Generation talks: Sujeena Shakya, Miss Newa 2011
Everyday a new beauty queen is announced, though the purpose of many beauty pageants seems to be ambiguous to the common mind. It is interesting to hear how beauty contest organizers defend their platform stating it to be different from the other. Some might consider such beauty pageants as a platform to hone one's inner skill or a mirror to portray the true essence of intellectuality and beauty; some critics might also bash such pageants as nothing but a redundancy of the old school of thought that- beauty contest get women noticed. But, we simply cannot ignore the fact that such beauty pageants also have brought forward the best minds in Nepal who are dead-sure about their role as 'Beauty queens' an individual who stands to aware, motivate, influence and aspire young people who look upon them as 'role models'.
Sujeena Shakya, who was recently crowned Miss. Newa 2011, might be mistaken to be another brick in the beauty pageant world but don’t get fooled! as chatting with her was like drinking a revolutionary cup of tea; her ideas surely gives a break to all the critical mind as one cannot help but notice the ardent intellectual strike that she possess. My constant mention of Miss. Newa as a beauty pageant was countered by her fierce strike of confidence as she believes that Miss. Newa is not a 'Beauty Pageant' but it is a cultural talent program that makes people realize that their existence is somehow connected to their culture and heritage and one is destined to help promote it.
We present you the intellectual Miss. Newa 2011 who believes that the world is your cup only if you believe in the essence of change inside you!
1) Has your life changed after Miss. Newa contest?
Yes, life has definitely changed after Miss Newa. Now that I have become a representative of Newar community, my responsibilities and sense of accountability towards our community has increased even more. Before, I was just a common girl limited within a small circle of family and friends, but things have changed now. People look forward to me and expect me to do something remarkable. So, this has made me more responsible and mature. My sense of cultural awakening and spirit to do something for the society is also getting stronger.
2) How is Miss. Newa contest different from all other beauty pageants being held today?
Miss Newa is a cultural talent show rather than a beauty contest, so it is quite different from other beauty pageants. While other beauty pageants focus more on outer personality and intellectuality, Miss Newa focuses more on cultural awareness and sense of cultural essence, together with intellectuality and other aspects of a normal beauty pageant.
3) Beauty pageant winners claim to devote themselves in social work but their devotion is time bound only till their winner's tenure; do you consider such act as genuine gesture towards the society? Will your service to the society be any different?
Any act to be called genuine should come from within the heart and should not be driven by any superficial motives. So I do not consider such temporary devotion and acts of service to be genuine gestures towards the society. There are some beauty pageant winners who have really done something commendable for the society.
Social service and a sense of doing something for the society has been the driving force of my life which provides meaning and sense of purpose to life, so I am truly devoted to do something and make a difference, not only because of the title but because of the sense of meaning to life that I derive from it.
4) If you could critically analyze the present situation of youths in Nepal and pin point on one issue of the young people that you think should be addressed in the constitution, what would it be?
I feel youths today are confused and misguided. They are somewhat hopeless about the current situation of the country and want to escape into some foreign lands in the hope of a better future.
So, one issue of the young people that should be addressed in the constitution is that of Lack of Infrastructure and Opportunities to Youths resulting in ‘Brain Drain’.
5) Do you agree with the statement that our country lacks proper infrastructure to empower the younger generation? And do you also consider that going abroad is the only option?
Yes, I agree that our country lacks proper infrastructure to empower the younger generation. No, going abroad is not the only option. We should think critically and search for alternative solutions to our problems, rather than running away from the problems.
6) What is your definition for beauty?
I identify beauty with purity, simplicity and truthfulness. Beauty is not something which is limited to the outer appearance and attractiveness. Rather it is an inner virtue, the truthfulness of thoughts and actions and the purity of heart and soul.
7) What would you suggest to young people who strongly believe in the statement- 'Politics is not my cup of tea?'
Politics is a vital component of any nation on which depends the social, economical and overall condition of the nation. Being youths, and therefore, the major agents of change and development, we must take an interest in politics. It’s not necessary to participate in political activities and go for some specific political doctrines, but at least we should be aware about the political scenario , and at the same time, should be prepared to initiate any steps for real political change, if need be.
8) Do you think having beauty pageants like Miss Newa, Miss Mongol etc bring unity and happiness in a country with diverse caste and ethnicity when present situation demands for separate identity?
Cultural talent shows like Miss Newa and Miss Mongol are organized with the objective of making people more aware about their culture and identity, and developing a sense of cultural essence and cultural importance in them. It is evident that we can understand, respect and develop a feeling of unity and mutual cooperation for other cultures only when we understand, respect and be proud of our own culture. Without understanding our own roots first, we cannot claim to understand other cultures and other communities. So these cultural talent shows are the stepping stones in reawakening the people about their own culture and identity, and thus, instilling in them the broader virtues of universal brotherhood and unity.
9) Future plans-
Well, I intend to do something in the field of communication and development, and especially bring changes in the society through media. So I am looking forward to work and do something in the same field. I am also planning to try abroad for my further studies.
10) Last words-
-Always believe in yourself and never let your spirit down. Life is truly beautiful, so instead of complaining and criticizing, come out from your limited circle, go see the world, travel, explore, meet people, learn new things and always have the courage to dream and a determination to follow your dreams and passions.
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