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Nafisa Joseph's death shocks Miss Nepal

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS


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The news of former Miss India Nafisa Joseph's death just a week before Nepal is to hold its annual beauty pageant has shocked beauty queens in the kingdom.

"I am stunned," said Preeti Sitaula, the reigning Miss Nepal, who will relinquish her title to a newcomer at this year's contest to be held in Kathmandu Aug 7.

Joseph, who was crowned Miss India in 1997, was a well-known face in India as well as Nepal for her frequent appearances on MTV as a VJ.

"Being Miss India, she was already a celebrity," Sitaula said. "She had a promising career in a country like India where things are so much better than Nepal.

"Here, the Miss Nepal contest has just started and we are still struggling for every little thing. Yet we haven't given up. She should have faced (life) come what may."

Joseph, who was apparently going to marry next month, reportedly had a tiff with her fiancÚ over his divorce of his current wife.

Malavika Subba, Miss Nepal 2002 and a youth icon in Nepal, said she was saddened by Joseph's death.

"India is such a modern country," she said. "Women have so much more choices there. And to think that a Miss India would be forced to do such a thing!"

Subba's own career as Miss Nepal had had more than its fair share of trouble, with the organisers being unable to raise money to send her to participate in the Miss World show.

Malavika, who lost her father at an early age, was brought up single-handedly by her mother, who is in the nursing profession.

Unlike India, where the Miss India pageant is regarded as the stepping stone to a glamorous and highly paid career, in conservative Nepal it is still regarded with suspicion.

Several women's organisations affiliated to major political parties have been urging that the pageant be stopped.


 
 

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