- If we in India have heard of Miss India America Nina Davuluri, it is most likely to have been in the context of her having hosted the much publicised and viewed event at Madison Square – the speech delivered by PM Narendra Modi during his visit to the US. Ms Davuluri said she was honored to have been asked to host the event. (Source – India Today), however she has other claims to fame.
- She was crowned Ms America this year, after being chosen as Miss New York. She is the first Indian American to have won the coveted crown (and the second American from Asia to have done so). “I was the first Indian Miss New York and I’m so proud to be the first Indian Miss America,” Davuluri said. (Source – NJ.com)
- She has trained in Bharatnatyam and her performance at the Miss America pageant was a “fusion of Bollywood” with her “classical training”. While her actual dancing talent may be questionable for Indian audiences, she has the distinction of being the first to perform a Bollywood dance on an Ms America stage, which she did as a part of one of the talent rounds of the pageant. (Scroll down to view a video of her dance performance at the pageant)
- Where Nina Davuluri’s reign as Ms America is unlike that of any of her predecessors is the type of social media wars that erupted after her crowning. In a stupefying display of ignorance, intolerance and rank racism, many Americans on Twitter expressed outrage at the fact that an ‘Arab’ had won the Ms American crown.
- Many Americans were angry that Ms Kansas, a military woman did not win the contest that is supposed to be for “Americans” and that a “Muslim” or an “Arab” had won. (See Huffington Post for more)
- However the lunatic fringe was countered by the moderates – “Indian and Arab isnt the same. Get your facts right U.S.A #stopbeingabitch” tweeted one in support of Nina. Students from Duke University came out in support of Miss America and opposed racism toward her Indian ethnicity, and the #StandWithNina was seen to counter the racist, xenophobic, and islamaphobic comments on Twitter. (scroll down for the video made in her support)
- According to Nina, the forore was caused by ignorance. She was appreciative of the support she received from the students of Duke University. In an interview with Bloomberg she spoke about several issues such as the hate she countered and about her work to support diversity in her country. (video of Nina’s Bloomberg interview below)
Video 1 courtesy – Shingari Kuriakose,
Video 2 Jacob Tobia
video 3 courtesy – Bloomberg News