The 2016 Miss India beauty contest was held in Calcutta for the Miss India title. The winner and runner-up will go to the Miss Universe and Miss World titles. Many Indian girls have won the Miss World title starting with Rita Faria in 1964. This year's contest was significant as two of the contestants were Muslim girls and it was a toss-up whether they would don the bikini, especially as Muslim Imams and clergy have been exhorting their women to keep themselves covered from head to toe and wear the burkha.

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Muslim Imams regularly sermonize to women to wear the Burka. Even the wife of Mohammed Shami the well-known cricket player was trolled on facebook for not wearing a burka.

Bikini parade

The 2016 Beauty pageant like always had a bikini parade as part of the competition. This year 21 girls took part in this parade. The best part is that two of the contests namely Zeba Baig and Nazneen Shaikh were Muslims. They donned the bikini with aplomb and defied the ulema. This was expected after the ultra-conservative Pakistan girl also wore a bikini.

The burka has been banned in many countries but it thrives in the East and Muslim clerics in daily sermons exhort their women to cover themselves by wearing it. That is the genesis of the burkini another monstrosity enforced on women. Thankfully the Burkini hasn't made an appearance in beauty contests.

Despite the prevailing atmosphere, many Muslim women are rebelling against the diktats of the males and Taslima Sharif the famous Bengali writer from Bangladesh has asked for a re-interpretation of the holy books. In a Muslim country like the UAE, there is no ban on a bikini and that should be an example to diehard Muslims.

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Last word

Nazneen Shaikh comes from Surat and is a full-time model. Similarly, Zeba Baig hails from Indore and is a model as well. Both the girls are well educated and have a pragmatic view of life. Though the girls did not win the title yet they did enough to be a source of inspiration to other Muslim girls around the world.