Three years after the organisers of Miss World beauty pageant did away with the bikini or swimsuit round, it has returned to raise the hackles of the apex women’s organisation in Christian-majority Mizoram.
The bikini round of Miss Mizoram 2017 beauty contest, whose grand finale is scheduled on March 10, was held on February 18. The televised show helped the organisers – Zonet Cable TV – improve viewership, but the women’s body named Mizoram Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) said it was against the tenets of Christianity.
In a statement last week, MHIP said that exposure of women’s group in the bikini round of the beauty contest was “demeaning to the entire womenfolk, un-Christian and against our culture”.
Insisting they were not against the beauty pageant, MHIP’s general secretary Saipuii said: “Can a beauty pageant not be organised with modest dresses?”
Te-a Boitlung, one of the organisers, said the contestants and a large section of viewers had no issues with the bikini round. “People have the right to express their opinions and have thus taken to social media,” he said.
The Mizoram Journalists’ Association (MJA) has the rights of Miss Mizoram contest that was first held in 1983. The pageant has been irregular, and the last one was held in 2014 after a gap of nine years.
The bikini round had been the most popular segment of the pageant, but the publicity this time has been the widest because of a cable TV entity hosting the show.
“We have organised successful shows such as Mizo Idol. We feel there is a big scope in beauty pageants, and since no party was willing to take the initiative. We decided to go ahead this time after getting permission from MJA to organise the show,” Zonet’s general manager LV Lalthantluanga told HT from state capital Aizawl.
“Lots of people have appreciated the bikini round but as expected there were critics too. MHIP said it was vulgar and against the social and Christian ethics of Mizoram, but we feel the show must go on,” he said.
The audition for Miss Mizoram 2017 started on January 24. Of several contestants from across the state, 16 were shortlisted for a two-week grooming followed by the photo shoot round and the bikini round.
The fitness and charity rounds and a charity dinner remain before the grand finale on March 10 where the guest of honour will be Priyadarshini Chatterjee, the Miss India World. The show will be televised in 15 episodes before the grand finale.