An angry BIP-LASH!

Published Apr 28, 2018, 12:00 am IST
Updated Apr 28, 2018, 3:16 am IST
Call it regressive, outrageous or plain ignorant, Tripura CM Biplab Deb’s comments on Diana Hayden need to be ‘BEEPED’ out.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Diana Hayden.
 Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Diana Hayden.

It’s becoming untenable to stay quiet at the gibberish netas spout without thought, in this case, dissing Diana Hayden’s Miss World title, while calling Aishwarya Rai beautiful!

After his “Internet in the Mahabharata era” remark, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Thursday claimed that the international beauty pageants were a farce and questioned the rationale behind crowning Diana Hayden “Miss World” 21 years ago. He was all praise for Aishwarya Rai, who won the Miss World crown in 1994, saying she “represents the Indian women” in the true sense.


The CM’s comments

  • Aishwarya Rai represents Indian beauty but Diana Hayden doesn’t
  • Indian beauty should have the characteristics of Lakshmi and Saraswati, the Hindu goddesses for wealth and education. Hayden lacked such ‘traits’
  • Indian women did not use cosmetics in the old times. Indians did not use shampoo, they washed their hair with methi water and bathed with mud. These beauty pageant organisers are international marketing mafia, who spotted a huge market in the country.

Social media is raging with comments, asking the ‘honourable’ CM to do something for Tripura that is ailing from many social ills, instead of commenting on Diana! Young UN Leader Trisha Shetty even tweeted, “Dear @BjpBiplab, surely you have other pressing issues in Tripura that warrant your attention, over dissecting a woman’s looks.” Well, it is apparent, he does not!


Shobhaa De, columnist and writer is aghast at the comments and in her renowned caustic humour quips, “The only response from me is to publicly mock such men, by reversing roles and turning the tables. Let’s do a feature by feature deconstruction of the Chief Minister himself and see how he scores. We can rate his biceps, waist line, hips, chest, facial features, hair and eyes, the works!”

Former Miss Earth, 2010 Nicole Faria agrees with De, and lashes out at this misnomer of ideal beauty, “It is false to claim that Indian beauty should conform to an ideal standard. Indians comprise nearly 20 per cent of the world’s population — that’s 590 million Indian women today and to communicate a message that tells girls they must look a certain way to be considered a beautiful Indian is an insult to the wonderful diversity that makes this country great. Indian beauty is not a physical standard, rather, it is a spirit that is embodied in the hearts and minds of our girls.”


The fact that politicians are regularly putting their foot in their mouth with the sheer absurdity of comments, has created uproar on social media. Beauty pageants, according to the CM are fixed, and fashion guru Prasad Bidapa is infuriated, “Purely atrocious and (it) reveals his mindset. His statement has given the public an insight into Biplab Deb’s small mindset. He has absolutely no business to comment on something that’s not pertinent to the issues the state is facing. He should be court martialled for being so irrelevant and atrocious while addressing the public. Is he (Biplab) a beautician? Who gives him the authority to comment about an industry he has no connect or an insider’s perspective on? I suggest he steps down from the position of the CM and starts a modelling agency right away.”


In a country that has the rich heritage of the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and the Upanishads and the Vedas, such comments are not just communal, but sexist and mindless. Advaita Kala, author and scriptwriter wonders when the right issues will come to the fore with such inane harangues, “He made a frivolous comment. Though it can’t be denied that pageants set unrealistic beauty standards for women, but that is a feminist response. Every politician and actor should speak up on issues that need our attention, and not on a woman’s beauty. He should stay away from making such comments. He should be concentrating on his state that has come out of communal rule, and address the areas lacking there.”


In an era where the angst in society is palpable and the rhetoric needs to answer and address relevant issues, this latest rant is just an example of the kind of mindsets we are dealing with. Advaita adds, “Comparing Aishwarya Rai and Diana Hayden is so irrelevant. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Be it a politician or a common man, one shouldn’t make comments on a woman’s psychical attributes. This is unacceptable.”

That’s some strong disapproval of me winning the Miss World title! It’s such a pity, and shame, that when you win the biggest and most respected beauty pageant title in the world, you get criticised and put down instead of being appreciated and respected for bringing more accolades back home. It’s hurtful. It’s also very sad as being brown skinned, I have had to fight (society’s attitudes, and growing up, (even) my own lack of self confidence because of my colour). The “light skin is better” issue we have in India. I felt so strongly about it that I turned down a fairness cream ad because it went against my belief. We are Indians and predominantly our skin colour is brown, and we should be really proud of it and learn to appreciate it like it’s appreciated around the world. It’s obvious that our skin colour difference is on his mind as he’s comparing me to Ash and not Priyanka or Manushi who currently holds the Miss World title, and very deservedly so! Shame on him as our beautiful, exotic brown colouring is to be proud of; I AM!

Diana Hayden
(As told to Swati Sharma)