Miss with a Mission

Times News Network

by Nikita Doval

A qualified computer engineer, she wants to continue her education as her parents have always stressed on academics. But right now, studies aren't on Tashi Yangchen Serdup's mind. She's just been crowned Miss Tibet and wants to create awareness about Tibet globally.

"When I tell people I'm Tibetan, the reactions are usually mixed. Many aren't even aware about our struggle. I now have a platform to draw attention to the plight of the Tibetan people and the abundance of culture we have," says Tashi. So, will she make a political statement? "No," she clarifies, "It's about maintaining an identity. The Miss Tibet pageant was different from others in that it wasn't about walking the ramp and answering questions. We got to meet our national heroes and were given the opportunity to express our views."

And her view on the protests the pageant's swimsuit round attracted is this: "I respect the view of the opposition but one has to see the positive side of things. There has to be change; the river is never still."

Born and brought up in Sikkim, Tashi's parents came to India as small children. "My mother has some memories, but nothing concrete. One day, I would love to go back to Tibet. Kilsang, a fellow contestant at the pageant, is from Tibet and we talked about human rights and the lifestyle of the youth."

With strong sentiments for her motherland, has Tashi ever felt out of place in India? "Never. There are several like me in Sikkim. Though our roots are in Tibet, we are incredibly proud to be Indian nationals."

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