There’s no denying that we live in a land of peculiar customs and traditions. But what these people of Odisha did is something so peculiar that we are nothing but exceedingly proud. The National Association for the Blind, decided to conduct a beauty pageant for the visually impaired in the Indian state of Odisha.
Although, being visually impaired is one of the most common forms of disabilities, we have never heard of such an opportunity for the blind.
India has seen a rapid growth in the number of disabled friendly places. There are tactile pavings at the metro stations to guide the visually impaired, ramps to guide physically disabled and reservation to promote their participation in the society.
Around 56 women from Odisha took part in the contest and 14 of them moved onto the second stage of the competition. The selected women were professionally guided and trained for the pageant.
Walking, dressing as well as pageant based grooming was a part of the week long programme that was conducted in the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology’s School of Fashion Technology (KIIT – SFT).
The National Association for the Blind carried out similar events to shortlist women for the pageant across the nation. The selected women from different parts of the country will then further be trained under choreographers and personality development trainers for the final round that’ll be held in November.
This beauty pageant for the visually impaired holds quite a similar judging pattern to any other beauty pageant in the world, which is a direct implication to how these women are in no way behind than any other traditional beauty pageant contenders.
In a first of its kind, Miss India for the visually impaired is a remarkable step towards the actual empowerment of the disabled as well as for women. It will not only provide these young women a platform to embrace themselves, but also enlighten others on their way to self-discovery.
There is still ample amount of criticism a disabled person goes through, a move such as this is absolutely heartwarming and innovative. More power to such people!
These young women will prove their mettle by competing in November, so don’t forget to cheer and send them loads of good wishes for this pioneer move that is an ode to determination and courage.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.