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Home State of Miss World Bars Beauty Pageants

From Reuters

The chief of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh banned beauty contests Friday, saying they violated traditional culture.

His move follows an unprecedented wave of success by Indian women in beauty pageants abroad--including this month’s Miss World--which has prompted dozens of beauty competitions to spring up in India.

“There is no place for vulgarity in our society,” said Rajnath Singh, who belongs to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

“We must uphold traditional social values, which do not permit this kind of vulgar display of beauty,” he told reporters. “I will just not allow any beauty contest to be held in this state.”

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Earlier this month, India bagged its fifth Miss World crown when 18-year-old student Priyanka Chopra, who is from the state, won the $100,000 prize in London’s Millennium Dome.

Three other Indians have been crowned Miss World since 1994, and two have won the Miss Universe title.

“Beauty contests are nothing more than an exhibition of the female body that is extremely unfortunate. Real beauty lies in one’s intellect, not in nudity,” Singh said.

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, was at the center of a controversy last year when a Hindu nationalist group in a local college ordered a ban on women wearing jeans, sparking clashes on campus.

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Four years ago, activists of the youth wing of the BJP tried to stop a Miss World contest from being held in the southern city of Bangalore.

Singh also criticized multinational cosmetic companies, saying they were responsible for pushing Indian beauty queens in global pageants in order to capture the growing Indian cosmetics market.


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