated film star.
Most of these beauty icons will wear the bikini and the swim suit, yet a visit to the beaches will show you no women in a suit and few may be seen venturing in saris and other dresses in ankle deep water. The case of love affairs and elopement is to be honest terrible. Not a day goes by when a girl or her lover is not hacked to death or hanged on the nearest tree, for not towing the line of the elders and marrying out of caste. One can get the feeling that India is still in the medieval age.
The plight of the Moslem women in India is really pathetic. We have Katrina Kaif a lovely Moslem star singing and dancing, but the vast majority of her sisters are indoctrinated to wear the Burkha and not show themselves t o any man. .
When, I drive outside Delhi and enter rural Haryana, I do see all around development, but the women are indoors. In fact this state has the highest female infanticide rate in India with the lowest male female gender ratio.
Perhaps the time has come for the Government to crack the whip. The laws need to be made more stringent and social workers need to spread out to the villages and bring the women out. Perhaps these beauty queens who win the Miss World and Miss Universe titles, which move so much on the international stage, could help out. They could lead a crusade in India’s villages. But that will require a change in mindset. But nothing is impossible and incase there is a concerted effort there is no reason why India cannot regain its older glory when the women were as liberated as the men.