Meet Assam’s Sukanya Bhattacharya, the 1st lady from Silchar who is a Mrs. India Universe 2018 finalist
By SWAPNANEEL BHATTACHARJEE | July 06, 2018
Beautiful, classy, flamboyant – these are just few words to describe her persona. She's much more than that. A strong personality, a never-say-die attitude and an inspiring zeal to bring a positive change in the society is what makes her special.
She is Sukanya Bhattacharya (now Sukanya Bhattacharya Suri) from Silchar in southern Assam, who has been selected as one of the finalists in Mrs. India Universe, 2018.
An avid music-buff and a big fan of Arijit Singh, Sukanya is the first lady from Silchar and Barak Valley to make it through to the finale of the prestigious pageant contest, which will be held in New Delhi on July 14. Altogether, 40 contestants from different parts of the country will be participating in the gala event. The winner will represent India in Mrs. Universe, 2018 to be held in Manila, Philippines in December.
Sukanya, who studied hotel management at IHM, Bhopal and has worked with top-notch hotels like Taj and Mercure, completed her schooling from Silchar Collegiate School. She has been a part of philanthropic initiatives and wants to create awareness on issues like domestic violence and sexual abuse prevalent in the society.
In an exclusive chat with TNT – The Northeast Today, Sukanya shares her experiences of Mrs. India Universe, 2018 and her personal life. Here are excerpts from the interview:
TNT – What prompted you to try your luck in the world of glamour?
SB – I have been away from India for almost a decade until I returned last year. Upon my return, I noticed that a lot has changed. I have been involved with bits and pieces of charity work through my Facebook group "The Mum's Club, Silchar", but I realised that I would need to get myself a bigger platform. I need to get myself a stronger voice. A voice that can be heard, that will be listened to and acted upon. And then one fine day I came across this pageant which aims at creating awareness on vital issues to bring a positive change in the society. I didn't look any further. I enrolled myself with some videos taken in my garage, and sent them. There was no looking back after that. I cleared rounds after rounds, and now I am in the finals of this prestigious pageant.
TNT – Tell us something about your experience being a part of Mrs. India Universe, 2018. How are you preparing for the finale?
SB – The experience with Mrs. India – She is India, the national preliminary to Mrs. Universe, has been fantastic so far. The best part about the pageant is that they work around raising awareness about issues like domestic violence and sexual abuse, I strongly feel for. More than anything else, it gives me a sense of content and fulfillment being a part of this prestigious pageant. I am preparing for the personal interviews and theme round. This is the first time that I am in a contest of this stature and I am super excited to be a part of it.
TNT – Who/what is your inspiration? Do you wish to be associated with the glamour industry in a professional way?
SB – I find Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput very inspiring. His journey from an engineering student to one of the top actors teaches us that once we set our mind, everything is achievable. I remember, once in an interview he was asked why he didn't complete engineering. He answered that acting was his passion and he wanted acting to be his only option in life. He didn't want to complete engineering because that would have given a chance to his friends, family and himself to think, "chalo acting mein kuch nai kar paye, koi nahi. Job to lag jayegi na kisi na kisi firm mein. "
In terms of me getting involved with fashion/glamour industry in a professional way, I really don't feel that I have the looks or physical attributes required to be a model. Also, I have never been associated with the fashion and glamour industry so far. So no, I haven't thought about it yet. However, I do aspire to be a role model, and after this entire experience, if I am able to inspire even a single person in life that would be an extremely proud moment for me.
TNT – Do you think wearing revealing clothes and adopting a modern lifestyle by women have a role to play behind the increasing number of crime against women?
SB – Not at all. There are grisly stories of young children getting raped these days in India. They for sure don't wear revealing clothes or have a debauched lifestyle. People, irrespective of gender, should have the right to dress as they wish. They should have the right to have their own lifestyle. Talking about sex with family at a young age is a taboo in India. Hence sex becomes the forbidden fruit for many people. And we all know to what extent someone can go for that forbidden fruit!!
TNT – If you were given a chance to live the life of any famous personality, what would be your choice and why?
SB – I would actually love to go back in the past and live the life of the great Sarat Chandra Chattopadhay, my favourite Bengali writer. His creations beautifully depict the life of the common people of Bengal and the social practices prevalent during that era. It would be amazing to see life through his eyes and understand his interpretation of things which he had penned down so flawlessly.
TNT – Domestic violence on women is a perennial issue in India, particularly in rural areas. What do you think is the reason that the cases are increasing day-by-day and what can be a solution to prevent it (at least to some extent)?
SB – Domestic violence is unfortunately increasing day by day, not just rurally, but in urban areas as well. It might not be physical abuse but there's a lot of emotional abuse happening too. And the most dreadful part comes when the girl is advised to adjust rather than question.
When a girl is subjected to domestic violence, her first point of contact is her family, her parents. But many a times she asked to bear it because the Indian society still doesn't accept a married woman coming back to her parents' house, no matter what the reason is. We need to break this stereotype. We need to spread the message that "one time is too much". There shouldn't be a second chance. We need to educate the society about the ways to get out of the situation. Domestic violence is not something that can be eradicated by sitting quiet. The more we talk about it, the easier it gets for women to break the silence and take a step forward against it.
TNT – "Feminism has become a trend among girls these days, especially on social media." How do you view this notion?
SB – Indeed there's a lot of discussion around feminism these days on social media. Remember the #metoo revolution about sexual harassment? We saw the whole world coming together with this hashtag. I guess it all comes down to women of all walks being able to express themselves at that one platform – social media. Because not a lot of us are lucky to have a voice other than putting it up on social networks. Social media is a place where we connect with people across the world, hence it's easy to find a voice there, where we have a lot of supporters as compared to the real world!
TNT – Tell us something about yourself not known to the world till date.
SB – I can't dance (giggles…!)
TNT – What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
SB – Well, there's a lot going on in our lives at this moment and we (me and my husband) are trying to manage things smoothly. I have quit my job and we're still in the transitioning process. We are looking after our family business at this stage and my husband is juggling between his job in New Zealand and helping me out with the business.
Bani Prakashani (our family-run publication) is the main thing in mind at this moment. If we decide to stay in India long term then I would love to see myself working with women who need help to raise a voice on vital issues of the society. Domestic violence and cancer are two issues that are extremely close to my heart, and I would be keen to make a difference in someone's life if I could through my work.
Celebrity you dream to go on a date with – Sushant Singh Rajput (He follows me on Instagram too. Haha!!)
Craziest thing you have done till date – Sky diving
Hobbies – Reading and singing
One word to define yourself – Patient
A wish yet to be fulfilled – A trip on Palace on Wheels
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